Final Demo Reel For Submission and Graduation

Recommended Posts

Hello Christian

Here is my demo reel using my DJI Phantom 4 Pro + with 4K lens.  I shot it yesterday near Gainesville, FL in very hot weather (95 Degrees F) at approximately noon.

1. What NLE did you use to edit your piece?  Final Cut Pro
2. What resolution did you edit in? Shot in 4K 60FPS and used natively. Would probably downgrade to 30fps in future.
3. Did you decide to showcase all of your capabilities with UAS or just a specific area? If a specific area, which one? (i.e. Motion Picture Filming) I used both video and photos for the final product. I tried to go between photo and video as I walked through the farm. In future, I think it would be better to do all photo's first and then do videos. It got confusing to try and do both at same time and continuously adjust settings between both styles.
4. How did you decide on which music track to use for your piece? I chose the track based on being up beat and light hearted jazzy sound.
5. How did you decide on the feel you would want your piece to take on? I made this video for a friend of mine trying to sell this farm and wanted to make it light hearted and interesting so he could use in his marketing of the farm. He only wanted pictures of the farm but wanted to make a video so someone could get a feel or walk through of the size and scope of the place.
6. What is the story you are telling through your footage?  The story is to show this small blueberry farm isn't as big as someone might think.  The idea was to show the size, scope and the house and pond on the property. The top down shot of entire farm was requested by realtor as his focus was on showing small size of farm.
7. What are 3 important lessons you learned from editing this video that you know will help you in future videos?

      1) Take longer videos to enable better opportunities to cut the video to match the beats. The length of videos wasn't long enough to give me flexibility to

           cut where I wanted to. Or find another music track to suit the length of videos. I tried to use longer transitions to match the beats and cuts to music.

      2)  Shoot videos earlier in the day so its not so hot and gives best lighting for the shoot.  I did a lot of color correction on videos and pictures as they were a

            bit overexposed. 

       3) Getting a feel for how the videos and composition play into the final product.  Get more of a sense of what to shoot, how long, angles etc. for final product.

I think this process is a good one for really understanding the course.  It's one thing to do the only course with the sample videos provided. It's a whole other level to go shoot your own videos, get settings right etc, and then match to music.  I had to go back a few times to course to remember how to do a few things. Also realized I need more memory and speed on my machine!!! lol.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Part of the reason for posting your final in the forum is for feedback.  Trouble is I’m not very kind when it comes to feedback, I’m one of these people who thinks there’s always room for improvement and I’m not claiming I can do better.  

My feedback is in the following categories:

  1. Story
  2. Composition and Exposure
  3. Editing, pacing and color correction

the goal of any property video is to give buyers a reason to first visit the property and then hopefully purchase the property.  A property is rarely, if ever sold as a result of a video.  To accomplish that you need a hook, a story that captures the “essence,” something unique or possibly the “lifestyle” the property might offer - equestrian, farming, tranquility etc..  

Not many property videos accomplish that with a narrative.   Here’s an example of a narrative property video.  Keep in mind that the small screen is a “closeup” medium” provide establishing shots but get up close and personal with the details, people want to see what your talking about, and the story shoild be about the people, not the property.  What about the property will appeal to your target audience. In this example it’s targeted at the equestrian lifestyle:

Like I said most videos don’t have a narrative, but even without the words the video has to tell a story and to qualify as a story it has to have a beginning, a middle and an end.  You need to lead your audience through the property in a logical way so they gat a sense of what your trying to communicate.  You mentioned in your own critique the need to walk the property prior to shooting it.  That’s absolutely correct. What struck me about this property was given its proximity to Los Angeles how quiet and peaceful it is so I wanted to communicate the tranquility of the property coming to life and the things the owner would enjoy throughout the day:

Regarding composition and exposure, selective focus (DOF), and shadow provides the illusion of depth, makes your image appear more 3D.  Trouble is the cameras on off the shelf drones generally shoot flat and if you shoot in the middle of the day then you lose the shadows so your images look very flat and lack depth and therefor lack interest.  So you have to shoot around that limitation.  Also your better off shooting a half stop underexposed than anything overexposed. 

