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Old April 23rd, 2011, 12:15 PM   #1
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The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

For Independent Free-lance DP/Camera Ops. Not owners of Production Companies that work as DP/Cam Ops:

obviously, having a your own website is an important element in the professional process. but, if you're like me, just starting out, websites may not be an option initially. i'm in the process of making one, but since i don't have the necessary founds to pay a professional web designer, i'm needing to be patient while a friend builds it for me on "his own time". so, i'm just curious to see how "important" it REALLY is to have a website showcasing your work versus displaying it on Vimeo, Exposure Room, or even YouTube as i do now. (I mostly forward potential clients to my Vimeo or Exposure Room page. NEVER YouTube.) i mean if your reel is amateurish or unpolished, (your work obviously shows that there was NO BUDGET and you had to use every resource imaginable just to make it somewhat watchable), then does it really matter if you have a fancy looking, "professionally" designed website? personally, i'm extremely, how would you say, "un-superficial". so, i could care less how one's website looked as long as their reel/work impressed me. if i was directing or producing a project i definitely wouldn't give a sh*t how a DP/Camera Op's website looked. i would ONLY care about the quality of their work. with that said, i've been wondering if i should budget in the founds to have a website built immediately or just go with my gut, personal feeling towards this matter, and let Producers/Directors, of Low-NO Budget projects anyways, view my work elsewhere until i can find the money to make a proper website. not just a URL with movie images to look at. i mean a polished, PROPER website.

what do you suggest?

fyi: i pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. like most americans these days, and maybe even the rest of the world, money is tight.

thanks in advance,
Mike
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

It's a good and relevant question.

I think we are all wondering what all of these things mean in today's world--and how long "today" will last before it becomes dated.

Reels themselves have changed in structure in the past few years. DP reels changed little over the years, being a self-contained piece that one watched from beginning to end. When we switched delivery of same from tape to DVD a few years back, it opened up the possibility of creating chapters or additional clips that the viewer could select. That was short-lived, as the web became the favorite place to watch reels. As I head towards a complete revamp of mine, I've been talking to other DP's and consulting with agent on how to proceed.

What seems to have emerged is that the structure is now moving towards clip-based browsing, with individual projects in each clip, rather than an extended montage. Obviously for this you need a decent website. I hear your pain on web designers "getting around to it"...I've been waiting on one myself. I've had an iWeb site up for years now that I'm not in love with but it gets the job done (see my signature link) and I like that I can make changes of any kind myself. In my mind it is just borderline acceptable for the level of work that I am doing, I'd like something a little more slick but in the meantime I just keep it plain and easy to navigate (I hate sites that are too clever for their own good).

Regarding the Vimeo only presence--I think if you are going after no/low budget work, it's probably good enough for the time being, although having at least a single page site with your contact info, imbedded reel and link to resume/IMDB is important so they can find you. I directed something recently and was looking at a number of DP's, some by referral, and if I couldn't find at least the above, I felt they weren't serious enough about what they were doing for me to consider them.

The way I see it is that as you said, we work extremely hard to make material shot on little to no money looks as good as possible, so it stands to reason that we should make our entire presentation of ourselves follow suit. I will say that when I see a really fancy site for someone who is obviously still somewhat in the early stages of their career (like a DP reel that intercuts between maybe four or five projects, because that's all they've shot), it feels a little unbalanced, like they have too much time on their hands to play around in Dreamweaver.

So bottom line: if someone is passed your name, you want them to be able to plug it into Google and find you quickly. They want to know what you've done (resume/IMDB) and what your footage looks like. After that, things like bios and news are good to indicate your background and what you've been doing lately but not that critical--more like fleshing you out if you are already a strong contender for the gig.

As I said at the beginning of this post, things are changing. Thanks to guys like Phil Bloom and my pals Vincent Laforet and Shane Hurlbut, the era of the "internet rockstar" DP has emerged and now there is a movement towards promoting oneself in a way that used to be reserved for above-the-line talent. Not sure where all of that is going but it's worth a mention.

