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i hate reels!


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#1 Sam Kim

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:06 PM

am i the only one?
i think a dp's job, for narrative shorts and features, work doesn't really get shown by a reel. the reel is more of a flashy thing that shows you can get "cool" shots. story telling isn't dictated by "cool" shots alone.

sorry... just thought i'd vent.
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:32 PM

Well, a DP reel should show several things, IMO. One it should establish that the DP has a good eye for composition, that can be a cool shot here and there. Two, it should show a DP can light a scene, this should be a couple of shots showing the consistency of the lighting throughout. Three, it should show diversity in style, subject matter and formats. And so on, but any extras are gravy and may even be superfluous.

In the age of DVDs and the internet, the reel should aim at selling the DP in no less than 30 secs. Then links to the longer pieces are a bonus, for those who would like to watch more at length pieces. But ultimately very few people choose a DP based on a reel alone. It is just part of the overall package and it becomes an asset when someone, like an agent can send / show it to prospective clients who may be interested in hiring a DP. Unfortunately, this business is really "who you know" more than "what you know" at least when starting out. Sort of a little necessary evil. ;)

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 21 April 2010 - 04:36 PM.

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#3 Gregory Middleton

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 05:10 PM

A reel is often a first impression, nothing more. Try and think of it that way. What would you want to show and why are the important questions.
They are a necessity because few people when considering someone new will take the time to watch complete works at first.

Well, a DP reel should show several things, IMO. One it should establish that the DP has a good eye for composition, that can be a cool shot here and there. Two, it should show a DP can light a scene, this should be a couple of shots showing the consistency of the lighting throughout. Three, it should show diversity in style, subject matter and formats. And so on, but any extras are gravy and may even be superfluous.

In the age of DVDs and the internet, the reel should aim at selling the DP in no less than 30 secs. Then links to the longer pieces are a bonus, for those who would like to watch more at length pieces. But ultimately very few people choose a DP based on a reel alone. It is just part of the overall package and it becomes an asset when someone, like an agent can send / show it to prospective clients who may be interested in hiring a DP. Unfortunately, this business is really "who you know" more than "what you know" at least when starting out. Sort of a little necessary evil. ;)


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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 05:47 PM

A reel is often a first impression, nothing more. Try and think of it that way. What would you want to show and why are the important questions.
They are a necessity because few people when considering someone new will take the time to watch complete works at first.


I used to think that, but talking to a lot of producers changed my mind. Over the years I have prepped a lot of shows and have gotten first hand experience as to how executive producers select DPs for interviews for anything between a $20 thousand dollar commercial to $20 million + features and believe you me, most of them are not impressed by some "cool looking" demo reel, beyond "that is cool looking." There are so many other considerations to hiring a DP that it really is disheartening for someone starting out. So the "first impression" is now more like "I am cramming everything I can to sell myself as a DP" effort. ;)

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 23 April 2010 - 05:51 PM.

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