My reel... so, ah whaddya think?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Kingsly, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. Kingsly macrumors 68040


  2. colto macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2007
    Hmm. I think that the color and technical side of the production looks pretty good, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use a tripod. Unless you are shooting a Saving Private Ryan sequel, then shaky footage will most likely make the production look very amateur. If you need to do a lot of moving shots on your feet then consider a shouldermount or a fig rig when a dolly or boom/jib is unavailable. If you are forced to use the zoom a lot(I hope not if you are shooting a film) then try a varicam controller or zoom ring to smooth things out.The color/lighting looked great in the pay phone scenes and the MacBook Pro spot looked very professional. I do however feel that there is a lot of poor cinematography present, specifically that car scene. Framing your scenes properly give you a lot more of a professional look. I have found that doing a lot of storyboarding helps both with the scene's look and with the time spent on the set. You can pick what you think looks good, set up for it, and do it without wasting time "getting a good shot". As far as post-processing you need to watch out for adjusting your contrast. There were a few scenes(specifically the guy with the cards) where your contrast was blown way too high. Sure upping the contrast can make the video look a little better, but going over 5% or so and you are losing a lot of color gamut and it comes across as very fake. If you are looking for that kind of color range then invest in a 3CCD/3CMOS camera and a good light kit. 95% of the time you can achieve the effect with a light kit(with some practice). As far as acting goes, it wasn't the greatest, but the good news is that that kind of a thing is generally expected with lower budget. You do however need to make sure that you are communicating with your actors and getting them to do what you are trying to achieve. That's something Bret Ratner(and I'm sure plenty other directors) looks for in a lot of young directors. And now on the reel itself, I don't know how many shorts/features you have done or how much footage you have to work with, but try and keep the dialogue down a bit. When a company puts your reel in they want to see everything that you are capable of in 3-5 minutes. They aren't looking to see how well your actors converse in a scene, but rather what kinds of scenes you can direct. For example, that pay phone scene at the end was too long in my opinion. Perhaps choose a good line of dialogue out of it or a particularly good looking shot and use it, discarding the rest. This brings me to my last point, use your best material! I know it's kind of obvious but let me elaborate. Companies/studios want to see what you are capable of, NOT necessarily everything that you have done. Don't use "filler clips" to make your reel longer. Use your BEST stuff. You want to show people that you can pump out good quality material. The mountain shot, the car scene, and the kid walking through the grass all seem like blah footage to me. You want a clip in your reel to summarize as much of the feature as possible and I didn't get that feeling from these clips. They just kind of seemed like random bits of video to me. On the other hand stuff like that MacBook Pro spot are perfect for a reel! They are quick, show your talent, and grab your attention. THAT is the kind of stuff you want in your reel. I know this post makes me look like a real jerk but I just wanted to take the time to show you the little things that you can improve to make your reel stand out. Just about everything I mentioned is a quick fix. You have the ability to make your stuff stand out and I want help make sure it happens!
  3. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    If you want an alternate perspective from colto, I think from my layman's perspective that it looked pretty good! After reading colto's review, I really thought it was going to be so heavy on the dialog, but it turns out it didn't bother me much at all, except that I started wondering if I was actually being told some plot details to one single story. So in that way, did it fail?

    I assume that if this is a demo reel ( am I using that term right? I'm a hobbiest, so I don't know ... ) that you're trying to showcase different styles.

    The thing is, that in your efforts to make the different bits flow together, I think it works against you...

    Your whole "war journalist" concept at the begining looks cool, but then you go to the guy crying on the phone and I think he's part of the same bit, but he's not. And visually there's not enough contrast ( that is, in the literary meaning of the word, not editing ) in your shooting style or editing that convinces me. Perhaps something else should be here?
    Same thing with the "ran into Louis" guy and the "I choose not to have friends" guy. It's confusing.

    Maybe not using the same music the whole time would help. Especially the Mac commercial which is a great contrast from the other videos, but with the current musical feel just seems hugely out of place.
    Actually I think music changes would help out *alot* in this. The transition to "good morning, how did you sleep" couple after the mac commerical is just begging for this.

    Also after the "everybody is going to die"/kid-in-a-field clip to the "ran into Louis"... same thing... music change needed or something. As a layman, I can't help be forgetting that this is a demo, and I feel like we're endlessly building up to a story that isn't there.

    Well, take this with a grain of salt. I don't know anything about the professional side of film making at all. I can only give you my perspective as an artist of what captured me and what didn't.

    Good luck! I personally think you've got great potential!
  4. P-Worm macrumors 68020


    Jul 16, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    What's this reel supposed to showcase? Editing? Cinematography? It will be easier to critique if we know the purpose.

  5. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Echoing a bit of what huntercr said, compartmentalizing the reel into "commercial", "documentary", and "narrative" sections would make it flow better because we aren't seemingly randomly, jumping between different projects.

    The Bosnia segments could have been compelling, but the poor audio and camera work really detracted from them. If I was looking for someone to director a doc project those shots on your reel would not instill confidence in me that you could do the job.

  6. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
    Dude, the Enter key. For serious.
  7. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Was the title card not obvious? ;) :p
    (I guess one could say the critique here is mainly on the editing, since I'm trying to cut a convincing demo reel. :confused: )

    Thanks all for the input. I really appreciate it and it is all exactly what I needed. :)

    I cut it in one evening and had to dig up footage from across five different drives... I seriously need to get my own FCS2 machine. :eek:
    Lots of that footage is some sort of placeholder, as I have a few projects in post and a few more about to go into production (and a limited number of minutes on the song ;))
    So, when ever that happens, expect a Cut, part deux!
  8. P-Worm macrumors 68020


    Jul 16, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Wow, do I feel like an idiot. I was looking at another part of the page during the title card because I saw you're name come up and I figured that was all that was going to come up. :eek:

  9. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Needs work.

    Demo reels I've seen and done myself are fairly standard. In most cases you have an intro (some quick cutting possibly), then your main body of the demo to showcase whatever it is you're trying to showcase, then a conclusion.

    Your reel is all over the map. As others have said, you need to separate your demo into sections such as doc directing, narrative directing, sports action directing, etc. Titles and graphics will help and can be done simply and elegantly without alot of flashy effects. Make sure your music matches each section and be very careful since music can be extremely subjective. I've seen nicely done reels with awful choices of music which translated into 'put their resume on the pile with the rest'.

    Even a director's reel needs to be edited well. Think about pacing for each segment. Perhaps you can have an editor take a crack at it then refine it yourself later? Don't forget to color correct and don't include anything that is sub-par, even if that leaves you with a 30 second reel. Good luck.
  10. irmongoose macrumors 68030


    Dec 3, 2001
    Sometimes Tokyo, sometimes California
    From what I have seen, a director's "reel" is mostly comprised of one body of work that he/she is proud of. A director is the key storyteller on a film - if you don't show enough of how characters interact, how you play out a scene, and how you tell the story, you're not really showing anyone your work as a director. You can format the reel in much the same way as a cinematographer's, but I would suggest you show us an entire scene from maybe one or two films you feel you executed well.


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