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Demo Reel Critique


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#1 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 04:19 PM

Hey guys,

I just finished up my first demo reel and would love to hear some constructive criticism from ya'll veterans out there.

Being my own worst (or best) critic, there's obviously plenty of things in the footage I'm kicking myself in the arse about, but I'd like to hear you guys reiterate it along with some fresh views on anything I may have overlooked.

As always, feel free to be brutally honest. I'm simply looking to get better. Thanks,

Stephen Wymer


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#2 James Davis

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 06:28 PM

I am Hardly a Veteran compared to many on here but personally I would change the music first of all, it comes off as a little cheesy to me, slightly subjective I know but that's what I think.
I would probably chop quite a bit of that night section out, it seems to drag a little, maybe try and bring the whole show reel down to under 3 minutes.
Also I would say some shots you are maybe allowing too much headroom and your headroom appears a little inconsistent at points during movement.
Hope that was constructive and somewhat helpful?

James
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#3 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 06:58 PM

Totally James, thanks.

I just dug up some lost "Camera Op." footage so I plan on redoing the whole thing as a dual demo reel. I'll chop it all down a bit too.

Any recommendations on musical selection? I know most producers turn the sound off anyways, but I hate to leave it silent and would like to avoid using copyrighted material.

Stephen
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#4 Robert Wall

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 10:21 PM

Totally James, thanks.

I just dug up some lost "Camera Op." footage so I plan on redoing the whole thing as a dual demo reel. I'll chop it all down a bit too.

Any recommendations on musical selection? I know most producers turn the sound off anyways, but I hate to leave it silent and would like to avoid using copyrighted material.

Stephen



Stephen, like James I'm not an experienced pro as an op.

The music is a tricky thing, I agree that this is not the right choice. I would either look for some free stuff (there's a lot of classical - not sure if that's the right feel) or buy a clip, you can get some good ones for less than $20. People like Phillip Bloom are using copyrighted music left and right in their pieces, but it could seriously turn off a viewer, and since you're looking to get work from your reel, not a good thing.

The shots are really too long for a reel, without a lot happening - I would cut them down and add some more from different productions and emphasize some different types of motion and lock-offs - realistically you've only got what, 5, 6 shots in there?

That said, kudos on starting the process of getting a reel together - I know it's hard.
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:54 AM

After looking at your reel I have a few thoughts/suggestions

First off 4:04 is too long, You never want to bore your viewer (more on that later) Keep them wanting more. Also consider this advice I got from a ad agency producer long ago. Put your second best work up first and your best shot up second that way when they hit eject on the reel after 30 seconds they've seen your best work.

First off the music is odd for a steadicam reel, but that seems to be a theme....

1st shot: WTF? I mean really? it looks like a total mistake and it goes on forever. Whatever the guy was doing it looks wrong. That should NEVER be the first shot you show a client.

2nd shot: Too much headroom, there is nothing behind him that makes me want to see that much headroom. The speaker is also "pumping" in frame. If your going to hold a shot that size then you must anchor the talent not the room. his pumping is distracting. Also this shot is far to long, after five seconds I get it, it's a guy talking with too much heading room on a stage, I don't need the other 40+ seconds to confirm my opinion.

3rd shot: the good news is it's stable, the bad news is it's far to long and honestly it could have been on a dolly

4th shot: This shot is so underexposed that it's totally abstract and not in a good way and really 1:14 seconds??? too long and really doesn't belong in the reel.

5th shot: Not bad, size wise it's neither here nor there, are we shooing the landscape or the gentleman walking?

6the shot: has some roll issues in it.

Looking at the reel it's not really showcasing steadicam shots, there is not a lot of shot choreography, storytelling or capturing something that could really only be a steadicam shot. Check out the shots on Steadishot.org and look at some other reels. I have a reasonable reel (even though it's old, really old like seven years old) I realize that you're starting out but go out and shoot some stuff for your reel that sells steadicam
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#6 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:20 AM

Hey guys,

Thanks for the great feedback. I have the day off so I'm going to hit the drawing board.