When you shoot the wide aerial establishing shot try to include some action like a truck driving down the dusty driveway, then cut to a shot of the same truck on the ground later in the day so the sun shines through the dust.  This will establish the size of the property and provide depth making the scene more interesting.  It’s not just the length of the shot but also the variety of shots.  You need a variety of CU, MCU and wide shots from a variety of points of interest.  After shooting flying into the farm, turn the drone around and and reverse the shot entering the farm, shoot the drone leaving the farm.  Try to get as many different angles as you can, it gives you more editing options.

Dissolves are meant to denote a change in location or time, they really slow down the pacing and interfere with continuity.  Dips to black are a change in location, from inside to out for example or your trying to communicate a new thought.  Use dissolves and wipes sparingly.   In the age of YouTube, shorter is better, if you have a lot to show then the only way to make it shorter is to pick up the pacing.  Faster music and predominately cuts only.  Also be careful with graphics, @JBR LIFE Photography uses them to great effect, however, people don’t seem to like to read anymore which can slow down the pacing.  

Video is most effective when it brings together composition, narrative, music, lighting and transitions.  Integrating all of these elements can communicate something, a feeling, a sense of purpose much better that any of the constituent parts. When you accomplish that is when you become a good editor.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aloha and thanks for sharing your post-class project!  Looks like a very unique property, congrats on that opportunity.  If this was your very first attempt at creating an aerial video, I'd say you did alright, especially once you factor in the innate nervousness and trepidation that comes with such a project on a first-time basis.

Chuck's write up is fact, you could probably print that post and let it be the beginning page in a film-maker's bible.  I have only a few things to add, which compliment what Chuck said, if you don't mind the constructive critique.

Straight cut, straight cut, straight cut.  Dump the transitions unless absolutely necessary, using the guidelines Chuck laid out above.

Yes, always be careful and sparing when using subtitle text overlays.  Many of my clients require it, so I am obliged to provide the product they desire.  However, if left up to me, my vids would rarely contain subtitle text.

Remember orbit style aerial shots.  The camera movement of an orbit allows the background & foreground subjects to move seemingly independently, helping to create a sense of depth.

Another tip is to utilize foreground subjects.  Allow the boughs of a tree or some structure of interested to slip through a portion of the foreground in your shot now and again, which will also make for a feeling of depth, even in noon day sun.

Get into some color-grading forums, start submitting screenshots of your color grades for critique.  I saw yours could use a little red-tinting to balance the green, but these things come with time.  They require a properly calibrated monitor and discipline of tuning your eye to see the subtle differences.  And, really, most clients will never look at a production and say, 'That green needs a little red' because most people don't even know to look for it. lol

There's not much else to say, really.  The rest comes with practice, and it looks like you're well on your way to figuring this stuff out.  Great job, and thanks again for posting!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you AV8Chuck and JBR Life!

Thank you for the honest constructive feedback on my first video. Don’t worry about offending me as I am here to learn and expand my knowledge based on the experience and wisdom of others. I’m not some “snowflake” hoping for a participation trophy for “trying”.  These are all good comments. Thank you for taking the time to express them in detail  

One thing to note on the transitions is that it was a requirement for this exercise. But, I appreciate the comments and will utilize them going forward. 

Any my other suggestions or books/websites to read and learn from are appreciated. Let me know. Again,  Thank you again for honest feedback as it seems to be lacking so much in society today. 


Michael Coogan 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@MCooogan1 your welcome.  I’m old so I tend to just say what I think.  Doesn’t make me right but I really do try to help people starting out.  I have little patience for people who only care about talking others in doing what they do, there’s too much group think in this industry.  

If you have any questions about any commercial application of drones don’t hesitate to ask.  There are a lot of experienced people on this forum willing to help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...


I agree with all of the feedback mentioned above. One of the main things you want to accomplish with a video is a story, no matter what the video is being edited for. Even simple real estate videos need to tell a story. I do like the idea of using stills in the video too, not many people do that and it has to be done just right for it to work. I think a lot of the transitions can be eliminated and some of the shots in the beginning were long.

What I really liked is your write up and answering of the questions. You used the course appropriately and answered the questions spot on. You found valuable ways to improve on your next edits and the fact that you did that after just your first edit from the course is great!

Overall, nice work making it through the course and getting something very valuable out of it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.