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Old October 6th, 2006, 03:03 PM   #1
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Please tell me, do I suck? ;-p

Honestly, I need some candid, constructive criticism (and yes, I do have a thing for alliteration).

I've been taking that leap of faith and trying to get into doing videography and/or editing as a regular gig, not just brief on the side gigs as I have had. (This is partly due to losing my day gig as a web developer... sometimes you need a push, eh?)

So, or the past four weeks I have been responding to advert after advert on craigslist for people in need of videographers and Final Cut Pro editors. I send them a response with a little bit about myself as well as a link to my demo reels:

http://arzher.com/videography/video-demo.php

On average, I have sent out probably two responses a day for the past 28 days... yet I have only received perhaps three or four responses! And these are just responses confirming they have received my email and will be reviewing my reels. Only one has actually turned into a gig.

While I know I am a rookie in the field, I do feel that I am pretty good for a rookie. But, perhaps I am wrong! Am I over confident about my skills with a camera and FCP? I would really like to hear from my peers... my confidence is taking a bit of a bruising (probably good for thickening the skin, but after a while it's just depressing).
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Old October 6th, 2006, 03:49 PM   #2
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Your shots seam to be way to far away, and I did not see much editing of the ones I saw, some of them did not work, but the ones that did were very basic cross disolves. put something on tehre a little more impressive and you might get more jobs.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 05:44 PM   #3
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From what I saw some of them looked pretty good. Opening credits and such looked nice as well.

Good work.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #4
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Stay away from using templates for your titles also instead of having 5 okay videos for people to watch make one really good one thats exciting by putting together the best of what you have out of the five videos. :) hope this helps
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Old October 6th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #5
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How much truth do you want?
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Old October 6th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #6
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Mike,
If, as a rookie, you've already gotten another gig from marketing yourself on Craig's List, I think you have reason to feel encouraged. Building a client list is slow for beginners and isn't that easy for really experienced people.

The easiest thing to point out is that you don't yet have enough variety for your reel, but that will come one job at a time as well as your experience.

Don't worry what anyone tells you. If you believe in yourself and people are willing to hire you, you're in the game.
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Old October 7th, 2006, 12:07 PM   #7
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No offense, but the fact that you have 5 separate Quicktime files automatically loading on that page is enough to make me quickly close the page without viewing a single one.

I know that's a web design complaint and not related to your videography abilities, but it's fairly important. While many people have broadband internet access nowadays, it's not very considerate of your potential clients to have that many simultaneous downloads at once.

Give individual links to each video instead. I think visitors to your site will appreciate that more.
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Old October 8th, 2006, 09:57 PM   #8
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The only reel worthly video is on there is there is the "Misc" video. All the dancing stuff was shot from too far in a tripod mounted "set it and forget it". It's nothing anyone else can't do.
Also as mentioned, there's too many vidoes trying to load on that page. I have what I would consider a "smoking fast" broadband connection. And even it took a little long for them to all load. That page is useless to anyone with dial up.

That's just my opinion.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 03:12 AM   #9
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To say you 'suck' (using your own words) may be a bit strong.
It's pretty good but there is room for improvement.

By the audience reaction, sounds like you were at a live performance. To try and shoot something like this with less than five cameras is pretty hard.

Stage show and television require different lighting techniques so lighting was working against you.

Also you need a camera on stage doing a follow shot would be neat. Always tricky during a live show, but perhaps could have been done at the last dress rehearsal and cut in.

I agree with Louis. Far too much shot on a wide. This should have been your safe fallback shot. You need to work the shots more. Zoom in and off the shoulder. Do some shots pulling over the shoulder and try panning and zooming more. Close ups of hands, feet and swirling costume.

I wouldn't attempt shooting an event like this at a live gig with under five cameras, plus time spent at rehearsals letting the cameras rehearse and getting cutaway shots.

....and yes! I'm on broadband. It was a slow download.

