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Promo reel made using various cameras that all cost under $700 (shots tagged)


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This is a promotional reel I've just made for the small videography business I'm currently setting up (one-man-band doing local community organisations, weddings etc). Everything in it was shot on low

Looks pretty cool Matt ,first run through I felt it would be more effective editing it down to perhaps three minutes Glad that you are open to doing community shoots ,they are a great way to extend y

I was wondering why some of those shots looked so muddy. Turns out they were done with a Canon rebel :)

I agree with Inazuma. In a showreel focusing on your artistic viewpoint, people will forgive things like the shot of the lanterns on the water made with your first camcorder - it is a good shot, with good subject matter captured well, but in a showreel for videography a lot of your potential clients won't pick up that it was shot with an ancient camera and will be worried there's a risk you'll turn in footage like that. So I'd keep to technically great, slick looking footage in a promotional reel. 

 

I'd definitely hire you - but I'm worried my tastes don't line up with the masses on matters of cinema and video  ;)

 

Do you have any interest in narrative stuff? I think with this video, you won't have trouble getting some volunteer actors to work with you if you ever want to do a small short. You have a great eye and establish a very striking atmosphere. 

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                          It's Grim Up North

cinevate_logo_gold.jpg

 

The grade was perhaps a little too dark, would like to see it without the lag I get watching vimeo, on my crappy web computer, I'm sure theres some nice stuff in there just cant appreciate it as it should be seen. If I slit my wrists tonight, don't worry your video wasn't the tipping point. :)

spacerM.gifspacerM.gif

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Yep pretty much nailed it. I might suggest having two reels. One promoting your artsy personality and projects. The other promoting yourself as a videography business, satisfying that need to excite people to work with you.

 

This isn't a bad idea actually. I will definitely have to consider this too.

 

BTW I got some criticism on another forum for the animated logo at the start. To tell the truth I don't know why I animated it - I just thought it would make my reel look more pro I think. But I know nothing about motion graphics etc and this was my first ever stab at it, so for all I know it really could be awful and I'm not seeing it! You're up on that stuff aren't you Seb? Is it a bit naff? Maybe I should just go with a still version of it ...

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I agree with Inazuma. In a showreel focusing on your artistic viewpoint, people will forgive things like the shot of the lanterns on the water made with your first camcorder - it is a good shot, with good subject matter captured well, but in a showreel for videography a lot of your potential clients won't pick up that it was shot with an ancient camera and will be worried there's a risk you'll turn in footage like that. So I'd keep to technically great, slick looking footage in a promotional reel. 

 

I'd definitely hire you - but I'm worried my tastes don't line up with the masses on matters of cinema and video  ;)

 

Do you have any interest in narrative stuff? I think with this video, you won't have trouble getting some volunteer actors to work with you if you ever want to do a small short. You have a great eye and establish a very striking atmosphere. 

 

These are also very good points. Thank you.  :)

 

My main interest is on the documentary side of things, but like any filmmaker I occasionally daydream about doing a narrative piece. I'd love to. But time, money, people, life, ideas ... you know ... life is short and very full. Maybe one day ...

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That is some spectacular footage. When I first watched it, I was only interested in looking at the difference between the cameras, but I didn't even notice the first one, I was that captivated by what I was watching, no exaggeration!!! It is very obvious to me that you have a great eye and I really wish I could tag along with you to watch you shoot, just to see how you pick your shots. I think the one that impressed me the most was towards the beginning of the reel, the shot of a train in an urban setting (London?) travelling over a bridge, bathed in an amber light (morning?). It is the type of establishing shot that I see made so mundane and dull at every level of the profession, yet you took a really complex scene and made it look, as others have said, like a living painting. Absolutely brilliant.

