Before I can even think about laying out a trailer for a game I will spend a few days playing and enjoying it. I specifically look for entertaining and fun mechanics, strong visual elements, and major themes of the game. I couple my reactions with information from the developer about the feel of the game and elements they would like to focus on, and begin to lay out a general game plan for the trailer. At this point I also ask for as much concept art and individual game graphics available to aid in the layout, and to potentially become part of any motion graphics in the trailer.
Throughout the entire process I remain in close contact with the developer to receive updates about the progress of the game, and to keep them informed on the direction of the trailer. The first major check-in happens near the end of the concept phase as I finish up the script, finalize music choice, and determine major beats. With notes and the go-ahead from the developer, I progress into the capture stage.
I capture footage of gameplay on either PC with OBS, or on a Mac using screenflow. All footage is captured at the highest possible resolution that makes sense for the game. I capture at a much higher bit rate than the final video to protect the integrity of the game images during the editing process as I will often zoom in on elements, increase or decrease the speed for dramatic effect, and encode the trailer for streaming.
I am the primary player during capture, but if a game includes multiplayer functionality I will set up multi-user sessions with the developer or a colleague at a trailer firm for major game releases. The capture phase generally continues into the editing phase as I layout footage and what elements may be missing.
At this point, I get to start the real fun. I am fully proficient at both Final Cut Pro and After Effects, and depending on the needs of the client I will begin to layout the trailer. I craft every part of a trailer by hand, and tailor the effects and feel to the piece itself. I let the music choice determine the exact length and beats of the piece, though most trailers will come in between one to two minutes final run time. Longer trailers are possible if requested, as long as the content is engaging and varied enough to keep potential customers interested.
During this phase I have the most contact with the developer. All trailer packages include one rough cut of the trailer for the developer to observe the process, and to make any necessary changes. If more cuts are necessary, then I am more than happy to provide them in order to guarantee that the final product is something that both the developer and I are enthusiastic about. All rough cuts will be uploaded to a private youtube page for the development team to see or share, and removed immediately after production.
The final trailer will be encoded for the web at 720p resolution (unless otherwise requested), and uploaded to a private ftp server for download. Different versions of the trailer can be made available depending on the needs of the developer or their distributor. Additionally I share the released trailer on my Facebook pages and with my contacts in the video game industry. At this point, we have created a phenomenal trailer that will garner a high number of views, and will lead to increased visibility and sales for the developer.
Even after this whole process, I try to remain in contact with my clients to keep up on how their game is doing. I love to create strong relationships with developers, and remain available to make any changes down the road or to create new trailers for expansion packs, sequels, and other projects.Every game has it’s own budget for promotion, and I am more than happy to work on any size of contract. Email me at VIDEO@KevinHarland.com with your budget and game, and let’s see what I can create for you!