Don't dispair. You're doing well. Keep at it.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 09:50 AM   #10
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Okay, here's my two cents: I agree with Louis Maddalena, most of your shots are too far away and make it hard to involve the viewer. I have to agree with other peoples crits here as well, Too many videos open at once, which take too long to open, and are distracting. Not to mention, more than one are showing the same dancing woman on stage, which makes one wonder why there is more than one video of the same subject.
I honestly couldn't say how good of an editor you are from what I saw, because there is very little editing demonstrated on these samples, but the long shots don't help your reel at all.
Perhaps, if you had just one or two good reels with some varying angle shots and quick cuts to the beat of some upbeat music, and had some nice smooth and interesting transitions from one subject to the next, you might showcase your editing talent more effectively. I hope that helps.
And, don't get discouraged, we all have room for improvement - knowing that is half the battle.
Keep pluggin.'
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Old October 9th, 2006, 05:04 PM   #11
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Mike, I'd say just make one demo reel that high-lights all your work. Don't worry about slating or explaining the shots, just give us a "highlight" reel that makes us go "wow, there was some cool stuff going on there".
Keep in mind that you're trying to enter into becoming a professional, in the sense that you're wanting to get paid to do work for people. While the shots of the trees and bird were very artistic, they may not "sell" potential clients on your capabilities as well as something that is more mainstream. A good demo reel in my opinion should be no longer than 6 minutes, and really would be better under 4 minutes. You may want to go out and do a whole bunch of shooting, just to get some good looking shots. I really agree with the previous comments that five windows to go through is too much, and locked off shots really don't sell you as a cinematographer. Try going to other peoples websites, find some demo reels you like, and then emulate them.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 04:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Britt
No offense, but the fact that you have 5 separate Quicktime files automatically loading on that page is enough to make me quickly close the page without viewing a single one.
Which is what I had to do. As a web designer how could you be so *squints eyes* blind to this, it's your hard work and I'd still like to watch them but I'm too busy now filing my nails.

Though I did find it easier to view the videos by visiting the 'index of / video' of your site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Britt
Give individual links to each video instead. I think visitors to your site will appreciate that more.
It's been four days now, chop chop. Almost five, gasp!

This would explain why you have had so few replies from craigslist and by the fact that these clips did not represent your style and talent, on what you are clearly passionate about, shooting people and chopping them up.

Go pick a band through the internet, someone's music you enjoy and make a promo for them for free. Get some meat on your chopping board and slam that f_^_ker!

No more filming rain, dancing devotchka's are always great, so stick them in your showreel with some nice chello ooko pop-disk or bang bang grr grr grr, like off your showreel itties real drat bezoomy, but for now until the new year make a promo or two and remove those copy-write logos written all over your films, get them watermarked instead. If you don't use Photoshop then try the free alternative Gimp, using one of it's many plugins. Reduce your mov, mp4 file sizes or at least let people know what's about to hit them by setting up the necessary link info.

It's time to buy some blank video nasty and knifehandchop real horrorshow.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 07:01 AM   #13
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go here:

http://demoreelnetwork.com

watch some of these and decide who you want to aspire to be. try to make the best *single* reel you can, and put it out there. shoot for 2-3 minutes of your best stuff and then edit it together as tightly as possible. as everyone else has said, you are relying too much on a bunch of accompanying words instead of letting images speak for themselves....
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Old October 10th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #14
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Thank You!

Many thanks to everyone for their frank comments. I am taking in everything everyone is saying. It's sometimes hard to be objective when you are so close to the work, so having your observations and constructive criticism is very appreciated.

I would have much prefered a multicam set-up for the dance events as well as better angles, however I was limited to one camera due to my budget being, well... nothing after buying that one GL2. And the angle... that was the venue's doing. I was hired by the event organisers, however the people who operate this venue in Philly (I will keep from naming names) had a very bad attitude towards me filming in their space, so they kept marginalising me in what I believe was a spiteful effort to sabotage my work. I was originally supposed to be set up by the soundboard and get a line from the board for the audio... by the time the event was to start, they had me up in the far left balconey... oh, and the stage lighting was terrible... constantly flooding with nothing but red. Obviously, the footage had to be colour corrected, bigtime! Moving on...
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Old October 10th, 2006, 11:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Acciavatti
I honestly couldn't say how good of an editor you are from what I saw, because there is very little editing demonstrated on these samples, but the long shots don't help your reel at all.
Perhaps, if you had just one or two good reels with some varying angle shots and quick cuts to the beat of some upbeat music, and had some nice smooth and interesting transitions from one subject to the next, you might showcase your editing talent more effectively.
I thought I was doing that with the Events Reel (http://arzher.com/video/events_reel.mov) and the EPK example (http://arzher.com/video/animus-epk.mov). Those two (along with the Misc Reel) have the most, if any, editing to them at this point. Is there anything I should have done differently with these two? Is there something my inexperienced eyes are missing?
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