My first demo reel

Posted by FOGProductions 
My first demo reel
June 09, 2010 08:48AM
I'm just starting out as a videographer and I wanted some opinions on my demo reel. Here it is.

Re: My first demo reel
June 09, 2010 09:09AM
My 2 cents as an objective observer:

1. First impression - I would never post a Demo Reel on YouTube. It destroys the integrity of the compression. It also looks to clients like you are cheap and cannot afford your own website. It costs a little more than $100 per year ($125 includes a domain name registry) to have your own web host space where you can display your own website with high Quality H264 Demo Reels. This is what I use (the "Business Plan"winking smiley:


2. Since Weddings seems to be your niche at the moment (which is cool...I started with Weddings in '91...lots of space to play with the images), I would HIGHLY suggest getting a stabilizer for your camera. Your footage is way too shaky which loses that professional feel. Even professional hand-held is more stable. Any of these Glidecam Pro units will be great and has great reviews:


3. I would treat the footage in post. It looks too "home-movieish". It needs a more "fantasy-like" look for weddings. Pick up Magic Bullet Looks for FCP. You won't regret it:


Good luck - keep at it thumbs down

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: My first demo reel
June 11, 2010 04:34AM
If you need to stream your videos or just don't have a website, I'd recommend going to [] instead of Youtube. For presenting yourself, you could also make a blog for free at f.ex. [] and show pictures through [] ( I haven't tried videos on wordpress yet, anyone got any tips there?). Best of luck!
Re: My first demo reel
June 11, 2010 08:00PM
Yes. As Joey mentioned, host it yourself. It's really quite affordable these days.

On the contrary, I actually like the unpolished home movie look- blown out backlit shots, shaky handhelds, etc... It's a personal thing. But for the sake of your career, I'd advice you to make it look as polished as you can.

I can see that you are really trying to get in to those angles, which is great, with the exception of 1:01-that zoom out to a dissolve was HORRIBLE!! Kill that zoom. It started as a pretty interesting shot, but the zoom out to nothing killed it and the dissolve looked like you were trying to hide a camera mistake. For the actual event, you need to get into better positions. The framing is usually awkward. Granted, it's a tough job, but hey, you get to enjoy those wedding lunches!

For the edit, there is a lot of meandering. You really need to get those emotions and tell a story with them. The only shot where you can see someone laughing and enjoying herself is in that zoom out to a dissolve shot on the bride which I mentioned earlier. You need more of that, and people too. Shoot the crowds, try to fill up those frames with people, or the weddings will feel very empty, cold and distant.
Re: My first demo reel
June 11, 2010 08:42PM
I had a similar reaction to Joey, but I think the problem isn't just shaky handheld shots -- which are hard to avoid in a fast, run-around, crowded wedding situation, especially if you want the flexibility of going for more unusual angles without a steadicam rig.

However, I did also have an issue with some of the shaky shots because you didn't tell us what kind of reel we were watching for a long time. Since so much of the reel was wedding stuff, I would stick an overt wedding shot within the first three shots of the reel. That way we'll know the conditions of the shoot and accept the limitations. Didn't you get any signage? Prep? Wider shots of arrivals?

And yeah, I agree with strypes that you are a bit too indulgent with your shots (some of the makeup shots made the people look awkward). Pick only the cream of the crop. See one, you see them all. Pick the ones where the principals look the most attractive. Shots like the one at 2:00 which caught the bride and groom in a nice beat together. Also, didn't you get any sound? In just looking at the reel, I'd be led to believe you didn't get the stories behind the event.
Re: My first demo reel
June 12, 2010 11:25AM
Steadicam rigs for cameras as small as his ARE FLEXIBLE. You can RUN & GUN with smaller Steadicams AND ELIMINATE THE BOUNCE (with practice of course). That novice "shake" will cost you jobs...I guarantee it. There is a difference between a deliberate "hand-held look" and a shaky operator.

If you are going to try artsy angles, they have to be smooth and stable.

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: My first demo reel
June 12, 2010 11:34AM
I'm with Gerard on this one...the shakes aren't great, but they're not deal breakers. Not with wedding and low-budget shoots. Even large-budget TV shows have shaky camera sometimes. Content is king. Given a shaky camera operator who catches all the best angles and moments, and a completely smooth operator who misses the ring and the kiss, the shaky operator will get the job.

