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Demo Reel


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#1 Tom Petropoulos

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 10:42 AM

Guys,

I have my first demo reel up, I was wondering if you guys could take a look at it and give me some feedback. I apologize for the poor quality but I had to bring it in under 20 megs.

http://homepage.mac....ieTheater2.html

Thanks,
Tom
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#2 TimmyKane

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 07:41 PM

Tom,

I am not an operator, but I have been in the industry for a while as an assistant. First off- you have a reel. you took the time to gather your footage and compile it- that puts you ahead of some. that is the good part. However- in the opening shot you cut the guy's head off. First shot. in contrast, many of the following shots have too much head room. many of the moves are good and dynamic, but good composition is key. Also, the reel seems to long. better to have a short reel of stronger material than one that shows quantity. Thank you for inviting us to see the reel. it would be cool to see some others posted. I hope that the comments are helpful.
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#3 Tom Petropoulos

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 09:32 PM

Thank you for the input.
Besides the opening shot, what other shots should I get rid of?
How long should a domo reel be?

Tom
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#4 Kenny Brown SOC

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 03:30 AM

Hi there

Well done getting your first reel together. I have to agree with the previous reply that the opening shot is not the strongest and some of the framing has far too much headroom for my taste. I'd cut it down and change the opening, a shorter reel will make for less compression anyway.

Like the music.

Kenny
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#5 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 11:37 AM

Who am I to criticize, but since you asked I have to agree with the others; get rid of the opening shot. It's not good to chop the actors head off with the frame and that will have a busy DP's finger on the eject button faster than you might imagine. Why don't you try letter-boxing the other footage. That might solve your head-room issues. In the future you may not wish to place the actors right in the middle of the frame quite as much. Use the whole frame, but that's just my taste. Good luck!
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#6 GregCode

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 02:00 PM

Tom

First of all I know how hard it is to get footage, period. I have to agree with the others about head room. I had problems of my own with headroom for a long time . I'll I can say is practice practice. I think the energy was pretty good and you have a couple of shots in the midddle that I would move to the front. When I made my first reel I kind of cheated and moved the head room to my liking. I love final cut pro. Keep working hard at practice, work and getting footage and you will be suprised how fast your reel will evovle. Thanks for sharing your reel and the best of luck.

Greg Code
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#7 Rich Steel

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 03:28 PM

Hi Tom,
Regarding length of your showreel. If you haven't captivated your prospective client in the first 30 seconds (that's why TV Ad's are so short) then forget it. `most directors, producers and DOP's never have enough hours in the day to sit down and watch a 3+ minute showreel. However as I said if you spark something within them in the first 30 seconds then you may well be onto a winner and they may well sit and watch the rest.

Regards
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#8 Tom Petropoulos

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 04:32 PM

Guys,

Thank you for all the input, I am going to do a little bit of re-editing.
All the advise was very helpful. I thought the advise about the first 30 seconds of a demo reel was very useful and important. Do you guys have any recommendation on what the best shot was so I can place it at the begining?

When I have the new version up I will let you know so you can take a look.

Best Regards,
Tom
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#9 Anthony Hardwick

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 06:13 PM

Tom,

Echoing Doc's (lkarman) comments about "center punching" actors, I wholeheartedly agree. Taking this principle to another extension, when you are tracking with an actor, you often want to give some lead room... i.e. more space in front of than behind the actor. It feels less claustrophobic, and more natural. A few of your shoots tracking with actors kept them centered or even shortsided a bit.

Take these suggestions as guidelines rather than absolutes, because as with most "rules," there are often good reasons to break them. There are certain instances, for example, when I'll intentionally shortside an actor (i.e. little space in front of them and more behind them), for various reasons, but this is a conscious choice and not an arbitrary or accidental composition. Same thing with center punching an actor... you may have good reason to. One example might be a particularly symmetrical shot with background architecture or something, and you want to emphasize the symmetry by framing the actor dead center too.

Other than that, watch your headroom as mentioned by several others above. Headroom is a subjective thing, and different DP's and/or Directors have a different "ideal" that they tend to like, but having said that, many of your shots do exhibit more headroom than most would probably want. It's a thing you feel more than anything after a while, and it's a ratio thing too - depending on the relative size of the shot (i.e. full body, cowboy, medium, CU, etc)

Not to sound too arrtsy here or anything, but studying the work of great photographers and painters for composition (not to mention lighting) is very beneficial. Of course watching good movies is always good too. When looking at photographs, paintings or movies, think about the compositional elements and how they may evoke emotional responses from you. You may find many keys to framing "tricks" that you can use in your operating (steadicam or otherwise) to enhance the emotional impact of the story you are telling.

I often think of the genius behind Polansky's famous shot of Ruth Gordon half hidden behind the door while making a phone call in "Rosemary's Baby." It's Mia Farrow's POV shot, and it really works on a psychological level. Check out the documentary "Visions of Light," for the great story behind that shot.

Just my $.02 cents. Take it with a grain of salt.
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#10 JakePollock

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 02:46 AM

Tom,

It's great that you've gotten a reel together; even better is your willingness to share it with us... and demand feedback.

i won't bother commenting on the headroom issues as that's already been well critiqued. as for which shots to cut out and which ones to start with, the choice is yours. be critical of yourself. what would you like to show people? the reel is there to represent you, so don't put in everything you've done; put the things that represent you. you have one a few shots that move from a hallway into a daylight kitchen? that was a nice shot. i don't think you need so many shots of people with guns, unless you really want to go for gangsta rap videos.

the other thing to keep in mind is who your audience is. yeah, you're showing it to fellow operators who will be more critical of off-level and bad beginnings of moves; but your real audience are people who are very concerned with composition and story telling. they might also be people who don't entirely understand what steadicam is good at. and what it's bad at. there was a shot of a black guy who's just shot a white guy. he runs away from and you push into the dead guy. no fault of yours, but the shot would've been a lot better as a dolly, no? i'd try to keep those kinds of shots to a minimum.

take her easy,
jake pollock
taipei, taiwan
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#11 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 11:18 AM

Tom,

Good energy, but as said, work on headroom. Sometimes you had WAY too much, others you chopped there heads off.
Also, work on level, many of the shots were tilting back and forth, especially when you were panning.
I feel you may be grabbing the post to tight and it's causing every move you make to wobble the frame around.
Also, lose the shot where the guy stands up from the seated position. You popped up way too quickly. It gave him too much headroom.

Personally, I'd change the music too. It seemed to repetitive and I was reaching to turn down the volume knob after the first 30 seconds.

As the others have said, it takes cajones to post your first reel and ask for criticism, so that's admirable. But find your BEST shots and cut your reel WAY down until you get more experience.

Good luck and take care.
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#12 Tom Petropoulos

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 10:58 AM

Guys,

I did some work on the video, I cut it down to under 2 min, took out the really bad shots. Let me know what you think now.

http://homepage.mac....ieTheater3.html


Tom
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