• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Topic: Video showreel question

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Video showreel question

    Hi.

    This is a question to all you TV composers out there (Barrie, you around?).

    I'm in the process of editing together a video showreel. At the moment it's just over 4 minutes long and consists of a selection of about 13 spots from a variety of TV shows that I've worked on over the years.

    How long is yours (if that isn't too personal a question ) and what sort of a running order do you have?

    A producer friend of mine said he switches off after watching the first two minutes of a reel, whereas a production manager told me that some showreels that she gets sent have been up to 15 minutes long! Far too long in my opinion.

    Here's a very rough edit of mine thus far:

    http://www.messhead.com/showreel.mov

    I think it could probably go even shorter so if there's anything that in your opinion blatantly shouldn't be there, or if you think the running order is nowt but a pile of old pants, please let me know.

    Incidentally it was nearly 7 minutes long but I've been ruthlessly cutting for the past few hours. I found myself doubling up styles. For example, I don't need a car racing title sequence if I already have a powerboat racing theme, however much I might like it...

    All comments greatly appreciated.

    Nick

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nigel W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Cologne, Germany
    Posts
    676

    Re: Video showreel question

    Hi Nick

    I'm not an experienced showreeler as all my work has come through building contacts-I write music for TV in Germany- but here are my comments as a fellow media musician:

    Do you really need the effect on your opening caption? I think it reduces the musical impact which follows. Also, how about trying slightly slower transitions in places, maybe with a fade to black? Why not put the titles between the clips, to prepare the viewer, instead of at each clip begininning (unless they're part of the original sequence) ? This could help make the structure clearer, like "musical paragraphs".

    Also, I would consider grouping the "trash" (in the Warholian sense, no offence intended) together: sports, game shows, sensation in general; and then keeping the "art" -documentary, series, etc.- in another group.

    You have good credits in there, but I think some stuff is doubled and you don't need everything. I would consider taking out some of the short bits which don't radically show different styles as my feeling is that they might make the whole more "bitty". For my taste the reel is a bit too long, but actually I think the question is not so much about length as about how you handle variety & flow within the showreel.

    Consider the thing like a miniature firework show- a few pretty flares and bangs as appetizers and attention-getters, then a longer explosive sequence, followed by the "oooh....ahhh" beautiful, more contemplative moments, then one or two more big bangs to finish off ;-

    HTH

    and good luck

    I thought your "Medium At Large" theme was very good, BTW

    best

    Nigel

  3. #3

    Re: Video showreel question

    Hi Nick!

    O my God, what a thorny question this is!

    Yours was looking good until it ground to a halt halfway through the power boat bit... I'll try again later.
    The big question is, what is the reel for? If it's for speculative sending to new companies then it will almost certainly join the huge pile of DVDs of other composers trying to get in on the act that you always see at production company offices. If it's for a specific job then the material could be really inapropriate for the job in question, and meeja types are notoriously unable to see past what they have in their hot little hands.
    Looking at yours I find myself really impressed by the production values, and let's face it TV types live by production values - providing they don't cost very much. - especially when it comes to music! I suppose what I worry about is that it's a bit of a blunt instrument if you want them to take you seriously for Jane Austen!

    I've resorted to having a 'showreel' folder on a drive that I chuck tracks in that I quite like or can countenance listening to again, and I make up CDs with appropriate tracks for the pitch or whatever the situation, and use a generic CD case set up that I can can quickly edit. I also use waveburner and virtually 'mix' between tracks by crossfading - no more that a minute per track - keeps 'em interested.

    I found DVD reels too inflexible - yeah, I know some people need to see music to picture, but often you have to resort to titles sequences and the like - and they can seem out of date to you as the composer incredibly quickly - literally a period of weeks if you do a nice new job. But they take a long time to re-make, unless you get down and dirty with final cut pro!

    Overall length? Well, if they like you they'll happily take fifteen minutes, if they don't you'll be already in the bin. Longer gives the opportunity to show yourself as a more rounded composer (although that's also a stumbling block too - it seems many producers / directors are confused if you appear to be able to do anything in any style - bless them - ).
    So go for around ten minutes - long enough if they like what they hear.

