Fringe theatre gets Hollywood-style trailer

You won't believe this Hollywood-style trailer for a fringe theatre company was shot on a handycam!

Gone are the days when your local theatre company restricted its promotional activities to some photocopied flyers on the church noticeboard. This trailer for south-east London-based Lazarus Theatre Company features movie-style effects and production values that would rival a Hollywood studio. But a Hollywood-style budget wasn't necessary - the trailer was shot using a full frame camcorder that's in the price range of your average small studio.

"Turning up for a video shoot with a Handycam a few years ago would have been the equivalent of rocking up to Fashion Week with a Primani handbag," admits award-winning creative director Paul Wyatt, who filmed and produced the trailer. "But Handycams have changed."

The shoot took place at The Blue Elephant Theatre using a smoke machine and some atmospheric lights. "The Sony NEX-VG900 full frame Handycam worked well amongst the smoke and (fake) fire of the set," says Wyatt. "It was brilliant in low light and shot with 50mm and 100mm Sony Alpha lenses."


Post-production involved editing in Adobe Premiere and experimenting with applying blending modes to footage of the actors over footage shot of plastic, glass and through the neck of a glass bottle.

This gave Wyatt highlights in which to create the suitably atmospheric patterns and stylised eye shots. Cinema 4D was used to create the smouldering effects and fire in the title cards and After Effects for compositing.

Sound design

Sound design was taken care of by Joseph Luck using Pro Tools.
“We picked apart each shot, each angle, picking out key sounds and motives that worked in harmony with the visual," explains Luck. "Sound effects and spot-sounds were layered in after that, creating the impact and dynamics of the trailer, after that, I worked on manipulating, distorting and affecting the previously recorded location dialogue in such a way that the trailer found its sound motifs and rhythm."

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