The Art of the Trailer: Ballet Austin’s POE

March 22, 2024

To promote the premiere of Stephen Mills’ POE, A Tale of Madness, Ballet Austin created a cinematic trailer with technology also used in “The Mandalorian” and The Batman (2022).

The main challenge in creating a trailer for a world premiere ballet is that often the sets haven’t been built when the trailer is created. Paul Michael Bloodgood, associate director of film and video production at Ballet Austin and a former dancer with the company, collaborated with Virtigo Pictures to create custom-built virtual environments inspired by the ballet, using Virtigo’s Unreal Engine software (originally developed for video games).

They then spent two days filming the trailer in front of Virtigo’s 50-foot curved LED screen, which creates a much more realistic background than a green screen, particularly in terms of lighting. The result is an almost-three-minute trailer that evokes the spirit of what the ballet, which runs March 22–24 at Austin’s The Long Center, will be. “It was meant to be a 30-second commercial” says Bloodgood, “but I ended up with so many ideas.”         

But has the trailer translated to ticket sales? “It has,” says Bloodgood. “We’re having some of the best March ticket sales that we’ve ever had.”