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The new reel....music or dialogue?


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#1 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:10 PM

I'm cutting a new reel and I can't decide whether to use music over the whole thing or to use dialogue whenever possible. Most of the footage I'm using has dialogue, so I could almost cut the whole reel with no music, but I'm a bit torn. It will probably be easier to cut and trim if I just use music, but sometimes it's nice to have some context to the images.
What do you guys think? Do you tend to like reels with more or less dialogue? And better yet....what do the bosses prefer?
And what are your thoughts on music with lyrics as oppossed to instumental? Are lyrics too distracting?
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#2 David Allen Grove

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 05:11 PM

The Local 600 website has an article about demo reels complete with links that might be helpful.
http://www.cameragui...tml~top.main_hp
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#3 Sean Jensen

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 05:24 PM

Brad,

The last time I was asked for a demo reel, the first thing the DP did was turn down the sound. He thought it was distracting and said he wanted to watch my reel, not listen to it. My reel was also 50/50 music first then dialogue scenes.

I think it comes down to who you are giving it to. If it's for music videos or for drama or both. If it's on DVD then you can have both.

Good luck!


Sean
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#4 Anthony Violanto

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:41 AM

I like reels that work more like a promo- not so much like a music video... music is cool, but if you were reacting to the dialogue when you shot it, I would keep it in. Your shots and the dialogue can often work off each other. If it is just a cool beauty shot, music and maybe some sound FX? I hate cheesy reels.
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#5 Matt Burton

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:40 AM

Personally I always would go for several different pieces of music or subtle sound FX that reflect the mood of each scene or a group of scenes. That conbined with the odd break for a nice piece of dialog would be killa ! :D
It can be such a BIG mistake to just edit your reel to one track ! (edit) However if the music is good it can be very effective i'll admit.
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#6 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 05:38 AM

It can be such a BIG mistake to just edit your reel to one track ! This is not how a good editor would begin an edit.



Really? you might want to look at my reel then. Never had a complaint
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#7 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 07:23 AM

Gents--

I would have to agree with Mr. Fletcher completely.

Before I went to camera, I was an editor for over three years. One of the very first tasks handed to me was to re-edit the company's demo reels. I found that most people (clients) are looking for their "shot" on your, and everyone else's, reels.

Remember that this is also a personality contest of sorts. While the shots tend to tell a story about your work, skills, and abilities, music offers a special insight into the type of person you are and what you bring to set inside.

Go for it. Use music. Offer a second track on your DVD which features dialog.

Best,

Brant S. Fagan, SOC
Steadicam/Camera Operator
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#8 David Allen Grove

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:50 AM

I stumbled upon this to see if anybody else was using the Google's new video to upload their demo reel.

(You may need to dowload the google player to view this)

The text says it's the "Official Show Reel of James Muro."

http://video.google....5...dicam&hl=en

I think music works quite well on this reel..
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#9 Kareem La Vaullee

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:26 AM

Hi,

Yes it's his reel, it's me who uploaded it on Google Video to show to a friend.

I met James Muro three weeks ago and we talked about a lot of things, it was really great.
In the middle of all we talked, we talked about his reel, it's his wife who did the editing, nice work, I like it a lot.
And the music from The Last of the Mohicans is perfect to do the job.
He told me that a more complete version will be made soon.

Meeting James Muro was a blast, he showed me his equipment and some secrets, he is really a great guy.

K.
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#10 Matt Burton

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 04:52 PM

Really? you might want to look at my reel then. Never had a complaint


Nice self promotion their Eric :)
(is that a camera shadow at the end of the last shot on the short reel ?)
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#11 Charles Papert

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:11 PM

It's interesting to look at Jimmy's reel. I would categorize it as a "sizzle" reel--lots of famous faces and easily identifiable films. However, not a lot of opportunity to really analyze his operating prowess because the clips are so short. It's tough to see half of the "Mighty Quinn" shot without seeing the step-off at the end; it's a bummer to see a few seconds of the shot from "Point Break" without seeing the amazing whip pans through the office further in the shot (how is it possible for the King of Whip Pans not to have any on his reel!!!).

