The Tech Artist

Alien / Prometheus Trailer Mashup

by on May.25, 2012, under Video

I’ve taken a short break from coding to follow a recent creative streak. I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scott’s film Alien so it comes as no surprise that I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Prometheus. The marketing for this film has been unreal and the first full length trailer was quite impressive. I’ve never done a trailer mashup before and it’s been a while since I’ve dabbled in any video editing, so I thought I would create an edit of the trailer using clips from Alien.

My goal was to match the visuals, tone and pace of the original as closely as possible. Selecting suitable replacements ended up being a bit of a challenge as there’s some stuff going on in Prometheus that doesn’t have an Alien counterpart. The middle of the trailer was the trickiest; rather than going for an outright visual match I settled for selecting audio and visuals which propel the story forward in much the same way as the Prometheus trailer does.

Originally I intended to use After Effects but found it a bit cumbersome to use when dealing with so many shots. I was also having issues with importing AVIs – something to do with keyframes, I gather. I settled for iMovie which was really quick to bash out the initial shot layout.

Video Initial Pass

To start I brought the original trailer into iMovie and went about replacing each shot. iMovie is great at making this sort of thing really easy – you just select your source and drag in. Audio samples had to be cut up and retimed a bit to match the beats of the original trailer.

Audio Pass

This ended up being more complex than I anticipated as there was a lot of dialog to remove. I hadn’t used Audacity for anything other than converting sound files, so this gave me a chance to dive in and really test out its features. For free software I’m quite impressed – it was easy to pick up and I was able to replace the dialog with clean samples I took from the teaser trailer using envelopes.

Video Final Pass

Once the audio and video was finalised I exported the entire thing to After Effects to add titles and fades. The black flashes at the end of the trailer and the fade ins were done by animating a black solid’s opacity. The final title is taken from the opening credits; I’ve just boosted the contrast so it looks like white text on a black background.

There’s a few issues with the timing of Kane’s dialog, and some of the other dialog sounds a bit clipped but overall I’m happy with the result.


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