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#1 Kyle Fasanella

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 12:59 PM

Hey guys,

I have been practacing for about a year now in south central florida area. I have gotta a few film school jobs for cheap. But I need nore jobs badly. Is there anything online you guys would recomended for promoting my services?

I have a site with a reel. made a short film with friends just to have a reel at.

KyleFasanella.com


thnaks for all your help. you guys a great.
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#2 Ken Underwood

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:59 PM

Hey Kyle,

I'm pretty much in your same boat. I got a reel posted to YouTube ( ), and a really lousy website ( http://www.SpokaneSteadicam.com ). I've got to work on my website and business cards and such. Since I am in a very small market (Spokane, WA) I plan on contacting every production house and ad agency in town to get my name out there. Then I plan on expanding my reach to Boise, Seattle, Portland and other nearby markets. I am more than willing to travel.

So, to the pros on the board, what do new operators like Kyle and I do to begin getting real paying work? What about those of us in smaller markets? Am I on the right track with production houses and ad agencies or should my vision be larger, or different? Perhaps Vancouver, BC?

I truly appreciate any advice you can offer and look forward to getting out there and making a go of it.

Ken
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#3 Lukas Franz

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 04:11 PM

Hello Kyle, hello Ken,

my tip: start small, but do good solid work. Don't try to sell yourself as somebody like an A-list operator at the beginning of your career. Make some easy shots for your first showreel...and no dowdy action movie! Producers, directors or whoever that should hire you likes to see that you are professional and that you know your implement.

Start small also means: you'll do low budget stuff first. Very important: do good clean work. Be good. Get better. I'm shure both of you will do your way into the business.

I can not talk about the markets in your area. Maybe someone else can give you tips.

Good luck.
Lukas
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#4 Ken Underwood

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 04:36 PM

Thanks Lukas. I have another question. I have touched up my website ( http://www.spokanesteadicam.com ) but it is really nothing more than an online business card with a demo reel. What else should I put on there or is that enough? I really don't know the mindset of the target audience. I appreciate the advice.

Ken
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 09:36 PM

Hey there guys:

Ken first:

I think your site being that simple is just fine. It has all the information you need right there. If the credits you have are recognizable to the market you are working in (i.e. your bank spots etc.), then you should also have a resume on there that can be easily printed out--if you don't have enough credits to fill out a page properly, might as well include an equipment list at the bottom until you can. I would however strongly recommend that you not use Youtube to host your video, as their compression scheme is below par and makes it hard to judge your work due to the low frame rate. I did read that they are moving to MPEG4 which will help things but for me, your reel looked too strobed to appreciate the work.

Regarding the reel, your opening sequence is too long--remember that people don't have much patience when viewing reels, so hit them with the name and move to the footage. I wouldn't bother delineating between finished projects and raw footage at this point; pick your best bits and cut them into a montage. There's way too many similar shots of the dancers on the stage right now. Remember that a strong 3 minute reel is much better than a rambling 6 minute reel (something that I need to keep in mind as my Steadi reel is all bloat at the moment!).

Now Kyle:

I remember last year when you asked for feedback on your site, it looks like you took much of the comments to heart. However, if you are looking to get more work in the commercial/corporate/industrial world (as opposed to the indie world), I think you still need to work on presenting a more professional appearance as that is what is expected from those type of clients. Possibly you should maintain two separate sites--this one for your freelance Steadicam work, and the Vile Kyle fan club (?!) site for your more "rock and roll" pursuits. The reality is that for someone to dish out $100/hr for a Steadicam operator, they need to have a lot of confidence that they are hiring a responsible and experienced operator, and to be very honest there are a number of things on that site that suggest "cocky kid" to that over-35-yr-old who is doing the hiring. The best thing on that page is the banner image at the top, which has nice framing and suggests an artist doing his thing. Unfortunately this is followed by a rash of pix that could mostly be captioned "dude! check out me and my badass rig"! Again, these could easily be part of the Vile Kyle site. I would just keep the first one that has a good profile of the rig and your camera with 35mm adaptor and jettison the rest. Meanwhile, I still think the copy could be boiled down (perhaps lose the Q and A vibe and simply list your assets--note how Ken indicated the model and weight range of his Flyer on his page, which lets a prospective client know right away what your capabilities are).

As far as the linked video goes, there are some good moves in there (the tracking shot past the stacks in the library is excellent) but there's plenty of non-Steadicam, and again a prospective client doesn't want to have to wait through these to evaluate your work. I would imagine you have plenty of footage to cut together a montage reel at this point, which should be the focal point of the web site, and you can still have the short film there. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but since you are sincerely asking "how can I get more work" and feel comfortable describing yourself in various places on your website as a professional, I feel justified in pointing out this sort of thing...why is there an MPAA rating at the beginning of your film? I think I can assume they didn't actually rate it, so why put that in there? Again--fine for VileKyle, not good for Kyle Fascanella, professional high definition cinematographer. Ya with me?

Bottom line--if you want to put yourself out there in the "pro" world, present a "pro" image.

For both of you--just get out there, and keep shooting. The lucky thing about current technology is that you can use any decent DV/HDV camera to beef up your reel with great looking stuff at little or no expense, especially the setup you have with the adaptor, Kyle. With some good planning you can knock off a half dozen or more such moves in a single day, and by creative use of different shooting styles, locations, color correction etc. the impression can easily be made that you have worked on many different projects. Plan out moves that really show your stuff--incorporate intricate blocking, moves through tight quarters, some low mode, running, whip pans etc. There's no ethical reason not to do this (unless you lie significantly about the origin of the footage!). Remember again that most people won't watch more than a couple of minutes of your reel, and they will likely make their mind up in the first 30 seconds, so put your best up front and go for the dazzle and also variety.

