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Old January 13th, 2008, 05:44 AM   #1
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My 2008 Showreel

My 2008 attempt at a showreel is posted at
Any critique will be sincerely appreciated. This was shot using a Canon XH A1, using the VIVIDRGB preset and a circular polarizer on the majority of the shots. Thanks must go to Steven Dempsey for his inspirational work.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 08:13 AM   #2
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It takes a lot of guts to post something here for critique so I aplaud you effort. That said, I am not a pro so please take my comments from that perspective. You have some great shots that are graphically very strong. However, some are followed by much weaker shots. The best example I can give you is the lengthy offroad bicycle part. Look at it again and you may see what I mean. There is some continuity there but you might be able to re-edit and make it shorter and stronger. I would also recommend taking that approach for the whole reel. You known which shots are your best and which are not. I would also omit the scenes of the dog and work on using better graphics for your intro and ending.

I enjoyed watching your reel and am glad that you choose vimeo to display it. I started using them about 3 weeks ago and their encoding, upload limits and overall format are superior.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 10:15 AM   #3
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I found it absolutely beautiful! Wonderful shots, nice angles!

With best regards,

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Old January 13th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #4
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IMO, we need to hear those crashing waves of the ocean...
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Old January 14th, 2008, 12:00 AM   #5
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Nice job and thanks for the mention. I have some comments.

1. What makes or breaks music in a showreel is how much of a character it plays. I felt that your edit did a half-hearted job at really listening to musical cues for where edits should take place and what "scale" your shot should be for a particular color in the music. Does that make sense? I guess I was equally connected and disconnected from the music throughout the reel.

Just as an aside, did you use the mix from my reel because I mixed my version from 4 different tracks from the Village and it was pretty unique and not actually on the soundtrack. Your soundtrack sounds identical. No big deal, just curious.

2. When you think about putting a showreel together you need to ask yourself who your audience is going to be. The shots you have in this reel feels to me more like your audience is family and friends rather than seeking paying clients. Is that the case? You have some really nice shots that would qualify for a more professional looking reel and I would suggest you re-edit your reel with these stronger shots and use the other shots for another purpose. This will make your reel shorter but much more impactful. The kinds of shots I am talking about are the first few with the dramatic waves and the low angle of the receding fence with the biker.

3. A showreel is also supposed to be an opportunity for you to show your diversity and grabbing people's attention in the first 15 to 30 seconds. Your reel lingered on the same theme and same style shots for way too long. It looked more like a travelogue for a single place taken in one afternoon than a "best of" mix of things you have done over time. Remember, put your best shots first and try to keep variety at top of mind.

4. Another technique for "gluing" your shots together is to be aware of color correction. Your shots kind of bounce all over the place from warm colors to blue casts. While that may have been how it looked when you were shooting, the reel will really benefit from some cohesive coloring. Let the personality of the shots speak to the viewer rather than trying to convey diversity through jarring color differences.

5. Learn how to move your XHA1 like a big movie camera by slowly panning or tilting or, if you are more ambitious, using a dolly or crane. These kinds of shots will add instant production value to your reel. Even creative handheld shots will add a kinetic feel to an otherwise static shot.

6. Consider using a more upbeat soundtrack, particularly for the more sports-themed shots. The music in your reel didn't seem to fit most of these shots.

7. Be careful mixing ambient sound into a relatively busy soundtrack. I didn't think the girl playing piano was a good choice to mix over the main music. Some of the other ambiance you used was fighting with the soundtrack and the cuts were a little jarring to my ear.

That's all I can think of at the moment. This is a really good first effort but, if you consider and implement some of this advice, it can only get better and better.

Good luck to you.

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Last edited by Steven Dempsey; January 14th, 2008 at 08:06 AM.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 06:38 AM   #6
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2008 Showreel

Thanks a million to everyone that has taken the time to view my showreel and to respond so far. Steven, in particular, you picked out all the things (and more) that niggled in the back of my mind. Thanks for the kind remarks, but thanks even more for the very constructive criticism. I will certainly try to implement your advice and post the result in the near future.

PS. Yes Steven, I did use your mix. I only realized after listening to the original that your version was a unique adaptation. Sorry. :)
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Old February 11th, 2008, 10:29 AM   #7
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There are some really great shots in there. I like the focus from the fence to the three bikers that ride across in the background, I like the little crabs. But that part with the little girl playing piano was creepy.

It's at this dramatic crescendo, and pause, in the music. Her fingers are just lilting over the keys, not playing along with the scinematic soundtrac, and then her slow playing seems to pull the whole score down to silence and she's just staring at you. Like a horror movie.

Otherwise, nice!
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Old February 15th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #8
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Re-edited Showreel

Thanks for watching and for your comments Will. I tend to agree and have re-edited the reel completely. This is on Video at
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Old February 19th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #9
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Some very beautiful work. I agree with much of what Steven commented, but I also was curious to settings you had on the A1. I have an A1 also, and would really like to achieve some similar images.

I would change up the score - and impliment it more into the shots. The rhythm was a little off - didn't flow with the music.

Adobe's Soundbooth will allow you to dictate moods in the music.

My favorite shots were the boy fishing over the breaking waves - what a beautful effect with the splashes - did you slow it down a bit?

Also, nice reds - there was a shot of a bird that was just stunning.

Again, if you could post your settings that would be deeply appreciated. Thank you for sharing your work with us!!!

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Old April 1st, 2008, 02:36 AM   #10
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I enjoyed the opening beach shots, they worked well with the music. After that you lost the plot. It reminded me of a photographers portfolio "lets show everything I can do" and at the end you are not sure what is what. I would suggest you stay with one theme and explore that, then save the other clips for a new themed movie.

Your shots are superb, but too much of a mix.


This post is based on your first video

Last edited by Vincent Oliver; April 1st, 2008 at 02:40 AM. Reason: added line
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 08:03 AM   #11
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Thanks for the feedback Vincent. Would love to hear your opinion of the re-edited version of the reel. ( )
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Old April 5th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #12
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I watched both showreels again. Your first attempt was nearly there, you should have kept the sea theme going throughout.

The second version totally lost the plot. You have combined too many things into the one presentation, surfing, cycling, rambling etc. I can see what you were thinking, i.e. action shots, but it doesn't hang together. The pictures of the aligator, red bird and flowers didn't fit in with this show.

You have some stunning images, especially the coast shots. Work on this theme as your showcase and then produce a second showreel with the cyclists. You will soon build up a great collection of your work.

Best wishes
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #13
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great work, I like the 1st one you did the best, the music and slow long shoots gave it more feeling. The second one you did (V2) was great also but was more "cheesy" to me.

Either way the footage you shot looks very nice.
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