Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Feature Reels


Hello everyone!

What is the best way to show features on a demo reel?

Is it better to just show trailers?

Or is it better to do several clips or scenes?
And if so, what would be the recommended time allotted for each clip?

Should the trailer follow the clip?

Love to hear what others think.

Jeff Barklage, s.o.c.
US based DP
view reel :

This is a great question.

In the past I've sent out a DVD with clips from each movie I worked on, playing in one continuous 7 minute piece.

I'd love to know what other DP's are up to with this. A menu based DVD?

Kurt Rauf
Las Vegas, NV

>I'd love to know what other DP's are up to with this. A menu based DVD?

I've got a single DVD that I send out. It's got a reel of narrative work, a reel of music videos, a reel of commercials and a reel of B&W work. For each of them, I have a single play-through reel (for the narrative reel it's about 7 pieces; 6 minutes worth), as well as a menu of individual clips (which includes some stuff that's not in the play-through). All the narrative clips are either trailers or parts of the whole film, not montages, as I find that my work looks better in the context of the story it was shot to support than it does in the context of a bunch of random cool looking shots.

How about the rest of you?


Frazer Bradshaw
DP San Francisco

>I'd love to know what other DP's are up to with this. A menu based DVD?

I just finished updating my reel, and I did the following...

On the main menu, there is a "commercial works" button and a "narrative works" button with the title, "Showreel 2005". On the commercial works page, there are 2 buttons- you can choose to "View Commercial Reel" which is a montage of my best shots edited to music, and it times out at just under 2 minutes. Or you can choose to "View Commercials" and there I put my favourite 7 commercials. Or, from the main menu you can choose my "Narrative Works" which takes you to a page with two buttons- "View Narrative Reel" (which is a montage, 1:17 in length) or "View films" which takes you to a page with 4 clips to choose from. One is a short film, less than 7 minutes long. Another short film- 11 minutes long.. A scene I shot from a feature that I shot- about 2 minutes, and another scene from a TV show I did- about 1:30.

It's very easy to navigate, despite the way my descriptions may read and each side (commercial vs. narrative) has its own distinct look in terms of menu backgrounds and colors, so it's easy to see which part of the reel you are "in" from the look (if that makes sense).

For this market, I think it's good that I have both my narrative works and my commercial works on the same DVD show reel- if I were in LA right now I would not put everything on the same DVD but here it sells me well and people are interested in seeing a wide range of the styles that I can do. I thought long and hard about making 2 separate reels, but this seems to be a good solution based on feedback.

Toby Birney
Director of Photography
Vilnius, Lithuania

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