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Old January 2nd, 2004, 07:33 PM   #1
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Video Formats for Demo Reel?!

Hi everyone,

I am building a demo reel or a creative portfolio as a student, so later on i can use it for my job. I am just wondering what formats I should export my FINAL works? I don't need to edit it anymore. Should i export it to miniDV, DVDs, or what guys? Please help. Thanks.
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 07:59 PM   #2
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mini-DV for your master copy is a good choice. mini-DV is an excellent quality format.

VHS and DVD for distribution. Not sure how much penetration DVD has. You want to think about the people viewing these demo reels. Do they have a DVD player? VHS VCR? Would they hate DVDs for some reason?
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 08:14 PM   #3
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Thanks Glenn, I think I'll use miniDV then.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 07:46 PM   #4
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As a distribution format, even fewer people have dv in any form.

Good quality VHS and DVD are the most compatible formats. I'd always try to show on DVD if possible.

Remember that the formatting of the DVD is also a demonstration of your abilities whether you want it to be or not.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 11:09 PM   #5
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Hi Mike,

Yea, I keep my final on miniDV AND DVD format too. DVD for distribute, and mini for storage. Thanks.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 09:32 AM   #6
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For distribution I remain a big fan of MPEG-1. It's reasonable quality at 1.5-2.5 mbps, Mac and PC-compatible, and with a sub-fifteen minute or so piece, can be burned to miniCDr, and mailed in a regular #10 envelope for the price of a stamp.

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Old January 4th, 2004, 10:00 AM   #7
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I would think that most artists would prefer DVD, as this is the standard out there at this time for Media Presentation. Think of it when going to Producer, Director, or DP how many of them have a MiniDV player at hand. All the clients that I work with actors and actress ask for a MiniDV for them to edit later and then a DVD for distribution.

Of course being from Chicago the Midwest thing we all might be different.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 02:05 PM   #8
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VHS and DVD for distribution with a preferrence to VHS. (not S-VHS or D-VHS)

At the moment, and this is subject to change, VHS is still the format most people have that is compatible with everything. Unless you are getting real DVD's mastered (dual-layer 9gb) then DVD-r and DVD+r aren't going to really be that ideal because thre are still compatibility issues between players.

If you don't know what equipment the person recieving the reel is going to have , then VHS will be your best bet. Record to VHS via s-video or component if possible.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 02:29 PM   #9
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I will ditto John's post.
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Old February 10th, 2004, 03:31 AM   #10
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A pressed DVD does not has to be a dual-layer 9gb disc,
just for your information. It can just as well be a single layer 5gb
format [as a lot of DVD's on the shelfs are, especially in the non
hollywood industry so to speak].

With a DVD authoring is everything. If it looks bad then don't
send it in. If you can't make menu's and only have one movie
don't have a menu at all. DVD's can go straight to a movie playback
without any menu just as a VCD can. If you are using a menu
make it simple and fast. People watching have limited or no time
and don't want to waste it on waiting for a menu introduction
movie or navigating through a maze of menu's before getting
where they need/want to go.

Perhaps you can include both a tape and a DVD?
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Old February 10th, 2004, 02:23 PM   #11
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I recently saw cinematographer William Wages (ASC) give a lecture. He showed us what he said was his "demo reel" -- it was a DVD that looked like it was made with something like Sonic MyDVD (it had that ubiquitous default Sonic "play" button on the menu). The Menu screen was black with only the one aforementioned "play" buttton. No other navigation, nothing fancy at all. I got the impression that this was his typical demo reel and that he didn't make this DVD special just for us.

As for my 2-cents:

I'd say have both DVD and VHS copies on hand. If you are using this reel to get jobs, you're going to want to call the business/production company/etc. ahead of time anyway so you can find out:

1) The proper mailing address

2) The exact person (if any) to address it to

3) The company's preferred format for your demo. If the company handles reels regularly, they probably already have a policy that the secretary can recite in his/her sleep.

If you can't get a proper answer, send a VHS.
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Old February 10th, 2004, 03:00 PM   #12
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Better safe than sorry and obviously having a copy in both (dvd & vhs) cannot hurt.. but I question whether vhs is really the format most people are still compatable with. Especially when you consider places like Best Buy dont even stock VHS anymore... I know that if someone handed me a vhs tape, i would give it right back to them because ive thrown my vhs player out.
Also, when considering how much better quality and contrast DVD offers over vhs (not too mention the professional presentation of it) , i would think that anyone interested in the arts/media industry would look down on a vhs demo reel.

just my .02
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Old February 12th, 2004, 03:33 AM   #13
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Calling to make sure is a good idea and is considered doing your
homework probably. Sending in a DVD when they only accept
VHS tapes wouldn't look too professional I'd say.

I can imagine a lot of them having a DVD player [as well] indeed.
But from what I heard and read things that have been established
(like demoreels on VHS tapes) in "Hollywood" aren't changing
very fast. Even if it might be "better".
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