 

I don't think the reel is too long, but I have to agree, the tone is downbeat, which may not sell you to every potential customer. There are just a few things I personally would include, that for better or worse seem to be popular with clients - shots of really nice looking gear being used, a few really crisp "HD ad" sharp images - remember how they advertised HD TV's on an SD screen, just a few like that, bright colours too. Lastly, I would include a shot that I refer to as the breath-taker - a shot which people (and remember the public have a vastly inflated sense of their ability behind a camera) do not feel that they could replicate, even if they knew how it was done. Doesn't matter if it's a trick and in fact it's the easiest shot in the reel, and it often is! But don't think that I'm suggesting you add all that to this reel, make several so you can choose which one to show which potential client. This one I think will sell you very well to very many people, especially to people who are perhaps in the industry already and looking to hire someone on a project because they will really understand what you've achieved here!

 

Also, because I believe you want some constructive criticism (if not, ignore this paragraph) - I found the intake of breath as the very first person to talk fades in a bit jarring and could be feathered a little more. 

 

So apart from that tiny nit-pick, I think this is amazing! 

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I didnt turn on the CC, so couldnt tell which was which, I wanted to see what was done with the tokina, as that was my choice before the Canon, 2.5D animated logo needs to remain as a still, until you can snazzy it up a little more, the Box inside the Hex/Octagon Looks a little strange, perhaps only because of the Cinivate Logo I've been playing with Hexagons  and Octogons quite a bit myself, ideally try to create an altered version of the Iris shapes to make it your own.

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Matt, I've been trying to do the exact same thing as you & its really tough to get it right. 

My problem is that I've got less footage that I'm willing to use than you.

The only advice that I can see being helpful is that you need a bit of everything without repeating yourself too much and break things up a bit. So for instance you've got numerous groupings of shots from the same pieces - make a decision about which bits you really think show off that piece. And lastly, the most difficult thing, try to link the different shots up so it flows as a cohesive whole - at the moment it feels a bit random in places.

Oh yeah, be ruthless with your choices - if its an ok shot, or its the same as something else or doesn't fit, cut it!

 

And the title is fine, keep it.

 

Forgot to say that I liked the B&W boats shot, just put a bit of grain on it to give it an old film like feel - you could fade out & have that as the ending...

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Feedback / quick summary of thoughts:
 
- The only colors that stood out from the reel that I'd improve would be the man's face at around 00:57. The face comes out as a bit too reddish in my opinion.
- The logo animation: 1) I find the motion of it doesn't fit with the motion / fades of the rest. 2) Even if it matched the motion / fading / animation of the rest, I doubt it would add to the reel. I think an approach that doesn't distract people from the footage itself is better.
- I'm a fan of minimalism and functionalism, so in a reel I find it most important that the footage itself stands out, and I find it does in your reel. Good colors, lovely compositions. The reel doesn't get tedious: it's interesting to look at. I find the minimalistic white text and the way it is used together with the footage a good mix. It adds a bit to the story, but doesn't distract the shots.
- One thing I'm not sure about: the people speaking in the reel. I don't know if I'd keep it or remove it. It somehow brings me out of the mood of the rest of the reel. Suddenly it's like I'm watching a short film / doc out of the blue in a reel. I suggest testing it with just music and no voice audio and see what you think yourself is better.
 
 
So as a summary, the reel I'd pretty much keep it as-is: I'd make my stance on the voice audio, as well as see what I can do to have the logo cleanly presented without having it distract from the footage, and I'd try to see if something can be done to the skin color of the man.
  

 

Good thought about flagging what it is more clearly. I have wondered about this, and I need to make similar decisions about my website. But short of writing "I'll do weddings, real estate, bah mitzvahs ... anything really as long as you pay me" I can't seem to find a way of making it work. I'll give it a bit more thought.

 

Website: You are not selling the service of filming at events, you are not selling a 5 minute reel. You are selling the vision/idea to you possible clients of what you can provide to them = their emotions, their visions in their thoughts - what they believe that Matt can do for them. Keep that thought in your head at all times for a company site.

 

If you keep it minimalistic and can manage to sell the feeling correctly in 5 seconds, you're half the way with your sell, people tend to be fairly convinced early on at a site (or early doubtful, first impressions matter). I can imagine a moody photo from behind the scenes at a wedding, as something that could be a great introduction, together with a bit of text and a shorter reel in a happier mood. Remember for such a trailer: you are selling the idea/vision of what kind of film you can make for them, something that should be true to how you work and what you can produce as well as the mood that they will want to associate to their wedding/event (in general tems happy/close/emotional).

