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Serious critique needed.


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#1 Mike Lary

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 09:43 AM

Hi everyone,

I just finished my undergrad studies and I'm stepping back into the real world full time. Please let me know what works and what doesn't in my reel. My concern is that it's too long - I'm having trouble getting it under three minutes but if there's some fat that needs to be trimmed I'm probably not being objective enough to see it.

Critique from working DPs and Directors would be greatly appreciated.

http://mikelary.com

Thanks in advance,
Mike Lary
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#2 Tom Banks

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 08:53 PM

I think it moves way too slow, because the music is very slow paced and drawn out and because some of the shots hold longer than we really need to see. Since you have less moving shots and more static shots its even more important because the shots won't hold the audience for very long. I always think its better to group all the shots of one scene or film together, so I would minimize things like cutting back and forth between the B&W film and some of the other work. Also steer away from showing more than one or two impressive shots per scene/look.
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#3 Mike Lary

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 09:50 AM

Thanks, Tom. I'll keep your comments in mind when I recut. My previous cut had clips together per movie, which I thought would better show consistency of aesthetic, but about half the people who critiqued it said they should be separated. If I can shorten it substantially it will probably work with the clips together.
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#4 Tom Banks

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 12:50 PM

Yah mike that's an interesting problem that could go either way... I think it depends on who you're showing your reel to. I lean towards grouping footage because thats what I see most successful narrative DPs do. Grouping is good because it shows you can maintain a visual consistency and displays a bit more regarding shot selection and cutting together. But if you're showing your reel to a music video or commercial producer they basically want to be entertained as much as possible, so if you can do that while grouping then you've got the best combination. My current reel has about 5 projects shown in groups and I've been told by some director friends that they prefer the montage, so who knows! I think the best option is to cut both, and use them depending on the job you are applying for.
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#5 Walter Graff

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:48 PM

The music did not move me. Not that slow music can't be good, but this just did nothing for me. Pacing is very slow too with edit as a result. Not that interesting visually as a group of shots. And 98 megs to make a small movie of that size? You could make one less than half that file size and still have the same visual quality. Quite a waste of space and time to load when it is completely unnessasary. The point I would have stopped watching if I was not watching it here for critique and you sent it to me looking for work would have been in the beginning with the guy on the cliff.

My suggestion is to find a differnt piece(s) of music to drive it.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:55 PM

For myself, I feel that the pacing, as others have mentioned, is too slow, and the file size too large. Try, if you're using compressor, h.264 compression of ipod and iphone, it renders out at about 10mb/min with very good quality, then make that your large, and a smaller, 320x240 h.264 your small.
I liked some of the shots, and others I wasn't really interested in; notably the night shots where they just turn into a black hole behind them, and some of the wider shots in the airport. The diner stuff was very nice, and I have to say, I'm still trying to get the point of the surf? The aspect ratio/scaling changed, so I know it's from a differant format; but it just kinda stuck out to me?
Perhaps try to organize it like this:
Natural things (landscapes etc)
People in places (speaking)
moving shots?

just a thought, and then play around with it from there.


Now, don't take any of this to mean that there wasn't some good footage in there; but I think it's best to point out the bad, so it can be more easily targeted.
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#7 Mike Lary

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:56 PM

Thanks, Walter. I'll find different music and re-edit. Do you have any suggestions on codecs? I've been using Sorenson 3 at medium quality through Compressor and haven't found anything comparable.
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#8 Mike Lary

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 02:03 PM

Thanks, Adrian. I'll give H264 a try. The diner shot aspect ratio switch is something I need to fix. The finished product was cropped to 2:35 and I mixed dailies with final edit by accident. It took so long to render the file that I didn't think it would be worth fixing and re-exporting - given that I expected I'd be tearing it apart after critique. I'd added the airport shot because David Mullen suggested I have more window shots, but if that shot isn't up to par I'll take it out. What was it you didn't find interesting, the composition, overall aesthetic?
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 02:09 PM

As for balancing window/int, it looks wonderful, it just didn't really focus in on one thing; if that makes any sense? and it looked slightly too green (int) for my liking. I think just a pinch more definition in it to direct my eye might've helped, so I would say it's nothing wrong aesthetically or compositionally, it's just that for me it didn't resonate? If that makes any sense.

the h.264 is what I use for my reel, and it's nice. It also helps to get rid of the interlacing artifacts.
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