Lastly--how to get your stuff out there. Once again you have the benefit of technology on your side, unlike us old-timers who had to mail out VHS tapes and postcards and make cold calls and all that. You can make up a nice email (maybe with HTML in it) and hit all of the production companies and agencies you can dig up at one fell swoop; maybe send one out once a month with updates in it. The human connection is still the best way however--find out who does the hiring at a given production company, then see if you can get a meeting with them where you show them your reel and chat them up. The more often you are in front of them, the more likely they are to think of you in association with Steadicam if it comes up in a creative meeting. But as Lukas says, don't oversell yourself.
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#6 Ken Underwood

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 10:52 AM

Charles,

Thanks for the advice. I recut the reel down to 3 minutes, replaced the opening and closing graphics, removed the designations of Finished vs. Raw footage and re-encoded using H.264. You're right, it does look much better. I still need to make a graphic to access the demo reel, the text link looks bad. Also, I don't think I can embed an H.264 in a web page. It will let me place a .mov but not a .m2v.

Is downloading the file OK or should I re-encode to some .mov format to embed right on the page? Every .mov format I tried GREATLY increased file size. H.264 is so much more efficient. What do you think?
Thanks again, everyone.
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#7 Tom Wills

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 11:31 AM

I actually just went through encoding files to get my website for all my video ventures up and running. If you exported something to H.264 in Quicktime, you should have a .mov file, which can then be added via <embed> tags. I don't think it's possible to have a H.264 file as M2V, because that is an MPEG2 file format, not MPEG4, which is what H.264 is based off of. What I'd recommend is that if you're on a Mac with a recent copy of FCP, use Compressor 2 to export your video. It has presets under "Web (Quicktime 7 Compatible)" for H.264 in 40, 100, 300 and 800 kb/s videos. It spits out the videos in .mov format too.

Edited by Tom Wills, 05 July 2007 - 11:32 AM.

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#8 Afton Grant

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 11:38 AM

Hi Ken,

H.264 is only an encoding codec, not a file format. You can create a MOV file using H.264 to encode it, giving you very nice quality, very small file size, and a file that can be embedded on a web page. All of the SteadiShots files are done this way.

Let me know if you have any Q's.

Best,
Afton
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#9 Hugh Bell

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 12:00 PM

Charles,

Thanks for the advice. I recut the reel down to 3 minutes, replaced the opening and closing graphics, removed the designations of Finished vs. Raw footage and re-encoded using H.264. You're right, it does look much better. I still need to make a graphic to access the demo reel, the text link looks bad. Also, I don't think I can embed an H.264 in a web page. It will let me place a .mov but not a .m2v.

Is downloading the file OK or should I re-encode to some .mov format to embed right on the page? Every .mov format I tried GREATLY increased file size. H.264 is so much more efficient. What do you think?
Thanks again, everyone.



Hi Ken,
Working with websites a fair bit in the past, it is my opinion that you should definitely embed the video on the page. It is obviously much easier for the viewer. The H.264 format should be a .mov file not a .m2v (a m2v file is a mpeg2 file usually used for dvd authoring). If you have quicktime pro, you should be able to export your original file to a quicktime movie (movie to quicktime movie) and in the video settings choose H.264 as the codec. Of course you should also check the "sound" box (qdesign music 2 is pretty good at 44.100) and also check "prepare for internet streaming" (fast start). If you have done all this already, but for some reason still had a .m2v extension, whatever you compressed it with could have just taken the name of the original video file with extension (macs on occasion do this). So, you might just be able to change the extension from .m2v to .mov. Of course that won't work if the file is actually a mpeg2 (.m2v) file. Hopefully I did not confuse you even more.

Cheers,
Hugh.
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#10 Ken Underwood

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 01:00 AM

Thanks for all the great advice. I did manage to get the file re-encoded to a .mov using H.264. I haven't upgraded to FinalCut Studio 2 yet so I just used the export using Quicktime Conversion and fooled around with the settings. Seems to have worked just fine. Holy cow does H.264 look great or what!!

I also found a tutorial about using a poster frame movie (single frame .mov file) that people can click on that will then load and play the movie in place without reloading the whole page. I read several tutorials and tag specs and read how I should be able to embed the CONTROLLER and AUTOPLAY tags into a Quicktime movie using a piece of software called "Plug-in Helper". That way I could use HTML to turn the controller and autoplay tags off of the poster frame but have them come on when the actual .mov file was loaded. Plug-In Helper is an OS 9 app and although it loaded under Classic, none of my codecs were loaded into the OS 9 file system so I couldn't embed those tags and resave as H.264. I couldn't find an updated tool for OS X either. Oh, well. I just hope people won't click on the play button at the bottom of the poster frame and get frustrated when nothing happens.

Better? :)
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#11 Tom Wills

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 11:08 AM

I actually wanted to do the same thing, but I was designing in iWeb, and it wouldn't let me anywhere near the HTML code, so I did something a little different. I created a "placeholder image", which was just a screenshot from the movie, scaled to the exact same size as the movie, and then, when you click on it, it leads you to an exactly identical page, but in the exact same place as the screenshot, there's the video. Now, I'm sure it'd be nicer if I could have done it via HTML and messed with the QT embedding tags, but it's a rough way to make it work if you can't figure anything else out to your satisfaction.

Here's a link to how the final product looks: http://willsvideo.com/WVS/Samples.html
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