Creating Your First Demo Reel

If you’re looking to make money as a videographer, there’s a very important thing you’ll need besides talent and equipment, a demo a reel. A reel is a presentation card for any aspiring videographer. It’s what potential clients or employers will see before deciding to hire you. As such, it needs to be professional, engaging, and entertaining, which is not always an easy thing to accomplish when working on a reel for the first time.

Highlight Just One Skill Per Reel

Nowadays it’s more common than ever to develop transdisciplinary skills all at once. You might have experience as a director, animator, editor, photography director, or producer, and that all will look nice on your resumé, but it should not be on your reel. You want to highlight just one skill set at a time, if that means you end up with 3 different reels then so be it. That’s better than overwhelming potential clients with too much information that will just leave them asking

“so what is it that you do exactly?”

This is especially true if the purpose of your reel is to get you hired on a specific company. When managers are looking over potential candidates, they don’t usually have time to look at a reel several times trying to discern what position the candidate is applying for. Make it easy for them by crafting your reel in a way that makes it clear the kind of position you’re looking for.

Use Only Your Best Work

Quality over quantity has never been truer. There’s only time for your best work on your reel. Start with your strongest project always, and don’t try to fill it up with lesser projects just to make it look like you have more experience. Remember that you’ll have very little time to make an impression, so only show your best. Before starting to go through all your projects and only choose clips from the best of it. Don’t be scared to leave many of your projects out, it will be for the best.

Keep it Short

There’s no set amount of time when it comes to how long demo reels should be. But most professionals agree that it should never be longer than 90 seconds. If you’re just starting out, you might not even have enough projects to fill 90 seconds of video, anyway.

Remember that the goal here is to highlight your absolute best pieces, the kind of projects that will make others want to work with you. If that takes you 30 seconds rather than 60 or 90, that’s fine. As stated before, you should never try to fill it out with lesser quality work, or work from others, just to achieve a specific amount of time. Work with what you have, in time you’ll have more than enough material to make it to 60 seconds.

Choose the Music Before Editing

There are two very important reasons why you want to choose your music before editing. The first: copyrights. Under no circumstances should you be using copyrighted songs. While it might not seem like a big deal, it can be a huge turn off for potential clients as it shows a total disregard for the law. A big no-no in serious studios that have to think about that kind of stuff for each and every project they do.

The second is the editing. Novice editors will just choose a track and play the images next to it. More experienced editors will edit to the music they choose, and it will show in the end result. Even if you’re not looking for a job as an editor, it will look more professional and show potential employers that you know about the craft.