Thanks for reminding me that I need to revamp my site and reel--the latter in particular is now four years old and it's about to change 100% (do I really still have a separate "digital cinematography" and "mini-dv" section? embarrassing). My plan is to break it completely apart into clips, some of which will have to be re-engineered, and have a simple 60 second montage of the hottest images as an introduction.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 06:26 PM   #3
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Regarding the Vimeo only presence--I think if you are going after no/low budget work, it's probably good enough for the time being, although having at least a single page site with your contact info, imbedded reel and link to resume/IMDB is important so they can find you. I directed something recently and was looking at a number of DP's, some by referral, and if I couldn't find at least the above, I felt they weren't serious enough about what they were doing for me to consider them.
thanks for the tip. i really appreciate your suggestion/s.

i also agree with individual clip based browsing or better yet reels/links designed for a specific project. its more direct to the point of what your client needs. i mean, why would one want to show a Producer/Director their reel which contains 3-4 minutes of, lets say, Horror and Sci-Fi work when they're looking to hire you to shoot a comedy.

I got started in this business working at a commercial production company. i was in charge of putting together a specific, handed picked by the Executive Producer and Sales Agents, reel of our Director's work to be viewed by the Ad Agency who we were bidding on a job for. it wasn't a montage at all, yet a nice collection of 7-10 spots put together specifically for the commercial in mind my company was trying to get.

how great would that be if a Producer/Director asks you for a website/link and you tell them, "i'll have one emailed to you within the hour/day". During your discussion you find out what the project is about. you get on your cpu/phone and start building a specific reel, which will showcase some of the work that you've already done, that will help them decide on whether or not you are the right fit for their needs.

so, i definitely agree with "individual file based browsing". i don't necessary think it'll be a good idea to have a complete feature film as a single 90+ minute clip. in this case a 3-4 minute montage of that film would be wise. Charles, I'm so glad you think this is the wave of the future. I hope you're right. I was really starting to fret about having to make the "ultimate, super hip pop-song overdubbed montage". its one thing to worry about how you want your work to be cut together, let alone having to choose which song to accompany it.

here's to the future!!!!

cheers!
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Old April 27th, 2011, 01:41 AM   #4
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Hi Michael — you can create a good looking website on your own with minimal outside help. Creating a site using a CMS such as Wordpress is extremely popular, and doesn't require any HTML coding skills. You use a template and away you go. You can then go back and add content, a blog, photo galleries, video player, whatever you want. It doesn't have to be expensive (I hear you, re: cash flow) -- There are tutorials on Youtube, books in the library. I'm re-doing mine using another CMS called Joomla. The software is free, open source . . . your hosting will be cheap, probably $5 a month or less.
You can post your videos on YouTube (or Vimeo) and then embed them on your site using the provided embed code.
Good luck!
WordPress › Blog Tool and Publishing Platform
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Old April 27th, 2011, 11:12 PM   #5
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Hey Keith,
Thanks a lot. that's very cool of you.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 12:21 AM   #6
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Michael, I run WordPress and connect all videos from vimeo. Works great. Easy to catch up and plenty themes to choose from. Here is the link Treeam production
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Old April 29th, 2011, 11:55 PM   #7
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael B. McGee View Post
For Independent Free-lance DP/Camera Ops. Not owners of Production Companies that work as DP/Cam Ops:

... let Producers/Directors, of Low-NO Budget projects anyways, view my work elsewhere until i can find the money to make a proper website. not just a URL with movie images to look at. i mean a polished, PROPER website.

what do you suggest?

fyi: i pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. like most americans these days, and maybe even the rest of the world, money is tight.
I suggest you display your showreel on vimeo, youtube, etc. and give both SD and HD options, and link to them whenever necessary. You need Youtube for its search engine power.

Ever seen Roger Deakins' website design? If somebody asks you why you don't have a website, just tell them you're too busy shooting. All the best.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #8
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Already showing reel on Vimeo, YT, and ER.

