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Old October 23rd, 2008, 07:14 PM   #1
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2008 Demo Reel

Linked below is a rough cut of my 2008 demo reel. I am looking for some critique. I really want to get this polished! Any critique, both positive and negative, are welcomed and encouraged. This demo is meant to represent me as both a Director of Photography as well as an editor. If you view my reel PLEASE take the time to comment on it? If some of you have slower bandwidth and need a lower res version, please let me know.

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Old October 26th, 2008, 08:41 AM   #2
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46 views and no love!

OK, so here is my critique on my own work: I think it may need to be longer, maybe some quicker cuts thrown in, and I'm not really feeling the Parallel Seventeen logo that I threw in at the end. I need to use some of my other graphics work and make a dedicated segment for it. Also, the two rack shots in the beginning are a little shaky. I'm working on fixing those with post stabilization, I need to get some heavier tripods.

Any additional comments would be awesome. Feel free to tear it apart if need be. That's kind of what I was hoping for, ya know... a little motivation or kick in the arse if you know what I mean?
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Old October 26th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #3
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First off you need to ask yourself what am I trying to sell with this demo.

I got the fact that you have a 35mm adapter and can rack focus. Over 50% of the demo drives that point home.

You have done one commercial piece, that of the chef/cooking show.

The most intriguing and what I think you should be selling is the boxing sequence. Motivated, powerful, technically correct. The conflicted of a "peaceful" musical background with the powerfully brutal depiction of the moment is well played.

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Old October 26th, 2008, 11:32 AM   #4
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I dont understand what you are trying to sell?
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Old October 29th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #5
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Great photography!

Nothing ever needs to be longer, things only need to be shorter. There are exceptions to that rule, but this isn't one of them. Demo tapes always need to be shorter. If George Lucas showed me a demo tape that ran 5:30, I'd tell him it was great, but it needs to be shorter.

You start with what (IMHO) is your worst shot. For a guy who had a room full of chairs and a single centerpiece, it's a pretty good shot. But this is your demo reel, I want to think to myself "HOLY COW, How'd he do that?!" after your first shot, not look at a shot that could have been terrible and instead was only mediocre because of your tremendous photography. I want to see a shot that could have been average, but was truly amazing because of your tremendous photography.

Shot #1 and #2 are visibly shaky. I think a little "SteadyCam" in Final Cut (or the same effect in whatever software you use) would eliminate that completely.

Shot #3 (your hand on the lens) is okay (IMHO not demo reel material still), but "needs something", though I'm not sure what... vignetting?

When we get into the sequence with the woman... this music is BEGGING, nay, PLEADING to have hard cuts to it. In fact, more footage could easily be fit in here, and you'd get a better idea of the story if there was some cutting to the beat.

I remember you showing this short film, and I remember better shots in it than those you are showing in your reel. Consider wide shots, too.

Love the boxer stuff, good lighting. Love the speed ramps. A couple of opportunities in here to get way more cuts in, which (IMHO) the music is begging for again.

The knife thing... I want to hear the "shing shing shing" of the knife, and I want it to match the music. You'd have to do a ton of timeshifting to get it right, but when you did, it would make your reel.

I like your logo, especially as an endplate. On demo reels, I like to fade the video out and leave the logo and contact info up as the last frame, so when it freezes, a potential client doesn't have to scrub back and forth to find your information.

Also, your website is in papyrus, and that ranks right above "comic sans" as most hated fonts by designers.

To add to what others have said, I don't know what you're trying to sell (photography, producing, editing, directing?), and your endplate doesn't clear it up for me. Something as simple as: "parallel seventeen", with "total video solutions" below it would help.

A study that I have neither the time nor inclination to look up right now showed that the failure rate of small business was double if the business didn't have what they did in their name. I.e. "Loverboy Tom's" was twice as likely to fail as "Tom's Fine Desserts".

Good reel. Make it shorter, speed it up. Can't wait to see more work.
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Old October 30th, 2008, 09:45 PM   #6
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I liked the most of shots, especially the boxer.
One question, though. Was the woman a bride? If so, she didn't look like she was excited nor happy. If you want to show your demo to soon-to-be brides, you may want to pick a bride with some smile or excitement on their face.
First two rack focus looked too similar, too. Back to back, similar angel, similar preps, similar techniques. If you want your demo to be short and sweet, I think you may need more variety of shots.
I can't shoot better than you, but here is my 2 cents, man.
Good work.

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Old November 1st, 2008, 08:47 AM   #7
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Thank you all so much for the feedback! You have no idea how much this helps me out.

Mike: Thank you for the kind words. Your critique is awesome! I think that you hit the nail right on the head. There is a ton of useful info in there and I agree that I need to throw in some quicker cuts. Adding the sound of the knife sharpening cut to the music is gold. I am definitely going to do that. The logo at the end isn't mine, Parallel Seventeen is a restaurant here in Denver that I have done some commercials for. I threw the logo in there to show off my graphics capabilities, but I really don't think that I accomplished that. I was affraid that people would think that the end logo was associated with my company. I am going to change this out with my "RPM Productions" logo (no papyrus font either).

J.J.: The woman is not a bride. The shots of the woman were taken from a piece in which she was having troubles overcoming her insecurities. Perhaps I need to work a little harder in making that point clear without extending the length of the demo. I think that I will throw in some more shots of that piece that are cut quicker to the music. I am also going to change out the first rack focus for another. I ralize now that I do have much better work than that.

I am pleased that everyone likes the shots of the fighter. This is one of my favorite pieces that I have done. I am going to take Mike's advice and cut it a little quicker though.

Thanks again so much for your feedback! I will post another cut after I get a chance to work on it some more.

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Old November 6th, 2008, 05:39 PM   #8
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Not sure what it was about, but I liked it. What gear are you using?
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Old November 6th, 2008, 07:47 PM   #9
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I think you should change the music. By the way, who was pushing the dolly? haha.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 03:31 PM   #10
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Where did you get the music?

Also nice demo... a little natural sound would be nice... and, by the way, what is you equipment setup?
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Old November 10th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #11
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Dutch: Nice catch on the dolly shot! Most people don't notice that one. The guy pushing the dolly was some goofy lookin punk that I met at the Art Institute. I forget his name, I think it's something like Duck Glimpson or something. Whatever his name is, I've worked with him a few times now and the kid is one hell of a shooter himself. I mean rock solid! I wish I could remember his name though, cause he rocks and I love working with him.

Gear: 2 Canon XL2s, 1 HV20, Bogen 351MVBK2 sticks with 503 head, 3 650W Britek spots, 2 1k PBL fills, 300W Britek spot, Sennheiser Evolution wireless kit, Rhode NTG-2 short shotgun, collapsable green screen and all the other necessities.

It's amazing the DOF that you can pull off with the 20x on that Canon. I don't actually own a 35mm adapter, but I do have my eye on the Brevis.

Thanks again for all the comments! Just one more question though, I've been getting some mixed reviews on the music. Can I get a tally on votes for and against? The music is from a digital juice collection by the way.
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