I cut a wedding back in film school where the videographer had a steadicam rig. He also tried to edit the thing. My directing partner (it was one of his best friends getting married) and I laughed out loud at the end product -- the camera guy stuck his butt in front of the wedding photographer, got in everybody's way with his big rig (S-VHS, by the way), put a large, cheese-drenched CG wedding bell as a repeated transition, and kept cutting back to an ugly freeze-frame of the couple where the groom had his mouth half-open.

Steady ain't everything.
Re: My first demo reel
June 13, 2010 07:34PM

Steady ain't everything.

Never said it was...but "Cocker-cam" is not appealing IMHO and would not earn repeat business from me...which is why I mentioned it (worked 3 years on weddings in the early 90's).


Content is king

That goes without saying, c'mon...but "shaky content" is king as well??? Judgement call, IMHO.

Sheesh. Use a lipstick cam in a cap and be done with it.

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: My first demo reel
June 13, 2010 08:03PM
> "shaky content" is king as well???


You shoot it, you can leave it out in editing, you can slow-mo it to alleviate shaky camera, you can freeze-frame. You don't shoot it, it's gone with the wind. We're talking documentary style, not shots that can be restaged. And even in the latter, in the context of a narrative feature, a great dramatic performance trumps camera bumps, except very overt problems.

> but "Cocker-cam" is not appealing IMHO and would not earn repeat business from me...

This is where it's important to distinguish between different modes of shooting.

Much of the shaky camera in the beginning looked worse than normal because many of them were supposed to be locked-down shots. There was no good reason why the shot should have wobbled. And if there was, there was no reason why that part of the shot should be picked for the reel.

That's why I suggested putting the in-wedding material early. If all your weddings had limitations (lack of manpower, restrictions in positioning, etc.) that caused the issues, then your demo will be filled with them. Not much you can do about that. But make it clear from the get-go that this is your reel for run-and-gun weddings. Make it clear that if you were shooting a short film, this isn't the sample for it.

There's no such thing as an "absolute standard" for whether to accept a wobbly camera. Just watch the beginning of Narc.
Re: My first demo reel
June 13, 2010 08:08PM
All due respect can you possibly answer for the shooter? Wow, have an answer for everything. I concede to your superior intellect smileys with beer

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: My first demo reel
June 13, 2010 08:22PM
> how can you possibly answer for the shooter?

I can't. I was interpreting the shots as I would when watching the reel. If anybody else has a different take, feel free.
Re: My first demo reel
June 14, 2010 09:25AM
Granted, my shots are shaky. I have no excuse but inexperience. I'm happy to receive any help!!!

According to the comments, I definitely need some sort of steadying device. I have seen the glidecam. I just looked at the glidecam 2000 PRO. I read something about a Manfrotto quick release plate. Is there any way I could get a quick release mechanism that is the same size that I have on my tripod? I have a Manfrotto 501HDV head and I didn't see anything that had the same size plate. Also, as a alternative to the Glidecam, a professional friend of mine recommended this []

Do you think that, with practice, I could get this to work, or should I just invest in the glidecam?

Also, Grafixjoe recommended the RedGiant filters. Can I just get the $99 version to see if it will work for me?

I guess I have a lot of work to do on my reel! Thanks again for all the tips!!!
Re: My first demo reel
June 14, 2010 10:36AM
>Do you think that, with practice, I could get this to work, or should I just invest in the glidecam?

First things first, it's content and technique over technology, always. It isn't just the shaky shots. It's the fact that there is no story. If you noticed, in both Derek and I made comments on the content. I said to capture more human emotions, Derek mentioned about getting signage, wider shot of arrivals and also that you didn't capture the story behind the event.

Everything in a video is a story. You shoot so you have more options to tell a good story later. Great cinematographers shoot pictures that tell great stories. In post, the editor pieces the shots together in an order that best tells the story. So first work on building content and technique over buying that next piece of gear. Because there is no magic bullet to making a great piece (no pun intended).


Here's a video I shot at a wrap party sometime last christmas. It wasn't a paid gig, in fact, it wasn't a gig at all. I was there for the party, but decided to shoot some stuff, and I had this $100 still camera that shot video, and it is about half the size of your palm, full auto mode. And I've never done a home video. Truth is, I actually didn't have much footage to begin with, and the shots in the opening was all taken in the lobby after the party was over.
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