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Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please

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Stephen Eilers
Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 22, 2009 at 9:34:26 pm

Below is my updated demo reel thus far. I'm too close to it now to evaluate what else I should do to it. So, I'd like to get some constructive criticism.

A few notes...
- I chose the color palette of the motion graphics to match my website. I also tried to incorporate some of those design elements as well.
- I picked my examples based on what looked interesting and/or had movement in it.
- Forgive the video quality. I pulled my examples from existing low-res renders to save me some time. Once I know exactly what examples I am going to keep, then I'll go back and use my original footage. Once I use the original footage, I'll color correct and eliminate the oddly placed fades.

Thanks in advance!





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burak sahin
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 23, 2009 at 4:41:27 pm

i couldnt see video it gave me error.. anyway ty

heyy


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Stephen Eilers
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 23, 2009 at 9:54:08 pm

Hmmm... perhaps there was a network/website issue at the time of your viewing. It seems to work right now.

Thanks for checking.

Stephen Eilers
Director - Editor - Visual Effects Artist
Please comment on my reel at http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/173/857764


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Alex Hunter
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 25, 2009 at 5:54:27 pm

The motion titles are fine at the beginning. By watching your reel, I'm not sure what you are trying to get across. It just looks too random to me. Maybe you should divide into sections like directing, cinematography, editing and vfx. VFX breakdowns are good so maybe have a couple more of those. Cut down on some of the other shots like the 'path in the wood' shot. On some of the edited scenes it might be good to hear the original sound. This is just my gut reaction from watching it. Hope what I say helps.



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Stephen Eilers
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 25, 2009 at 7:17:48 pm

Thanks for your comments and gut reaction to it. I'm hoping to achieve a positive gut reaction, so it sounds like I'm getting close but I still have more work to do. :)

My model of what I was trying to achieve is along the lines of the reel that first loads at http://www.jbfilms.com/. The problem is I don't have his name recognition and my projects to pull from aren't well-known. But I do like how he keeps things moving with the cinematic music and changes in action from sequence to sequence. I do know someone who might be able to score some cinematic music for me, so that would help a little.

That's one reason I kept the original sound out. It seemed like that might conflict too much with music that plays continuously through the reel.


Stephen Eilers
Director - Editor - Visual Effects Artist
Please comment on my reel at http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/173/857764


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norm stapleton
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 29, 2009 at 12:37:30 am

i understand your effort and what you are trying to accomplish in your reel. so if you look at Jerry bruckheimer films again , his song is stronger but his editing style is much quicker also. he has a 20 sec audio clip with 26 different really quick 1 sec or less cuts. i really think you should divide your clips into sections also. honestly your reel was a bit confusing to me . in time maybe you could have separate reels for directing, cinematography, editing and vfx. i am currently trying to do that right now.

hope this helps

Norm Stapleton
http://www.VirtuosoVFX.com
VirtuosoVFX@ME.com
VirtuosoVFX@yahoo.com
(954)YES-XVFX (937-9839)


"I live in an imaginative world, and if I can dream it, I can visualize it, and there is some way I can do it, and that’s what makes me a one of a kind virtuoso. "


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 29, 2009 at 1:13:04 am

[norm stapleton] "i really think you should divide your clips into sections also. honestly your reel was a bit confusing to me."

I would agree. When I watched it I kept wondering what I was looking at and, even in a reel, there needs to be a logical storytelling flow to the reel.

For example, there is a shot where he is traveling up a winding road in the woods. There is another clip that is of a boy who looks afraid as if he is about to be kidnapped. Using your idea, Norm, he could cut back and forth between the two clips -- starting with the winding road and then cutting to the boy and then back to the next part of the wooded road, to the boy again as he grows more and more nervous, back to the road which is now even further in -- and in doing this, you build some suspense. As it is, it is just a bunch of clips that carry no emotional or graphic impact.

Not to be critical, merely to give an idea.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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Stephen Eilers
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jun 29, 2009 at 5:33:22 pm

Thanks for the comments.

If I understand the editing idea correctly, you are suggesting I cut together 2 unrelated projects so they appear related in the demo reel? I hadn't considered that since I thought it would be too misleading if someone were to go view the original projects, but I suppose that's what I have already done by stringing all these sequences together. So, I suppose the story idea could work.