    My experience is that if you have a track that's almost what they want on your reel you'll probably get the job. If you reel is blindingly good, full of incredibly well observed stylistic and 'appropriate to the job' music and you have one hundred and one awards but DON'T have a track that's almost right, you probably WON'T get the job! Me? a teensie bit cynical? Nah!

    Well maybe you can do both - glossy reel and appropriate tracks.. it's your call. I don't feel I've ever squared this particular circle - but I do know that to my knowledge I've never got a job by just sending out speculative showreels. Some people may have, but I'd think it was up there with hen's teeth in rarity value! A recommendation from one director to another or from an editor is what always pays dividends.

    Anyway, I wish you luck! - I look forward to watching it ALL through later! I'll get back when I have.

    regards

    Barrie

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nigel W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Cologne, Germany
    Posts
    676

    Re: Video showreel question

    Barrie is right, it's "horses for courses". If you're going for a title music gig, you don't need too many long documentary or ID sequences.

    It's also critical whether you're sending the showreel in unsolicited or not. If you're sending it through an introduction, or even better, bringing it to a meeting yourself, you can allow more variety and a longer reel.

    Nigel

  5. #5

    Re: Video showreel question

    Nick,

    I have to dash out, but one thing I'd definitely do is push the Powerboats back down the line - really nicely done but sounds (and looks!) a bit 'corporate' (dreaded word!) in context of Illustrated Mum, which is really nice... I'll drop back in tomorrow with some thoughts..

    good luck!

    Barrie

  6. #6

    Re: Video showreel question

    Thanks Nigel for your extensive reply and for taking the time to watch. Much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel W
    Do you really need the effect on your opening caption? I think it reduces the musical impact which follows.
    I think you may be right. I'll have a look at that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel W
    Also, how about trying slightly slower transitions in places, maybe with a fade to black? Why not put the titles between the clips, to prepare the viewer, instead of at each clip begininning (unless they're part of the original sequence) ? This could help make the structure clearer, like "musical paragraphs".
    My instinct originally was to do that, but the majority of my TV friends (producers/directors etc) have told me that they prefer to get through a reel as quickly as possible (and often have enough info to go on by 2 minutes in even if there are some gems that may go undiscovered later on). Aesthetically it would indeed be preferable to have the titles in the black before each clip, but it adds a couple of seconds each time unfortunately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel W
    Also, I would consider grouping the "trash" (in the Warholian sense, no offence intended) together: sports, game shows, sensation in general; and then keeping the "art" -documentary, series, etc.- in another group.
    That's a good idea. I may indeed have a look at restructuring it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel W
    You have good credits in there, but I think some stuff is doubled and you don't need everything. I would consider taking out some of the short bits which don't radically show different styles as my feeling is that they might make the whole more "bitty".
    Agreed, but which bits? Having already sacrificed 3 minutes of clips, sadly, I can't be objective anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel W
    Consider the thing like a miniature firework show- a few pretty flares and bangs as appetizers and attention-getters, then a longer explosive sequence, followed by the "oooh....ahhh" beautiful, more contemplative moments, then one or two more big bangs to finish off ;-
    That's very well put.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel W
    I thought your "Medium At Large" theme was very good, BTW
    Thankyou.

    Right. Time to open up iMovie again. Having never edited before, it's actually quite enjoyable!

  7. #7

    Re: Video showreel question

    Hi Barrie. Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated as always.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    The big question is, what is the reel for? If it's for a specific job then the material could be really inapropriate for the job in question, and meeja types are notoriously unable to see past what they have in their hot little hands.
    This is to go on the homepage of my website and also to send out as a generic showreel DVD along with my audio demo whenever a production company asks me to send them one. I often get requests for a showreel featuring a wide variety of music that I've written but up until now I've only sent out audio CDs.