 

I've been working with web design and print for a long time now, was in advertising for a while before I headed back out to IT (where I still do some advertising, although more honest such :)).

I just can't stress enough how the best tip I can give about selling something is that you should never ever sell a product, you are always more effective at selling the experience/idea of what the product can do. The right photos / moody video sequences, correct music and a little bit of text will get you a long way with that. (and yes, a lot of your footage has such quality, choose the suitable footage, set it with the right music and you'll be able to affect people into the right mood).

If you don't have the perfect shot for a wedding, find something else that is emotional, that you think a person will be able to associate with the emotion they want to experience in the video they want. Or if you find you don't have anything fitting - maybe get out and shoot some event / wedding / party or something of your friends and use that. And keep in mind that you should be able to sell the idea of what you can do in 30 seconds. Great if you have a lot of longer material to watch for the people who really want to go through all of your material - but for most people, if you have picked the right things in short form, they will be enough convinced in 30-90 seconds (I wish I'd have the detailed statistics of how many people that just scroll the pages watching the photos of apple.com and how much of the text they read before committing to buy something. Those images that paint the vision of what you can do sell really well).

 

 

 

Also, I don't think it's a bad idea at all to have more than one reel on a company/portfolio site. A much shorter one with a bit different mood, as earlier suggested in the thread, is not a bad idea at all if you want to do more shoots of weddings and such. It tends to be good to cater to people who want information quickly: images, video and a little bit of text that. Then there's also the kind of customers that do spend more time, checking things out thoroughly. They are the ones that will sit through a five minute reel, while many impatient people might quit after 20 seconds if you focus on communicating via a long reel.

 

Gosh, wasn't such a short feedback as I thought I'd type. Hope this gives you a few ideas.

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And to clarify what I mean with not selling the product, but selling the experience / vision of what someone can do with it, here's a metaphore I guess will fit people of this forum:

 

This is where all the searches takes you for A7S if you google for it, scroll down to overview:

http://store.sony.com/a7s-full-frame-mirrorless-camera-zid27-ILCE7S/B/cat-27-catid-all-alpha-interchangeable

 

- basically, tech specs outlining.

 

Search for Blackmagic pocket cinema camera, and you end up here:

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicpocketcinemacamera

 

- First a mood image, some text content, then a mood image with street scene of what you could shoot, then some text content.

 

Imagine a person not knowing much about cameras, quickly scrolling through. They will surely be much more affected by the moody shots that tell about what they can do with the product, rather than the more clinical products shots and listing of specifications of the A7s, like it'd be a medical X-ray machine or such...

 

Same thing will apply to the clients you get for a wedding. Most will not have a great knowledge about cameras or how to make a good film. But they will recognize emotions / moods.

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This isn't a bad idea actually. I will definitely have to consider this too.

 

BTW I got some criticism on another forum for the animated logo at the start. To tell the truth I don't know why I animated it - I just thought it would make my reel look more pro I think. But I know nothing about motion graphics etc and this was my first ever stab at it, so for all I know it really could be awful and I'm not seeing it! You're up on that stuff aren't you Seb? Is it a bit naff? Maybe I should just go with a still version of it ...

The door opening within the iris is a good idea, just not executed very well :p So yeah probably best to keep it static and think of a more impressive way to animate it later. I would also make it black and white or coloured rather than just grey. Logos are a hard thing to get right, I hate doing them.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I just noticed Lintell Films namr, if this is a reel for a commercial production company and you want to actually start getting into the business of video-making, then the reel needs some changes.