One issue I had trying to select clips is how to show directing and editing in an interesting way. Visual effects are easy to show, but to me, directing and editing seem harder to convey in a demo reel without making things too long and boring. Long and boring is what I am trying to avoid. I don't think I've ever seen a directing or editing reel that interested me. Sometimes an editing reel will interest me, but that usually has lots of motion graphics or visual effects that keep things looking interesting.

Stephen Eilers
Director - Editor - Visual Effects Artist
Please comment on my reel at http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/173/857764


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David Michael
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jul 19, 2009 at 4:06:49 am

I got the impression from watching your footage that not all of it jives completely with the soundtrack you've used. Specifically, some of the scenes with the doctors seem like they are from an entirely different genre, the color correction you will do at the end I'm sure will be able to set the mood differently if need be, but of course isn't absolutely necessary. I like that first shot you've used of the kid's face and the upward track, the character's movements struck me as very odd initially and unnatural in a way, but definitely made me interested, in fact I really want to see the resolution of that shot. Perhaps you could throw this in sometime after to remind your audience where they are coming from. When you broke the post production work down later, I thought it was very good and interesting and perhaps could have come sooner, since all the shots don't necessarily feel like they have to be in this order, though I can see that many do. The breakdown was much stronger to watch than say, the man hiding the gun in his shirt. Or the woman pointing the gun toward the camera. I noticed there is a slight change in the music at that point, perhaps a more distinct musical breakdown would accompany this better and allow you to insert it earlier. There is one cut I think you could definitely make sooner. The shot of the old man with the ear piece watching the kid ought to cut to the VFX four counts earlier, it ought to hit when the treble sounds hit again after the bass breakdown. These are just my thoughts, I hope at least one of them is helpful (and probably only one is).
-David


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Stephen Eilers
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jul 20, 2009 at 5:08:59 pm

Thanks for the comments. The scenes with the doctors is from a different genre. I was trying to create a montage of different clips from my projects sort of in the way it is done at at http://www.jbfilms.com/... but I guess I am not succeeding.

I have deleted the 2 shots with the guns from my new edit of my demo reel in an effort to shorten the length.

The current music is hopefully just temporary. I know someone who may be able to score some cinematic music for the reel once I have a final edit. So I hesitate at this point to edit to the current music.


Stephen Eilers
Director - Editor - Visual Effects Artist
Please comment on my reel at http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/173/857764


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jul 20, 2009 at 5:22:36 pm

One more clue to creating a demo reel that works best: edit the video to the music, not the other way around. Take your visual queues from what you are hearing. Change the scenes at the musical punctuation and phrasing points. If the visuals are changing onscreen to the musical references, your audience will stick with you longer than they will if the music and visuals have no real connection to one another.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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Stephen Eilers
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Jul 20, 2009 at 5:28:35 pm

Thanks for the tip. I wanted to avoid too much time working on an edit that I may have to change, but editing to the temp music would probably help the viewer when I am asking for feedback.

Stephen Eilers
Director - Editor - Visual Effects Artist
Please comment on my reel at http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/173/857764


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Dave Cropper
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Aug 4, 2009 at 4:30:39 pm

Hi,

You've got some nice shots in this piece but i'm not clear about what you are presenting. It seems to me that all of the video elements are from the same project but does not communicate to me what you were trying to achieve at each point. The music distracted me a bit and i too would have preferred at least some of the audio from the scenes to help me understand the context of what I am viewing.

Finally on the opening titles the movement works for me but I would choose a different font style that's more classic but current and rearrange them throughout into sections of the piece. The spacing between the fonts could be much tighter, this would bring the typography approach in this piece closer up a notch in my view.

Hope this helps.
Dave Cropper

There is no creative revolution without the discovery of a better way!


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William Mims
Re: Demo Reel - Constructive Criticism Please
on Sep 12, 2009 at 6:57:28 pm

Stephen: I just ran across this thread and wanted to add some thoughts.Several have made some really good suggestions, especially Ron, who said to cut to the music. That is so vital and I think he explained it in a better way than I would, but I have always called it "cutting on the beat". You must cut on the beat. Dave also had a good suggestion about the titles being spread out through the piece, although I might disagree with him on the style-I liked the look a lot. I was always taught that film (video) is a flat screen so never shoot flat space, instead give it some depth. Your opening graphics do just that, the 3d look you show works really well and I think you've done an outstanding job with those choices. Now go back and reread Ron's explanation of cutting on the beat and get your music back in "sync" with the cuts and you will be amazed with how much better the action flows. Good Work!

Mims


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