Love the answer to why my website isn't up yet. "too busy shooting". i'm definitely gonna use that one.

thanks a lot,
Mike
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Old May 1st, 2011, 05:09 PM   #9
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Hi:

I did my website from the ground up, coding html, css, as well as programming in perl and php. If your needs are creating 3-4 web pages, say one main page and 3 subpages then you really need only basic html to do it, it's very easy to embed videos in the html code, both vimeo and youtube provide html code you can just copy and paste in. If you're not into learning basic html, explain your friend helping you, that this is all you want to start with. He should be able to do that in a day or less for a simple design.

However, whether you wait to pay a profesional or have friends help you, don't fall into the all too common error and focus all the attention on design: It's the content that matters, and you really must think this through before you ask anyone to help you.

And, don't let the web designer/programmer get away with programming your site in flash ... flash is not indexed by the search engines, only the html coded text elements. So an all flash site might look nice, but no one will find it.

BR, Erik
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Old May 1st, 2011, 08:34 PM   #10
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
... If somebody asks you why you don't have a website, just tell them you're too busy shooting.
I would not hire someone who is so flip as to say that and so naive as to think I'd believe him or her. I think lying is the wrong way to start a business relationship. If you don't think having a site is important enough to make it happen, then why cover it up? That's for wall-streeters. Be real. The type of people you want to hire you will respect honesty and authenticity...in my opinion anyway, YMMV.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 10:26 PM   #11
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

I wasn't asking anybody to lie...make it real and make it happen. There are a lot of successful professionals with websites, and equally (if not more) many professionals without them. It is not a prerequisite.

I have hired many DPs over the last nine years, never ever have I looked at somebody's website. After all, I know that a DP who makes a cool looking website might be just 'flip' and I'm not 'so naive' as to believe his or his friend's web designing skills have any bearing on his ability to use a camera. Nor am I so naive as to care about what he has written about in his 'About me' section, or his blog of gear reviews.

The three most important things I look for are:

1. Showreel (I also look at how well he has put it together, and whether he has coded it properly)
2. Attitude (through a personal meeting)
3. References (if I am in doubt)

Not wishing to be argumentative. What I've recommended is based on my experience. I equally respect the other point of view. Like I said, if you can afford it, keep a website. It doesn't hurt.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 11:46 PM   #12
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Norgaard View Post
Hi:

And, don't let the web designer/programmer get away with programming your site in flash ... flash is not indexed by the search engines, only the html coded text elements.
While I agree that a site should not be 100% in flash, Google and other search engines have been indexing flash content for some time (several years.) However, all flash content is treated as plain text, so the search engine rankings are typically quite low.

Here's a random example of search results returning a flash site: Google
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 12:39 PM   #13
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

A couple of thoughts (as a 'sort of' freelance who also books freelancers):

Whilst I'll second the vote for a WordPress.com account or similar, I personally like to see some sort of CV. Even a reasonably full profile on LinkedIn could do for some folks - just enough to convince them you're real and have friends (not talking Facebook, though). A link to a reel on Vimeo, YT or whatever would be obligatory - even if it's only the equivalent of a graphic designer's 'sketchbook' portfolio.

I'd also recommend owning a domain name which you can move its pointer from source to source, so it's not tied to a particular host or web design company. Then stick to that brand.

Specifically thinking about reels, I think we're all pretty much on the same track: short, compartmentalised, definitely a 'grocer's window' - not looking for oranges? Here's some lovely apples. Even a kiwi fruit. No bicycles or bidets (you can't specialise in everything).

But what I am seeing (says he, with a senescent reel too) is the rise of the 'sizzle' reel. Hot shots. Just like a sausage - pretty much nutrition free, but exciting biting. That would be one little 30 second blipvert, and from then on, one picks at a play list full of video canapes.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #14
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Kinda piggy-backing on the online reels. My question:

I am a freelance videographer AND a filmmaker (when the time and money are right)
Should I have two separate place to show my freelance/event work and film work?
or would my personal site be good enough to house both?
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Old May 4th, 2011, 11:04 PM   #15
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Re: The Real Importance on Displaying Your Reel/Work: YouTube & Vimeo versus website

Alden...keep it separate if possible.
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