Clients who watch your reel will not hire you unless they want to shoot things like a city, a house, or a very highly artistic short or so. But most of the real-world clients will want to shoot weddings, commercials for businesses, narrative pieces, birthday parties and event, documentaries, most of these clients will not understand the excellent composition here and don't particularly get impressed by such a reel. So, my humble advice is, if you want an client-making reel, include shots of beautiful wedding moments, a few shots of narrative dialogue of actors, a few shots of product showing, a cool party, an event of some sort, The kind of shots that would make clients go "yes that's what I want!''. If you still haven't shot any of these then go out and shoot them even for free for friends just for your reel, and given your skill I am sure it will not be hard for you to make beautiful images in any of these types of jobs.

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That is some spectacular footage. When I first watched it, I was only interested in looking at the difference between the cameras, but I didn't even notice the first one, I was that captivated by what I was watching, no exaggeration!!! It is very obvious to me that you have a great eye and I really wish I could tag along with you to watch you shoot, just to see how you pick your shots. I think the one that impressed me the most was towards the beginning of the reel, the shot of a train in an urban setting (London?) travelling over a bridge, bathed in an amber light (morning?). It is the type of establishing shot that I see made so mundane and dull at every level of the profession, yet you took a really complex scene and made it look, as others have said, like a living painting. Absolutely brilliant.

 

I don't think the reel is too long, but I have to agree, the tone is downbeat, which may not sell you to every potential customer. There are just a few things I personally would include, that for better or worse seem to be popular with clients - shots of really nice looking gear being used, a few really crisp "HD ad" sharp images - remember how they advertised HD TV's on an SD screen, just a few like that, bright colours too. Lastly, I would include a shot that I refer to as the breath-taker - a shot which people (and remember the public have a vastly inflated sense of their ability behind a camera) do not feel that they could replicate, even if they knew how it was done. Doesn't matter if it's a trick and in fact it's the easiest shot in the reel, and it often is! But don't think that I'm suggesting you add all that to this reel, make several so you can choose which one to show which potential client. This one I think will sell you very well to very many people, especially to people who are perhaps in the industry already and looking to hire someone on a project because they will really understand what you've achieved here!

 

Also, because I believe you want some constructive criticism (if not, ignore this paragraph) - I found the intake of breath as the very first person to talk fades in a bit jarring and could be feathered a little more. 

 

So apart from that tiny nit-pick, I think this is amazing! 

 

Thanks very much Will! Very flattering praise! Your idea about including some shots of my kit is interesting. I'll have to consider if there is a way I can do that that will work. The decision whether to include 'fancy' shots is complicated for me, because although I want to earn money and stay away from pretentious arty stuff, I also don't want to flag myself up as too commercial. There are already people in my area with C100's shooting bland corporate videos and schmaltzy wedding stuff. I can't compete with them because I don't have the background or the gear, and I don't really want to. I'm hoping it will be possible to get work offering something a bit different - something more lasting, truthful and personal. Whether I can actually make any money doing that is a different matter altogether!

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Matt, I've been trying to do the exact same thing as you & its really tough to get it right. 

My problem is that I've got less footage that I'm willing to use than you.

The only advice that I can see being helpful is that you need a bit of everything without repeating yourself too much and break things up a bit. So for instance you've got numerous groupings of shots from the same pieces - make a decision about which bits you really think show off that piece. And lastly, the most difficult thing, try to link the different shots up so it flows as a cohesive whole - at the moment it feels a bit random in places.

Oh yeah, be ruthless with your choices - if its an ok shot, or its the same as something else or doesn't fit, cut it!

 

And the title is fine, keep it.

 

Forgot to say that I liked the B&W boats shot, just put a bit of grain on it to give it an old film like feel - you could fade out & have that as the ending...

Thanks man, good advice. It pretty much sums up what most people seem to be saying. 

 

Good luck with yours, and don't be too coy to post it here to get feedback! It's tough to hear people pull apart something you've worked on so much, but it sure is necessary!

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Thanks very much Will! Very flattering praise! Your idea about including some shots of my kit is interesting. I'll have to consider if there is a way I can do that that will work. The decision whether to include 'fancy' shots is complicated for me, because although I want to earn money and stay away from pretentious arty stuff, I also don't want to flag myself up as too commercial. There are already people in my area with C100's shooting bland corporate videos and schmaltzy wedding stuff. I can't compete with them because I don't have the background or the gear, and I don't really want to. I'm hoping it will be possible to get work offering something a bit different - something more lasting, truthful and personal. Whether I can actually make any money doing that is a different matter altogether!