    My best mate's one of the heads of a big production company and he told me that I REALLY need to get a video showreel together as most producers/directors want to see the music to picture as well as just hearing it. Also a great deal of the composer competition (that's you lot! ) have video showreels as well as audio ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    If it's for speculative sending to new companies then it will almost certainly join the huge pile of DVDs of other composers trying to get in on the act that you always see at production company offices.
    I never sent out demos speculatively. It really is a complete waste of time. Most of the time I know that they go straight in the bin.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    Looking at yours I find myself really impressed by the production values, and let's face it TV types live by production values - providing they don't cost very much. - especially when it comes to music! I suppose what I worry about is that it's a bit of a blunt instrument if you want them to take you seriously for Jane Austen!
    Thanks. Production is very important to me. Fortunately, I've come to terms with the fact that I'll probably never be asked to score a costume drama. There are plenty of other better composer/orchestrators than me out there. The mix of a little bit of orchestra with a little bit of technology sits much more comfortably in my compositional bag.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    I've resorted to having a 'showreel' folder on a drive that I chuck tracks in that I quite like or can countenance listening to again, and I make up CDs with appropriate tracks for the pitch or whatever the situation, and use a generic CD case set up that I can can quickly edit.
    I do this also. I always ask the potential client exactly what it is they're after and then make them up a bespoke CD. I'll probably also do this with my video showreel in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    I also use waveburner and virtually 'mix' between tracks by crossfading - no more that a minute per track - keeps 'em interested.
    That's a good idea. I might nick that from you if you don't mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    Overall length? Well, if they like you they'll happily take fifteen minutes, if they don't you'll be already in the bin. Longer gives the opportunity to show yourself as a more rounded composer (although that's also a stumbling block too - it seems many producers / directors are confused if you appear to be able to do anything in any style - bless them - ). So go for around ten minutes - long enough if they like what they hear.
    I think ten minutes might work for a bespoke reel but for this generic 'showcase' I think it may be too long. The shorter it is the more likely it is that they'll get to the end and hopefully will want more...

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    A recommendation from one director to another or from an editor is what always pays dividends.
    Absolutely. That's how I've got most of my jobs over the years.

    Thanks Barrie. Hope you're well.

    Nick

  8. #8

    Re: Video showreel question

    So if anybody wants to really know what it's like doing this for a living.. I was going to see a friends play with music tonight, but at 5.30p.m. I just got a call from the dub of a kid's programme I'm working on for a bunch of changes that they fancy. So that's me in for the evening..

    Nick, I'm sorry, when you answer each point like that I realise I was talking down horribly, and of course you know all this stuff. Many apologies, you know I like your material and it is indeed your attention to detail that really makes it.

    Having said that, if you'd have SAID it was for the website as well....

    I'd stick by what I said about 'Powerboats' though. I'd have definitely got my mate from the production company to select the clips (OH.. you did that already?) - I'm not sure I can select my own tracks, I squirm with embarrassment at a certain track one day and love it when I haven't heard it for several months. And can musicians put themselves into the shoes of those that might commission them?

    If it's a calling card that you're really doing, then I'd leave it at 5 mins max and keep each clip to the 25s ish frame of the titles sequences. I'd also alternate pace and style in this format against what Nigel was saying, although I appreciate his point in context.

    Well Nick, it's been a pleasure to be no help to you at all!

    Back to the coalface..

    best

    Barrie

  9. #9

    Re: Video showreel question

    Hi Nick,

    this looks very good, and I have heard that 12 mins should be the max for a showreel,( probably why I haven't landed a gig as I have sent out 60min CDs.. DOH!)

    As Barrie had mentioned the Power Boats and about moving them down the list but what about cars as they are shown more on terrestrial TV more than boats these days...

    Thanks to everyone for making this such an educational thread.

    Best wishes

    Simon
    www.sounds-and-images.co.uk

    And now also at Flickr!

    http://flickr.com/photos/sounds-and-images/

    www.myspace.com/simonfielder

    NorthernSounds.NET.
    View Simon Fielder's Profile at NorthernSounds.net

  10. #10

    Re: Video showreel question

    Barrie, you weren't talking down to me at all. There's honestly no need to apologise. You were as ever a great help. Sincere thanks to you, sir.

    Good luck with your kids show changes. It's a real bummer when everything has to be put on hold while the client flexes his/her muscles.

    Nick

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •