Bert

Demo Reel - First Cut

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Chris,

I am taking your cinematography course and have a first cut for my demo reel. Can you please look at it an let me know how I can improve it? Be critical.

Thanks!

 

 

Bert

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@Bert,

Congrats! You're the first demo reel cut that is finished from the course! Very nice job with this first cut, some of the shots are amazing!

Before I comment in depth on it, I just want to make sure I know the intended purpose for the video. You will be using this as demo content for your company on your website? Is that correct?

Also, if you have anything else to share regarding the cut, the footage, and your thoughts behind making the video, please share so I can get an idea of your thought process.

Nice work!

Christian

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Thanks. Basically am just making a reel for my business. I am a new business and I have only been shooting with a Phantom since March. I basically took some of the best footage I had from the year. I have to work with what I have. As I shoot some better things I can switch things out.

I guess I have nothing else to share. I just wanted to show some of my work. I realize that I need to get better with camera moves, like reveals and such, but I am still a novice :) Should I somehow tell more of a story in this case? IS my color correcting okay? should subjects be grouped together more? Basically, if you could just look with a critical eye and give me your thoughts, that would be great!

Thank you!

Bert

Edited by Bert

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Below are general notes and time specific notes. Since I obviously don’t know the footage pool you have and the amount of video in a specific clip before or after the cuts, some of the feedback may not be possible and revolves around my assumption that a shot does continue past the point you cut it at. If this happens, either ignore the comment, change the clip out with another shot, or get rid of the clip entirely. I want to leave the decision up to you so you get a sense of making choices like that. But, if you want me to elaborate more on something like that and help out, I will.
 
General Notes:
 
  • I love the music!
     
  • There are instances throughout the video where you use very similar shots, like the overhead view of trees in the beginning and the rocks/water shots towards the end. Try and avoid similar shots like this unless you have a specific reason to include repeating shots in terms of the “story” you are telling. Although, I think I like what you are doing with the rocks at the end so maybe leave that for now, let's see how it pans out.
     
  • Some of the cuts sound off from the music, keep this in mind when editing. BUT, this is a first cut so I am not even sure if you were really trying to perfect that yet. Since it is a first cut and shots are going to be changed and replaced or deleted it makes no sense to spend a ton of time in a rough cut perfecting that only to have to go back and do it all again, so I also won’t include specific feedback about off-beat cuts here but I will for your final cut down the road.
     
  • Overall, your coloring is not bad. I can make more comments on that in your fine cut because as you change shots based on my feedback below, it would have been pointless to spend time coloring those shots and now they are gone. That is why coloring is usually always the very last step.
     
  • Some of my feedback mentions removing shots, and I know you mentioned your lack of a very large footage pool to pick from, so one option you might want to consider is shortening this video, by shortening the music… Just because the song is 2.75 minutes long doesn’t mean you have to make a video that long and use shots that you think don’t really live up to your normal quality of stuff. If you don’t have enough super awesome best-of-the-best shots to fill up 2.75 minutes, then don’t force it, find a shorter song, or shorten this song yourself, that is what I would do. It could be as simple as just fading the song out early, or actually editing some middle parts of the song out so you still get the natural beginning and ending of the song as well as the major change from soft to loud in the middle which sounds awesome.
 
Time Specific Notes:
 
00:00:03:00 - Does this shot go higher up so you see over the mountain and still see the sunset? If so, that might be more visually stunning rather than seeing 3/4 of the frame taken up by the dark side of the mountain.
 
00:00:12:00 - Increase and fix for dark exposure on this shot, or replace shot with something else.
 
00:00:15:00 - Do you have another shot of the animals that isn’t from this angle? Most of the frame is taken up by the hill and from this angle it looks visually strange, almost like its flat, but its not…
 
00:00:18:00 - Very cool camera move here!
 
00:00:36:00 - Beautiful shot!!! See if you can increase saturation a little more to get those colors to really pop! And play with the actual color in the shot to see if you can make the highlights a tiny bit more orange/yellow or ever so slightly pink. See if you can get the colors to really pop in that way too.
 
00:00:46:00 - I would get rid of this shot, unless there is something specific to your business you are trying to show. But, it is really just showing those buildings and a tree.
 
00:00:48:00 - Super cool shot!!
 
00:00:50:00 - Do you have another track clip or section of this clip where you see the cars more for the whole duration of the shot in your cut? Not even one second in the white car has already gone through the frame and the yellow car goes through very rapidly. Maybe something of you following the car with the drone more, or the drone looking down a straightaway or a turn seeing the cars coming towards it?
 
