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How long should a demo reel be?

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Cody WaltersHow long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:13:01 pm

Simple question, low long can you take until you are done watching a demo reel? Is 1 minute appropriate for this?

Thanks for the advice!

Cody Walters
Houston Video Production
Houston Wedding Videographer

Adobe Creative Cloud
Canon C100, 6D, 60D



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Rich RubaschRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:03:23 pm

Our animation reel is under 1:20, but I think a complete capabilities could have 40 seconds of eye candy, 30-40 seconds of great (and I mean great) camera shots, preferably with some color treatment and visual interest, along with maybe one or two :30 or :15 spots if you do spot work to top it off. You get graphics. camera work and finished pieces in about 2:30 or so.

Will they watch the whole thing? If it is good they will!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Rich RubaschRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:04:03 pm

Oh, and go to the demo reel forum and watch a bunch. Some do it great and some miss the mark....find out what works and fits for you and go for it.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Cody WaltersRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:10:13 pm

Thanks Rich!

Cody Walters
Houston Video Production
Houston Wedding Videographer

Adobe Creative Cloud
Canon C100, 6D, 60D



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Todd TerryRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 4, 2015 at 11:13:27 pm

Well, one minute is pretty darn short... unless you are just wanting to feature one little specific thing that you are doing.

Something more in the 2-3 minute range is workable... but I'd say not a bit more than that.

However long you make it, make sure you put your very best killer stuff right at the beginning. I know so many people who want to sandbag and save something for the tail, so they can end with a "big finish." Well, that's all well and good if you have plenty of great stuff so that you can start like gangbusters and end with a killer piece... but if you don't, always put the great stuff at the beginning.

As someone who gets tons of reels across my desk (and knowing plenty of other people who do too), I have to say that the sad fact is that very few reels get watched from beginning to end. It is, no doubt, a knee jerk and short-attention-span reaction, but I'll usually mentally decide within the first seven seconds whether watching the rest of a reel is worth my time. If not, I don't see it. I know that's sad and unfair and I'm probably missing some great stuff...but that's just the way it is. If I watched all of everything that is available to me I'd literally be doing nothing but watching reels all day, every day. Some reels do get watched in their entirety, but getting the first half or first third watched would be a lot more common. Even getting the first ten seconds seen is probably a lot more likely than getting it all watched, even if it is only a minute long.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Cody WaltersRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:12:44 pm

I put something together last night with your comments in mind. I'd appreciate any feedback from you guys and if you got though at least 7 seconds :)



Cody Walters
Houston Video Production
Houston Wedding Videographer

Adobe Creative Cloud
Canon C100, 6D, 60D



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Nick GriffinRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 5, 2015 at 3:53:52 pm

Based on Cody's challenge, I watched the whole thing. Liked most of it but thought the athletic field part was the weakest and could easily be left out. Also a few shots could be shortened without losing any of their power and punch. All in all though, impressive, especially if that's the kind of feel good work of which you're wanting to get more.

Question: Dolly shots, a fairly big slider mechanism or even a Stedicam? Beautiful stuff nevertheless.

Now, as to Todd and Patrick's comments: agency people, who are drowning in reels on a daily basis, almost always need something more than just getting a reel in order to consider you. It can be consistent (but polite) phone calls or drop bys, but it is always best when they hear your name from someone else or see something that impresses them and then they seek you out.

Much of this reminds me of one of my early jobs in a past life as an assistant to the program director of an alternative rock radio station. We would get in literally hundreds of albums a week and part of my job was to listen and pick out not just potentially hot artists, but also which cuts had the hooks that would make them appropriate for our air. It got to the point where I could skip through an entire LP (see... I AM old) in 20 to 30 seconds or less.

Come to think of it, that's pretty much what I do these days when looking for VO talent, and one of the reasons I'd much rather browse the VO services on-line myself than ask for auditions and have to listen to a hundred or more inappropriate voices to find one I like.


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Todd TerryRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 5, 2015 at 4:00:30 pm

[Nick Griffin] "Come to think of it, that's pretty much what I do these days when looking for VO talent"

Exactly the same with me. When casting voice talent I'll typically have about 80-100 auditions to wade through... sometimes twice that if we have a bigger budget (which draws more auditionees). Out of 100, probably 10 of those I will listen to completely, and again and again. Another 10 get listened to completely once... maybe twice. The other 80?... they probably don't make it past the :04 mark before I hit "next." Sad, yes, and I probably occasionally miss someone good, and I do feel a bit of guilt thinking "This guy took time to audition my script, I should listen to it"... but time and practicality just doesn't allow that.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Cody WaltersRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 5, 2015 at 4:23:52 pm

Thanks for the feedback Nick. I do have Stedicam shots, but they are mostly weddings. I haven't had the opportunity to use bigger moves with dollies, maybe someday.

Cool history with the radio station! Must have drank a lot of coffee...

Cody Walters
Houston Video Production
Houston Wedding Videographer

Adobe Creative Cloud
Canon C100, 6D, 60D



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Patrick OrtmanRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 5, 2015 at 12:47:20 pm

I once met with one of the big web content companies, to talk about doing a branded content project with them. During our meeting, in between talking with me and sipping his coffee, the guy was watching 6 videos lined up on his desktop AT ONCE.

I asked him about that, and he said he just "looks for things that pop". If something "pops", he'll go back and watch the first few SECONDS of the reel. And if THAT still "pops" to him, he'll maybe watch a minute or so, then send it to his intern to watch all the way through to make sure the rest "doesn't suck".

This is just a datapoint, lots of people aren't douchebags :-)

Los Angeles and New York video production for businesses and brands:
http://patrickortman.com


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Jonathan ZieglerRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 6, 2015 at 3:37:40 pm

Depends on the project, but, as a rule, I like them to be under a minute (ideally 30 sec). Skip the plain, static camera stuff. Skip the talking heads. I can do that myself. I want to see shots nobody else has; not the stuff that EVERYONE has. If you have a LOT of unique stuff, organize it so similar shots are together and keep clips short. Don't worry about labelling everything (other than your name and contact info), if I can't figure out how you shot it, I'll ask. The problem isn't that I don't want to see it all, but I have 5000 disparate things and I have to change gears all over the place so I want stuff I can use to make quick decisions.

Also, I no longer have a drive on my computer so send a link not a disk!

Save early. Save often.

Jonathan Ziegler

http://www.electrictiger.com
520-360-8293


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Todd TerryRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:19:25 pm

I should have mentioned this in my first response, but clicked "Post" before I realized it... so here's an addendum ...

A lot of it has to do with what particular skill or area of expertise you are trying to showcase... you didn't really say what kind of reel this is.

Is it a cinematography reel? If so, then yep a minute's worth of killer stuff might be plenty. VFX? Yes, you might can show that in a minute or less. Editing? No, no way. When I watch editing reels I want to see fair-sized chunks of a single project at a time (so many editors send me a two minute real that is butt cuts of clips from 40 different projects... that shows me nothing about how a person can edit). A reel from a full-blown production company? That one I'd prefer to be longer, with several larger chunks from different projects.

I'm guessing yours is purely a cinematography reel (again, you didn't say... it shows some very nice camera work, but no editing). If so, I think the length you have is pretty good. You might shorten it a bit (and certainly don't make it any longer), but it's in the ballpark.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Andrew KimeryRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 10, 2015 at 8:08:34 am

[Todd Terry] "Editing? No, no way. When I watch editing reels I want to see fair-sized chunks of a single project at a time (so many editors send me a two minute real that is butt cuts of clips from 40 different projects... that shows me nothing about how a person can edit). "

A few years ago I abandoned making reels and just started putting examples of my work up on my Vimeo page. If it's short form, like a promo, I'll put the whole thing up but if it's long form I'll just put an excerpt up. I like It because it enables me to show off more of my work without overwhelming the viewer.


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Cody WaltersRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 10, 2015 at 12:25:36 pm

I suppose it is mostly a cinematography reel. I've always had my full length edits posted on vimeo and my website. My intent was to create a reel that would poke some interest. I'll make another pass on the edit based the comments I received.

Thanks for the insight Terry. I always enjoy you answers!

Cody Walters
Houston Video Production
Houston Wedding Videographer

Adobe Creative Cloud
Canon C100, 6D, 60D



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Richard HerdRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 9, 2015 at 9:09:17 pm

I ask myself this pretty much everyday. The answer turns out to be "however long the music bed is."


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Todd TerryRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 9, 2015 at 9:11:41 pm

Haha... best answer.

And people wonder how Richard finds such perfectly-timed beds.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Richard HerdRe: How long should a demo reel be?
by on Mar 9, 2015 at 10:19:35 pm
Last Edited By Richard Herd on Mar 9, 2015 at 10:21:01 pm

LOL.

Sometimes I cut the music on the beats, but almost never.

I should also mention, the best reel I ever cut I took Mark S's advice and added an entire sound design. So although the cut was the length of a music bed, the additional audio made it much better. (Still thanking Mark on that one.)


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