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Old June 24th, 2008, 12:54 AM   #1
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need some advice on a reel...

Ok all, Im looking to put together a reel and want to hear all of your opinions on putting together a good DP reel. Please explain what you ( a producer/ director/ executive ) would be looking for and what would look good on a reel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 02:38 AM   #2
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A reel for what? Features? Commercials? Music Video? All of the above?

What's your level of experience? What have you shot? What do you want to shoot?

What do you want the directors and producers to think watching your reel?

I'd want you to demonstrate creativity, technical excellence. How you do that, well that's up to you.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Matt Ryan View Post
Ok all, Im looking to put together a reel and want to hear all of your opinions on putting together a good DP reel. Please explain what you ( a producer/ director/ executive ) would be looking for and what would look good on a reel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
It should be pretty short (2 or 3 minutes tops?) And personally I think it's good to use exciting music that is not TOO popular. If it's a polished hit song, it may make independent work look less polished.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:42 PM   #4
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Please explain what you ( a producer/ director/ executive ) would be looking for and what would look good on a reel.
Quality over quantity. Try to show variety if you can, a bunch of shots that are nice but all look the same is not helpful.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:46 AM   #5
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I know others disagree, but I personally find it unprofessional to use copyrighted material in a reel (e.g.; music). If you have no regard for that law, what other ethical lapses might the client think you have? There is plenty of royalty free stuff available, starting with Garage Band and Soundtrack Pro, to name a few.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #6
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Reel's change right across the board - It really depends on the depth of your work and your level of experience - and what sort of work you want to attract.

I know in some places people don't like watching reels which are heavily edited montages - because it is more about the editing than the work as a whole - others want to see as much in as little amount of time as possible - so a montage reel is useful in such situations.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #7
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I know others disagree, but I personally find it unprofessional to use copyrighted material in a reel (e.g.; music). If you have no regard for that law, what other ethical lapses might the client think you have? There is plenty of royalty free stuff available, starting with Garage Band and Soundtrack Pro, to name a few.
Are you sure it's illegal to use copyrighted songs in a demo reel? I really, really, don't think that is illegal. Making your own song in garage band is a waste of time if you have no interest what so ever in producing sound. Just use a song that is either obscure, or classical, or ambient. As opposed to some new kanye or Timberlake song, etc. -That's just annoying.
It's common to use classical music/jazz for an animation reel for example. No one is going to think you are passing off a mozart or miles davis song as your own.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #8
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Are you sure it's illegal to use copyrighted songs in a demo reel? I really, really, don't think that is illegal.
You're probably really, really wrong. It is an unlicensed use of an intellectual property. I don't have any case law to cite, but if my emailing you a digital copy of a song I ripped from a Beatles CD is good cause for litigation, you can bet your house that using same song in a reel probably is, too.

Let me put it to you in another way: citing copyright law, prove to me that is isn't a violation, because that's how it works.

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Making your own song in garage band is a waste of time
Oh, come on. That's not true at all. In fact, may be the best thing to do. Show off another aspect of your abilities.

Personally, I hate Garageband with a passion. Too many people are hacking together a bunch of trite loops and samples and are passing themselves off as composers. But for a reel, or little web clip or commercial, why not use it or Soundtrack?

