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Old October 20th, 2004, 07:10 PM   #1
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Where can I view others' demo reels?

I'm gonna try the "cold-calling around Houston for work" thing again, and I want to be sure my reel's as good as it can be considering my skill level, etc. I'm getting different advice from different people on how to format it, what to do, not to do etc., and I wanted to know if there was a place to view others' work. I'm looking for pro reels, here. . .something that's gotten the reel's owner steady work over a long period of time.

Videography/DP/shooting/camerawork reels, specifically. As for the material on them, it can be anything. My reel will have short films, commercials, live event coverage, and whatever else I can find that's worthy, so if there's something out there similar, that'd be great.
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Old October 20th, 2004, 08:35 PM   #2
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Most of the really accomplished pros will have a demo reel on their site, but don't generally post it around boards (they've got pleanty of work already). A collection of effects artist sites (most with demo reels) is located on this web page. (In particular, be sure to check out Dylan Cole's reel. Really amazing work for Lord of the Rings and some cool tricks for Dare Devil.)

Also, don't forget to search these boards for "reel" or demo reel. Lots of people have posted clips here.

Have fun.
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Old October 20th, 2004, 10:01 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'll take a look. As I said, I'm mainly interested in how cameramen sell themselves, as opposed to other types of artists (editors, CG guys, etc.).
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Old October 20th, 2004, 11:15 PM   #4
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Josh:

There are many ways to format reels. A lot of people prefer one long montage of images set to music. I myself use a short montage followed by individual segments with a mix of original sound and music. I feel that by shifting gears often, the viewer is prevented from going into a 6 minute daze.

By the way, I looked at your reel a while back and noticed that you hadn't identified yourself in terms of a job capacity--cameraman? operator? DP? etc. That should be contained within the reel itself along with your name, at both the beginning and the end. And by the way, I'm not all that sure about your personalized opening--if you are trying to sell yourself as a pro, it has a "made in my basement" vibe to it. It's a fine line here...there's nothing inherently wrong with playful (my Steadicam reel has a pretty goofy opening).

Consider that the first 90 seconds of your reel are the most important, and downwards from there. You need to hook the prospective client from the beginning by putting your best work in the front. Remember that their fingers are poised over the "eject" button; they probably don't have the time or inclination to watch the whole thing.

I would move some of that pretty sunset over the water footage earlier in the reel, as well as your more aggressive lighting (the couple in the hallway; the green and red gelled bar scene as well as the girl in the street, although you might want to eliminate the vomiting section). The opening sequence with the TV, although a funny short, is not all that dynamic for the first thing on a reel. And for those who are picky about this sort of thing, the very first piece of coverage has a little bit of the other guy's nose bumping into frame (during "Dude that movie is AWESOME!"), which is not great compositionally. Many people wouldn't notice this. If I were potentially interviewing you to shoot something, I might mention this to see if a) you had noticed this and b) you had issue with it. If you said yes to both, I'd be more inclined to trust your shooting instinct (i.e. you recognized a mistake) but you shouldn't have it on your reel.

Another tricky thing is to figure out what the prospective employers are looking for. Are you going after production companies that shoot corporate, local commercials, EFP? If that's the case, they will want to see that sort of thing earlier in the reel--they won't necessarily get what they need from the indie film material.

So: this is again fairly unique to my tastes with demo reels, but I would recommend that you cut a killer montage of :45 to :60 of your most interesting shots and place it at the head. Then order the material from most juicy to least juicy. If you are planning to hit up production companies like I mentioned earlier, perhaps have a second version of your reel targeted for them, with the material currently at the end of your reel moved up to the head.

DVD's are fantastic for reels because they give you the opportunity to create a customized viewing experience. A simple menu at the beginning with a "play all" as well as individual tracks for each segment, set up as chapters, means they can skip ahead to other sections as needed.

For examples of an opening montage style (there's another one later on in the reel also, you could check out my DP reel. The Steadicam reel is a bit more straight forward with individual segments for different projects, except for the end which has clips from different TV shows.
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Old October 21st, 2004, 12:14 AM   #5
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Thanks, Charles. I will chew over your advice.

AS for the intro, I'm either going to do away with it (and just put up a slate), or use this new one I just shot:

http://www.joshbass.com/New_demo_intro_dummy.wmv

It's offbeat and goofy, but it looks nicer, as nice as this particular content could look, that is. I'm certainly not pro--I don't even feel I've gotten my feet wet, really. Just a hair past complete amateur, perhaps?

Yes, I never put "cameraman/dp" etc. in there anywhere. I guess I assumed the letter they would get accompanying my reel saying something to the effect of "I'm looking for camerawork" would kind of clear up any confusion, but I'll put it in there.

Regarding the shot at the beginning with the guys nose or whatever in there, yes, I noticed it. Parts of that same take have an interesting two shot with the foreground guy blurring, and that take happened to be the one I used in the movie, since it was the best one, so that's why it's in there (Also, I don't have a CU of the guy on frame right, just that loose OTS/2shot).

I did read that bit, in my research online, about hooking them with the first thing you show, but I also read the first :30 is what get's em, not the first :90. I guess it's all a matter of an opinion.

Also read the bit about tailoring the reel to the client (e.g. the guy doing wedding doesn't want to see my short films, and the guy look for a DP for his short film doesn't want to see my ENG/run and gun footage, or talking heads).

The kinds of people I'll be targeting for camerawork will be doing super low end stuff, the only stuff I feel qualified for right now. For higher end work, I can probably only be a camera PA (or, as I hear, now sometimes called a "2nd AC.")
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Old October 21st, 2004, 12:55 AM   #6
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Josh, the "army of one" clip is funny as hell. I need to shoot some more humor/personal based footage when the season is over, sick of all the client work.


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Old October 21st, 2004, 01:15 AM   #7
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Thanks, but the guy in is the writer/creator. I shot it, and contributed to the feel and look, but it's not really "mine".
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Old October 22nd, 2004, 03:41 PM   #8
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Josh, well, you are right about the intro being offbeat...! It could work great for you with certain prospective clients, and not great with others. The question is if it is worth the risk.

Re: hooking them in the first :30 vs :90; yes, it's important to hook right away. The reality is that in most cases, they will only watch the first :90 whether they hire you or not.

As far as the guy's nose is concerned--all I can say is, remember that you are selling them a cameraman, not a filmmaker; every frame you put in your reel must count as good camerawork. That's the priority, not telling the story of the film.
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 12:07 AM   #9
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Yeah. . .

I'm going to recut it, with a straight slate intro (kinda like yours), and probably not to any "scenes", just a montage over music. I don't think I have anything that looks so good that the edited version has not a single cut or shot or whatever that's even slightly imperfect, so better to only show what IS perfect. I might use that new piece at the end, have me cough up, literally, my contact info. If they like what they saw before, that goofy bit probably wouldn't make them change their minds, right? Plus, it's the slickest thing I've ever shot! Seriously. . .notice the gentle soft light on my face, the decent level of fill, the background light. Supposed to be daytime, morning, actually completely simulated while dark outside. What's that? Well, screw you! I like it.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 02:55 PM   #10
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reel advice

Okay, a newer, sleeker, more aerodynamic reel:

http://www.joshbass.com/montage_reel_wm9.wmv

What ya think?
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Old October 31st, 2004, 07:22 AM   #11
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I'd say much better Josh! I would personally drop the big wheel
attraction shot though (near the end).
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