It gets into the logic behind many A list operators not having reels any more, because in many ways a cameraman who perhaps wasn't familiar with Jimmy by name (if there is one) would probably learn just as much about his operating level from simply reading "Titanic", "T2", "Dances with Wolves" etc. on his resume. I'm not A list but while interviewing for my last two features, the cameramen didn't even want to see my reel when I offered it to them.

For the myriad of operators who have worked on lesser-known films, corporates, music videos etc., the work has to stand on its own merit so the reel perhaps needs to have a different slant. I have found it to be the case that the bigger jobs will be mostly won by resume, and possibly confirmed by viewing the reel (and a basic checklist of framing and operating skills), but it's the smaller/lower-budget jobs that often end up with the reel being under the highest scrutiny. Perhaps it's that DP's at this level have been oft-screwed by sub-par operators and really feel the need to dissect the operating on a reel, I'm not sure.
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#12 David Allen Grove

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:29 PM

I remember seeing Liz's reel on her website (a long time ago)
Every shot in her reel was no longer than 3 to 4 seconds.. some as short as 2 to keep
with the beat of the music. Lots of famous faces/movies.

The Steadicam Guild, has in the past, had Demo Reel night where we bring our reels for
critique. Ya wanna talk about nerve racking, when you have top "A" list guys like Dan Kneece and Charles Papert (you're being modest Charles!) :) looking at your reel! YIKES. :unsure:

Our last "Demo Reel" night (last year if I remember correctly) was fun and funny (long story) and much less nerve racking. It's amazing how much our reels improved from the previous viewing!

We should have another reel night sometime.
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#13 Bruce Alan Greene

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 07:50 PM

I'm cutting a new reel and I can't decide whether to use music over the whole thing or to use dialogue whenever possible. Most of the footage I'm using has dialogue, so I could almost cut the whole reel with no music, but I'm a bit torn. It will probably be easier to cut and trim if I just use music, but sometimes it's nice to have some context to the images.
What do you guys think? Do you tend to like reels with more or less dialogue? And better yet....what do the bosses prefer?
And what are your thoughts on music with lyrics as oppossed to instumental? Are lyrics too distracting?


For my DVD I've put two reels: The first is a "montage" reel put to music and the second, for those interested is a series of extended takes and sequences in their complete form from the movies with the original soundtrack.

For the montage reel, I opened it with some shots from a musical dance scene in a movie. When we shot it I bought a CD from the band that contained the same track that was used for playback. When I edited the reel I used the CD track and, at first, it seems like it's the movie track because it's in sync with the picture, but having the original recording, I was able to continue the music without the sound effects from the film and place all the other clips over the same music.

If anyone's interested, my montage reel is on the net at My Webpage.

I haven't updated it for a while and it shows it age a little... :blink:

-bruce
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#14 JamesSainthill

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 07:27 PM

Hey all,
Since I am still a pup in relation to the great steadicam operators of our time, I have studied as many reels as I could find. Some have been great and some have been ... well that's another story. But, if you ever get the opportunity to watch the reels of Liz Zeigler (used to be found at www.lizcam.net), Tim Merkel (X-Men, X-Men 2 ...) or Francois Daignault (www.francoisdaignault.com)... do, because they are all Super-A List operators with very different styles of reels that I think reflect their various personalities. George Paddock once told me that he could teach anyone to use a steadicam ... and it is what the individual brings from the heart that makes them a great operator. I think you can see what George was talking about in the aforementioned operators' reels.

Oh BTW - does anyone know who is doing the steadicam work on the NBC show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"? It is some of the best work I have ever seen! If I had to wager on who it was, I would say the great Jimmy Muro, but then again sometimes new stars just appear on the Sunset Strip...


Let's hope that someday all of the greats will come back home to the forum.

J.St.Hill.
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#15 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 02:10 AM

The pilot (which aired this week) was operated by Dave Chameides, who honed his craft for three seasons on "ER". I actually emailed him earlier this week to commend him for the roundy-round in the conference room on "Studio 60", the one with several beautiful whip pans in it. Dave's done some really amazing work.

He passed the torch on to Gavin Ames for the regular season of the show. Incidentally both are very tall, and both drive vehicles that run on vegetable oil. Interesting.
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