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No one is going to think you are passing off a mozart or miles davis song as your own.
Yeah, but that's not the entire point to copyright protection.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 07:30 PM   #9
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first of all I would not rip any licensed songs although for non sale purposes it is legal for personal showcase. Anyways I will use several pieces mixed together to go with the visuals. They are all original scores made specifically for the films I have done. So put aside the law side and continue on advice pertaining to the footage in a reel. Until someone gets nailed for using copyrighted music, none of us have heard of any incidences like this. I have done several action films along with dramas, gritty crime, and fairytalishness. Should I try and keep them separated into like grounds or mix the genres?
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Old June 27th, 2008, 12:56 AM   #10
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Personally, I hate Garageband with a passion. Too many people are hacking together a bunch of trite loops and samples and are passing themselves off as composers. But for a reel, or little web clip or commercial, why not use it or Soundtrack?
i agree, but i like garageband. i am first and foremost a musician, and i play and record guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion and vocals in my songs. BUT for film scores, i am really getting into using a combination of garageband, reason, soundtrack, and whatever other program to create soundtracks. instead of taking a month to compose and record one song, i can do one song a day with loops. i think whether you are vibrating strings, pressing 'keyboards', or banging pots and pans, it is all the same! i think of the computer as a musical instrument to be 'played' also (and perhaps the most challenging one...). there are millions out there making shite with real guitars, and millions making great music with virtual instruments. it is all about how you play the 'instrument' and how creatively you compose.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 11:20 AM   #11
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I you are going to quote me don't change what I said. I did not say "garage band is a waste of time."
I said it is a waste of time IF you have no interest in producing sound. This is a really important suggestion as the main problem with demo reels is they never get done. All because people get wrapped up in little stupid things, like not being able to produce there own music. Get the work out there, that is the most important rule. It is tragic to sit on your work with a lame excuse like "I can't make music for it". But if you want to and can produce sound that just makes your reel even better, and is not a waste of time!!
No one will disregard your reel just because it has mozart on it, that would be poor advice. if you have a varied portfolio, I have heard that it is better to focus on one aspect to make it clear what job you are applying for. To me that seems weird, cause the more you can do the better. So my advice is to make the demo reel a piece in itself. Whatever works together is good. If the demo reel is awesome in that sense people will like watching it. It should be informative, but it's almost like you are making a new video for potential clients. So in other words the credits and info can be just as cool and exciting as the work. Other wise you might as well be showing a few excerpts and clips. This is only an opinion as it contradicts what I've heard.
I think you should print an image on your DVD, if this is something you are mailing. And my theory is that it is good to send some type of brochure. It's not a necessity at all, but wouldn't you forget about a dvd someone sent you? You can only see it if you put it in the machine. Some type of print on the other hand can jog there memory when they come across it in some pile of papers. It can take over a month for them to respond, I like to leave a visual time bomb that reminds them of my existence.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #12
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I believe, especially as a lot of us create our own copyrighted audio-visual material, that the copyrights of others should also be 100% respected.

But I have found a solution (for myself, at least) which means I can inexpensively buy high-quality royalty-free music and tailor it perfectly to my own requirements.

I normally use some local composers (musicians) for drama work. But, at one point, when they became unavailable for a job, I had to find a really fast (and inexpensive) solution. For corporate work, I'd earlier come up with some very simple music loops using Soundtrack Pro and that was barely acceptable to use even in that context. So that wouldn't do.

Then I stumbled across (online) some videos of the 2007 LAFCPUG supermeet at NAB and saw the presentation of SonicFire Pro. I think it costs about $100 for the software and then you buy each professionally-produced song you need online for about $20 (or much less if you buy a bunch of them together on a CD). They have a very large library with many different genres and, if you are prepared to hunt around, they have some terrific tracks. (A number of them aren't terrific, but some really are.)

http://www.smartsound.com/sonicfire/

I bought the software and a few of their "Multi-Layer" songs and it did the job perfectly. You just put in how long you need your music track to be and it will tailor it exactly to that length. Each song is professionally composed and played (and comes with a couple of different arrangements, called "Variations"). But the best thing of all is that a Multi-Layer song comes with each instrument recorded separately, so each can be adjusted to fit the overall mood of what is happening on the screen at that time. You can adjust them separately or, if you are not musically inclined, just select the "mood" you want and it will adjust the instruments automatically. So, even if you know nothing about the technical side of music, it takes only about four or five minutes to select the song, the arrangement, the length and the mood and then export it to use in FCP.

It's a good solution for struggling indie filmmakers and a great one for corporate videographers.

And it allows one to neatly bypass the whole mess of copyright infringement queries and what is a valid legal opinion and what is not.
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