Stephen
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#7 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 01:41 PM

Hey Eric,

I am definitely with you on showcasing Steadicam" shots, choreographed, blocked, and storytelling, and I have some gigs coming up that'll be a great opportunity for that. Unfortunately, the only halfway decent footage I have at this point is a lot of improvised documentary work. And I agree, it's all... a little boring as hell.

Do you think I should throw this stuff together for a temporary reel, or am I better off with no reel at all.
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#8 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:01 PM

Hey Eric,

I am definitely with you on showcasing Steadicam" shots, choreographed, blocked, and storytelling, and I have some gigs coming up that'll be a great opportunity for that. Unfortunately, the only halfway decent footage I have at this point is a lot of improvised documentary work. And I agree, it's all... a little boring as hell.

Do you think I should throw this stuff together for a temporary reel, or am I better off with no reel at all.



Make the reel shorter and for the love of god get rid of that first shot
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#9 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:06 PM

Hah, done and done. Chopped the fire twirlers too. Thanks again for the pointers.
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#10 Amando Crespo

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 08:01 PM

After looking at your reel I have a few thoughts/suggestions

First off 4:04 is too long, You never want to bore your viewer (more on that later) Keep them wanting more. Also consider this advice I got from a ad agency producer long ago. Put your second best work up first and your best shot up second that way when they hit eject on the reel after 30 seconds they've seen your best work.

First off the music is odd for a steadicam reel, but that seems to be a theme....

1st shot: WTF? I mean really? it looks like a total mistake and it goes on forever. Whatever the guy was doing it looks wrong. That should NEVER be the first shot you show a client.

2nd shot: Too much headroom, there is nothing behind him that makes me want to see that much headroom. The speaker is also "pumping" in frame. If your going to hold a shot that size then you must anchor the talent not the room. his pumping is distracting. Also this shot is far to long, after five seconds I get it, it's a guy talking with too much heading room on a stage, I don't need the other 40+ seconds to confirm my opinion.

3rd shot: the good news is it's stable, the bad news is it's far to long and honestly it could have been on a dolly

4th shot: This shot is so underexposed that it's totally abstract and not in a good way and really 1:14 seconds??? too long and really doesn't belong in the reel.

5th shot: Not bad, size wise it's neither here nor there, are we shooing the landscape or the gentleman walking?

6the shot: has some roll issues in it.

Looking at the reel it's not really showcasing steadicam shots, there is not a lot of shot choreography, storytelling or capturing something that could really only be a steadicam shot. Check out the shots on Steadishot.org and look at some other reels. I have a reasonable reel (even though it's old, really old like seven years old) I realize that you're starting out but go out and shoot some stuff for your reel that sells steadicam


I agree Mr. Fletcher opinion.
Your steadicam work is really good... And it will grow up.
The demo reel... is...is... my friend: It isn´t. (read agin Mr. F. advices). B)
Any way... I LIKE YOUR WORK.
Best regards.
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#11 Robert Wall

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 08:32 PM

Remember that your reel has one singular purpose: to get you work. Anything that doesn't serve that purpose doesn't belong in it. It's even more that way than a resume - the resume has the purpose to get you an interview, but you never know what little tidbit might get you there ("Oh, he volunteers at the humane society? I like animals too.") But in my opinion, in a reel people are looking at: "is he/she competent at their craft?" and/or "will their work bring a style/quality to my show that I desire or need?"

I corresponded with Gavin Ames a bit this year and he sent me his reel - it's longer than yours but shows a huge variety of shots in different environments, and most important it isn't boring. Here it is: Ames Steadicam
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#12 Amando Crespo

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:05 PM

Remember that your reel has one singular purpose: to get you work. Anything that doesn't serve that purpose doesn't belong in it. It's even more that way than a resume - the resume has the purpose to get you an interview, but you never know what little tidbit might get you there ("Oh, he volunteers at the humane society? I like animals too.") But in my opinion, in a reel people are looking at: "is he/she competent at their craft?" and/or "will their work bring a style/quality to my show that I desire or need?"

I corresponded with Gavin Ames a bit this year and he sent me his reel - it's longer than yours but shows a huge variety of shots in different environments, and most important it isn't boring. Here it is: Ames Steadicam


Good reel!.
No borring, and funny... But the first shoots.. mmm... a little boat seems .
My opinion is with respect, but it´is.
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