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My first reel - please tell me what I'm doing wrong!

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Roger Matthews
My first reel - please tell me what I'm doing wrong!
on Apr 7, 2008 at 1:06:32 am

Hey!
Click here to watch
This is my first time doing a (cinematography) reel. I want to primarily be doing surreal/horror work, but I also include some nature/documentary work at the end.

I'm still new to the 'reel 'format, so please let me know if this is something that would help get me cinematography/camera operator work. Is the length appropriate? Are the cuts too quick? Is this a consistent body of work, or are there some weak spots?

Also - would this count as an editing reel? I'm having a hard time deciding, since I put the same amount of effort into editing this reel that I would for any editing project I have done.

Sorry for the long message, and I hope I get at least one response. I'm new, so I'm expecting to be doing things wrong and needing feedback :).

Again, here's a link to my reel.

Thanks,
Roger Matthews



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Roger Matthews
I thought this community was helpful I have gotten no help!
on Apr 8, 2008 at 3:35:57 pm

Maybe if I start complaining and increase the loading time for this I'll get more responses? :)
(Just a joke)



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Tim Kolb
Re: I thought this community was helpful I have gotten no help!
on Apr 8, 2008 at 4:12:16 pm

Maybe if you take into account that we're under a week away form the industry's largest professional tradeshow and everyone is either cramming to get work done before they leave, or preparing something for the show itself...

On the reel, I'd say all of the stuff that looks flat daylight needs to go...the guy in front of the brick building has no ratio...the stocky guy in the black T shirt in the wrecked building...several of the daylight, flat, sunlit shots can all go.

You want shots that have light AND shadow...it's what communicates depth and shape. Watch some suspense/horror films and see what the most artful, compelling shots are...often backlit...lighting is very directional...very little fill.

This isn't an editing reel as it's all discontinuous material...no sequences of shots, no obvious post work in effects or color correction.

Quick takes...I'm one that is trying to prepare for the show too and that's all I have time for...







TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

CPO, Digieffects


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Roger Matthews
Re: I thought this community was helpful I have gotten no help!
on Apr 8, 2008 at 5:01:20 pm

I apologize, I wasn't trying to criticize anyone for not responding. I was just playfully taking a poke at a previous thread.

Thank you for such thoughtful feedback - you definitely have identified most of the weaker shots in the reel I was debating on using.

I was trying to bank on the abandoned building shots just being visually interesting, but you're absolutely right that it does not excuse flat/uninteresting lighting. I'm curious to see how others respond to these scenes.

Good point on the editing reel - I'll focus on those areas.

Thanks again,
Roger Matthews



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George Burbano
Re: My first reel - please tell me what I'm doing wrong!
on Apr 9, 2008 at 12:47:11 pm

Hey Roger,

I saw your reel and I thought it was pretty good. Now Im not an expert per se' as I am relatively new to filming. But people many times take things very critical, especially for demo reels. In my opinion and it is just mine, from the look of the reel you can obviously film, and edit it, and even place music. The camera movements were appropriate for the type of subject and the color seemed to match the footage. Maybe the color could have been adjusted so that the entire reel had the same feel but that is just personal opinion.. If you ask 10 different people you are going to get 10 different answers.. Personally since it is horror type, I think instead of just music, I would have added some sound effects, especially I would have added the door closing shut.. since you ended it that way.. I liked it. But I always look for the entertainment value in films, first, since 90% of the people watching any film look at that only. Very few people want to know how it was made, what type of cameras, lighting, dolly shots, or steadicam shots were used.. People want to be entertained, they want a good story line,they want to be brought into the picture, experience it, see it, feel it, and then think about it abit.. This is entertainment, and that is what film, whether moving or stills are all about.

Just my opinion, but good luck..



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Roger Matthews
Re: My first reel - please tell me what I'm doing wrong!
on Apr 9, 2008 at 4:23:53 pm

Hi George, thanks for giving me your feedback.

I had actually considered using sound effects instead of music, but I decided against it, since I'm selling my cinematography skills (not my editing or sound design ones). This again goes into why the visuals don't match - most are noncorrected projects other people edited (which I mildly touched up for this reel), while one is a (color corrected/graded) final render of a project I made from start to finish.

I AM working on a separate color correction reel, so I'm not sure if it's appropriate to go too full force on those skills here.

Based on what I'm hearing in this thread, though, it seems that definitely some material is weaker than others. What if I just show clips from the one polished video I have? Click click to watch (it's five minutes)
It has consistent color correction, sound design, etc.



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Tim Kolb
Re: My first reel - please tell me what I'm doing wrong!
on Apr 10, 2008 at 3:02:08 am

[George Burbano] "I liked it. But I always look for the entertainment value in films, first, since 90% of the people watching any film look at that only. Very few people want to know how it was made, what type of cameras, lighting, dolly shots, or steadicam shots were used.. People want to be entertained"

Yes, but Roger isn't selling a movie to the public. he's selling his shooting skills to someone who is in charge of the project, and they ARE looking for someone who can shoot well and do all that detail work.

The rest of what you are saying may apply to someone who is making their own small festival films with a camcorder, etc (the whole "just get a good story and shoot it" mentality), but in the world of pros for hire, skill demonstrated in the context of the craft is what gets you the job.



TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

CPO, Digieffects


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Max Miller
Re: My first reel - please tell me what I'm doing wrong!
on Apr 15, 2008 at 5:28:17 pm

I assume you THINK you are doing something wrong because you are not getting any "results" from your reel. I saw your reel and its obvious, once you get past the afterthought of a title page, that you have mad skills with glass and light. I am not a horror fan AT ALL (still wet the bed when someone says the word "saw") but I was really impressed with the richness of color, the framing, the textures, the use of negative space all the different aspects I would be looking for when it came time to hire a DP. You obviously know how to corral an image into the camera. If it were my reel, I would foley in a door slam at the end but I don't think that will change your results any. I would say the weakness here is the first impression. That title page looks like you have no software or creativity. In fact, its hard to believe that the person who did that title page would even have the vision to pull off the shots on that reel. The title page, the first impression, says you didn't take this very seriously.



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Roger Matthews
Re: My first reel - please tell me what I'm doing wrong!
on Apr 16, 2008 at 4:37:04 am

Thank you, this is a very helpful post. I'm still new to the reel format, so I wasn't sure how important the title card was.

Unfortunately, I have basically ZERO experience with graphics/titles, so I was afraid to try anything fancy. Would you mind giving me an example of a really good title card? (it's hard to compete with CGI/After Effects reel title cards, where the author's strength is already in the same area)

I'd like to take a shot at creating something more eye catching/professional.



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