 

Just to go into the showing the kit in the reel idea - I'm not suggesting that it's the gear itself that will sell showing a tripod with a camera on it isn't what I mean - it's showing people a behind the scenes glimpse of the camera being used, showing you working the camera on the tripod instead. I believe that they are interested in that, the actual process that they are paying for. I appreciate it is difficult to get a truly candid depiction of this, especially to your standard, but it's not dishonest to get candid shots of an actor using your gear (your wife for example).

 

Regarding the "fancy shot" - it doesn't really have to be actually fancy, but, well I guess a parlour trick, something that someone who didn't have the specific knowledge of how to achieve it wouldn't be able to figure it out - recently we've had shift-tilt "miniatures", drones impossibly and dangerously close to their subject (long lens), high speed car chases that rarely exceed 10mph, super slomo, hyperlapse, etc etc. Just a really well pulled focus does the trick too! Back in the day, I used to replicate crane shots with the tripod trick, before every daytime tv show used them to excess.

 

Just some food for thought really, if it feels wrong, then absolutely go with your gut!

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And to clarify what I mean with not selling the product, but selling the experience / vision of what someone can do with it, here's a metaphore I guess will fit people of this forum:

 

This is where all the searches takes you for A7S if you google for it, scroll down to overview:

http://store.sony.com/a7s-full-frame-mirrorless-camera-zid27-ILCE7S/B/cat-27-catid-all-alpha-interchangeable

 

- basically, tech specs outlining.

 

Search for Blackmagic pocket cinema camera, and you end up here:

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicpocketcinemacamera

 

- First a mood image, some text content, then a mood image with street scene of what you could shoot, then some text content.

 

Imagine a person not knowing much about cameras, quickly scrolling through. They will surely be much more affected by the moody shots that tell about what they can do with the product, rather than the more clinical products shots and listing of specifications of the A7s, like it'd be a medical X-ray machine or such...

 

Same thing will apply to the clients you get for a wedding. Most will not have a great knowledge about cameras or how to make a good film. But they will recognize emotions / moods.

 

Thanks very much Johan, for your very in-depth feedback! I have found it very useful. I think perhaps you have understood what I was trying to do with this reel better than some, and possibly more than I have! Not that I was necessarily right to go down that path. As you say, I want to show people what I have to offer them, not necessarily list my aptitudes for the role of "videographer". But as I've said above, this may be too idealistic/naive, and I won't make any money from it. But I have to start somewhere. As I get more work I will add more stuff to the reel that will hopefully be more appropriate. 

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Thanks man, good advice. It pretty much sums up what most people seem to be saying. 

 

Good luck with yours, and don't be too coy to post it here to get feedback! It's tough to hear people pull apart something you've worked on so much, but it sure is necessary!

No probs man.

Really liked the comments by dahlfors - clients don't need tech specs in a showreel. When they contact you, that's when you give them options about different cameras - the better the camera, the more you charge.

 

One thought that I did have, was to sell yourself & the experience of working with you in the showreel. There was an article, which i read recently, that gave the case of someone who actually appeared in their own showreel to give it that personal touch & in so doing was able to connect better with her perspective clients. On the flip side she was an attractive girl trying to get started in a mostly male dominated industry - use your weapons wisely!

 

So what I think i'm saying is add some of your own personality into it - speak & engage with your prospective your clients (you don't have to actually physically be present).

For example & considering that you've used words in your piece:

"When I look at things, it illuminates a passion inside of me" - show the shot of those illuminated dresses.

"So let me take your on a ride" - the lift going up or train shot.

"And show you the beauty that exists in the mundane" - that golden street shot.

 

Obviously you choose your own words or famous quotes (and less tacky).

Make them feel they know you before they meet you & that they are in a safe pair of hands - you've definately got the shots to make something really good.

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