Test Drive my Demo Reel! (Please)

vitamin_D wrote on 4/26/2004, 12:05 PM
Alright...I'm looking for comments and criticisms, design suggestions, and plain ol' "It doesn't work" comments to shake out issues with my demo reel before taking it public(er).

Here it is.

I'm getting some feedback already and for those who get it to work they're missing the links that run across the bottom -- they're all clickable and take you to different segments of the reel, so if you do happen to get the site working (a handful of people haven't), please check out as many of them as you have the patience for :D

Already on the table for design improvements:

A link to the QT installer page

Something that hightlights the links at the bottom

Incidentally, I directed, shot, and edited 99.9% of what you see and hear on the site (all but one track of audio...) and did the site layout and code in Frontpage 2000.

- jim


prairiedogpics wrote on 4/26/2004, 12:50 PM
I dunno about the model "boob" shot at the beginning of the reel. I am by no means conservative (loyal Howard Stern fan), but even that shot made my eyes pop and I think you might scare off your more conservative clients when they see that on your web site. If that's okay with you, forge ahead. I think you (we, everyone...) need to pick your demo reel clips VERY carefully.

I do like the nice clean look to of the web page.


Jay Gladwell wrote on 4/26/2004, 12:58 PM
The footage looked good. I agree with Dan's comment. Too, when it ended, I waited expected some kind of "ending." It just stops. Felt that was a tad abrupt.

Jessariah67 wrote on 4/26/2004, 1:07 PM
I am VERY conservative and didn't have a problem with the model. It's actually a very sexy shot -- not showing "everything" -- and it's obviously a model, so there's a little more wiggle room there in the "taste" department (IMO). I think it all looks really good. Nice, clean presentation.
busterkeaton wrote on 4/26/2004, 1:30 PM
Look at his other work. His work tends to be in artistic circles and in high fashion circles. I doubt it will be a problem.

BillyBoy wrote on 4/26/2004, 1:34 PM
I would suggest you not fade totally to black between scenes. Its sort of distracting on web vids and can make people think something is wrong when it isn't. Stop when you get down to 5% transparancy or so keeping just a bit of the image visible or do some transition between scenes and I think it would look more polished.
MUTTLEY wrote on 4/26/2004, 2:50 PM
Looked great, though a little short and an indicator that it was over would have been nice. Because its short I was waiting for something else.

Didn't see any links in the vid either.

Again, looked great !

- Ray


GlennChan wrote on 4/26/2004, 5:54 PM
1- What's your goal?
2- Who is your audience?
3- How is your audience going to view your demo reel?

These things are important!

1- If you're trying to find freelance work, you might want to be more focused and appear that you specialize in the one thing your potential clients are looking for. People will think you're better that way.

2- Audience:
You should use the right language when writing for them. "The footage was gathered in a nightclub where the owner refused to brighten the few stage lights that were present, so I had the ugly chore of accepting the light levels as they were and dealing with it in post." <-- That sounds too negative and makes you seem like a person who's difficult to work with and isn't flexible. "far from ideal" is not a way to describe your work... you're getting off into rant territory instead of selling your service. You need to tell (or show) them what you can do for them. For example, If your audience is business owners who may want an industrial video, you have to convince them that:
A- you can ultimately make them money
B- you are competent

The tone you use should be consistent and appropriate for what the audience is expecting. You need to make sure your audience understands what you're talking about. If you use technical jargon make sure you don't lose them. Example: "de-interlacing with preserved resolution"

Another aspect of your audience you need to consider is their attention span. Some of them may have a stack of 40 VHS tapes they may have to go through. They may have a very low attention span... maybe 15 seconds. Get rid of long titles and opening sequences and get to the point. Show them what they're looking for. With non-linear formats you can let your audience pick what they want... so if they want to see a commercial then they click on a website link or go to a DVD chapter and see a commercial. For linear formats (i.e. VHS tape) you can tailor each tape to what your audience wants.

3- How will your audience be viewing your demo reel? You need to make sure it works!

I would've liked to have the QT playback buttons for the web video. They give feedback on how much has been downloaded and they also let you start the movie from the beginning. This is really useful since most people will NOT wait for the video to download (especially if they have dialup). Most people may multi-task away and then come back to the video.

The music video's volume was too low for me. You need to normalize it to 0dB or so. I've heard that some consumer gear distorts past -0.3dB or so, so you might want to just normalize to -0.5dBFS. The opening of the music video won't work too well for a music video. The title and music is about 43s in... that's way too long. The audience may be easily bored (this *really* depends on who your audience is... people who have to get through a stack of demo reels will likely have a 15 second or less attention span). Also, it sounds like there's no audio in the piece or that the viewer's audio doesn't work.

You might want to put a link for people to download the movie. It might work better for some people. Embedded video might be very slow in some browsers because the person is using an old computer. Dial-up users may like being able to download the movie with a download program.

Make sure your website displays OK on 800X600 resolution. Some of the text cuts out for some of the sections.

I'm not trying to tear into you here but give some constructive criticism. You need to consider what your goals are, your audience, and how your audience is going to view your demo reel. You need to design everything with those considerations in mind. A lot of people don't.
4thorder wrote on 4/26/2004, 6:03 PM
Your choice of music seems to be inappropriate to the material from what I can see. Its a little too ethnic and quirky

Otherwise, video seems ok.
roryk wrote on 4/26/2004, 9:08 PM
I liked the music and the video work. I also understand that this is a rough cut (may want to put some sort of finish after the last transition).

The only link that worked in the top frame was for your email.

Artistically, have you considered trimming a few frames from the back of each clip? Or were you intending to give a glimpse of the next movement for each performer? Next movement being: bow reversing directions, model walking away from camera, guitar heading back up, thrown persons legs bouncing.

Instead of a simple fade out/in, you might consider a freeze with motion blur on the fade out. Time the upbeat with the freeze instead of the next movement. Just an idea.

Good luck,
vitamin_D wrote on 4/27/2004, 12:49 AM
Hey all,

I redid the site when I returned from work tonight. There's still a lot of your advice that I think is sound and very helpful, but most o it involves going back into the footage, editing it and rendering it out. Don't have the time to do all that at the moment, but in the meantime I brushed up the interface and workflow.

Here you go.

- jim
PeterWright wrote on 4/27/2004, 5:33 AM
Sorry - wanted to see it-, but got involved in unwanted Quick Time download stuff - WMV9 please - why feed Apple?
vitamin_D wrote on 4/27/2004, 8:39 AM
...because they've got embedded video done right. I, like so many here, know that WMV encodes better, bit for bit, but it doesn't play in a browser as well (i.e. doesn't look good, IMO). Additionally -- I'm sorry you don't like QT or have problems getting caught up in d/ling it, but it's pretty safe to say you represent a small minority of people -- especially what's typical of a client's machine (e.g. they install everything, and especially quicktime, especially if they happen to use a Mac).

To the rest of you -- I have to run out of town today and would really like to get back to your comments with a proper response -- I'm sorry I don't have the time to do it just yet. They were enormously helpful! :D

- jim
chaboud wrote on 4/27/2004, 11:41 AM
The page title is "New Page 1"

You might want to change that to something less like Frontpage's default output.

I like the clean look, but you may want to consider something other than centered text. I like left-justified text for items on the right and right-justified text for items on the left.
PeterWright wrote on 4/27/2004, 8:51 PM
Sorry to be a bit crabby over Quicktime - I've had too many encounters with uppity Macheads ....

Anyway, I already have QT6 but before I could get your video to play, something popped up about updating and I got lost and gave up - that's why I asked for good ole WMV!

Anyway, I'll have another go - which link plays your demo reel?