From 00:00:54:00 to 00:01:07:00 - I am not sure if I like this string of shots here. They don’t really show interesting subjects for the purposes of a company sizzle reel. But, if there is something specific about them that makes them work there then fine.
 
00:01:09:00 - This shot lasts too long I think especially with the way the music is. Maybe cut this car on bridge shot at approx. 00:01:13:00 and have another shot placed there until approx. 00:01:17:00. Make the cuts with the music though, these timecode are not exact when I watch it back on Vimeo and make these comments.
 
00:01:27:00 - Very nice shot! Love it!
 
00:01:42:00 - Replace with something else I think, maybe a nice sunset shot of a beach.
 
00:01:54:00 - I don’t think this shot is visually stunning enough for this reel.
 
00:02:05:00 - Does this car clip provide footage earlier than where you started the cut? If you can, I would start the shot with the car/garage area opening totally out of frame and then over the course of the cut you have in there now, the drone moves to the right past the car pulling out and then the cut happens when the car is totally out of frame, kind of like it is now. The beginning of this cut the way you have it now has the car already in the middle of the frame. But, the length of the cut you have now is good and it flows into the next shot correctly so all you need to do to make this adjustment is a slip edit using the trim tool. (https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12552?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US) A slip edit is what you need to do to make some of the other shot adjustments I mentioned above.
 
00:02:15:00 - The end of this shot has an odd camera jerk right at the end. Slip edit the shot to get the jerk out, or roll the edit point using the trim tool to place the cut before the jerk.
 
00:02:38:00 - Have the website address come up faster after the logo fades out. Don’t have as much blank space since someone could very quickly think the video is over and click away before your site even comes up. Don’t place it too close though, maybe 0.5 seconds after the logo fades out.
 
Overall, this is a very nice first cut and I am really looking forward to seeing the next cut and what shots you choose to swap in for the more boring ones, if you have enough stunning stuff right now. Nice work!
 
-C

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Awesome review Christian.

Would say no. 1 is to prepare the video for your website.

Attention spans are short on the Internet.

Use only the best of the best and target 30 seconds in length. 

and brand/copyright this footage. 

Have a business intro and a business exit on your work [logo, phone, email, web address] and use for all future work.

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Thanks for the in depth review! I will take all of your feedback into consideration and work on a second cut.

Bert

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Bert,

 

That's great news. You have some great footage. Would like to see your latest work?

Especially anything after Christians input.

Going to launch my Drone business this month here in Burbank, CA. 

Any tips on how you acquired professional work?

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Hi Christian,

I just revised my reel for 2016. I took most of your advice, but because of my lack of useable footage, some of the shots I am stuck with. I wanted to keep the length because I like how it fits into the soundtrack. I like how the soundtrack builds. I learned a lot shooting this year and hope to improve going forward. Please take a look when you ge a chance and let me know if there is any fine tuning that I should do. 

 

 

Also, I would like to write a testimonial for your course. Were should I send it?

Thanks!

Bert

Edited by Bert
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Bert,

Job well done! This video flows much more smoothly and keeps the interest of the viewer better. I am impressed! Some of the shots really are amazing and it is nice to see it all come together in a video like this now. And, I love the way the music builds and the shots build with the music too. Hope you make good use of it on your website and to showcase your skills to clients. Again, great job!

A few notes for your thought...

  • There are definitely some shots I would not keep in this video, but I know you mentioned a current lack of more shots to work with, so I would just advise that as you film more spectacular content, update the video to make use of that stuff by replacing these kinds of shots that exist in the video now. The great thing about doing this is the video is timed out and "edited" already so all it requires is dropping the new shot into the same place as the old shot and coloring that new shot. No adjusts to timing or anything usually have to be made.
     
  • There are two points in the video where the screen flashes to black for 1 or 2 frames when cutting in between two shots. This happens when the two shots are not placed directly next to each other in the timeline. Sometimes this space of 1 or 2 frames of black slips into the timeline by accident when you are editing and adjusting other clips. This is something very easy to miss but to a trained eye, it is very noticeable. One of these black frames is located around 00:01:02:00. See if you can find the other one after that. When you locate the cut in the timeline where the black frames are you have to zoom in A LOT really really close to be able to see such a small section of the timeline. When zoomed out, it looks like the two clips are touching and are back to back but zooming in sometimes tells a different story. (NOTE: It is possible that the flash of black is a render issue instead of there actually being a space of black in the timeline. So if you can't find it, try a re-render in case that is the issue.)
     
  • Maybe have the website at the end fade in a little bit closer to the fade out of the logo. After the logo faded out I almost closed out of the video because I thought it was over. I would have missed your website had I done that...

Best,
Christian

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