‘Showreels’ were around long before we had heard of them, used by everyone from production companies to performers to showcase what they could do and the work they had done.
If we were going to get really picky about things, we should start by saying an actual showreel should be made up of professional work. 9 times out of 10, the ‘showreels’ we see are infact just promotional videos and contain no professional work at all.
Anyway – that’s not too important, we’re certainly not going to refuse to watch a video just because of what you call it and we doubt anyone else would either.
Putting aside what you may or may not call your video, these tips are here for the videos used to promote yourself as an artist or performer, the videos showing what you can do, containing clips from training and that give companies like us an insight in to your ability, style and looks. It should be said that sometimes you will be requested for specific parts of a video, to demonstrate absolutely everything – but these tips are for more generic purposes and the types that we see every day.
Our top 6 tips for creating a personal video are:
Don’t make it too long. 2 – 3 minutes is plenty. We love acrobatics, we love sports, we love videos, but we often don’t have time to watch something even 2 minutes long, especially if it isn’t sensational! If that’s us – imagine a director having a huge list to watch!
2. Get the action going – leave video descriptions to do the rest
Sure, put your name at the beginning if you like, but the truth is you need to have sold it to the audience that it’s worth sitting through the rest of the video after 30 seconds – get the action in, do it quickly.
OK this may be us being picky again and a bad quality video packed with great content is always going to trump a video containing bad content, even if it’s shot in 8K and going to be screened in the iMax . But better quality = professionalism, and it’s easier to watch! So make it as good as you can.
4. Slow motion
Every time you go to slow something down, ask yourself if you really need to. If you think the answer is yes, think again to make sure. Bear in mind you have those 2 – 3 minutes, slow even half of that down to 50%, you’ve got a video on your hands that is 3 – 5 minutes long – too much! There are times slow motion is good, but no one is going to miss it if you don’t bother.
5. Cut, cut, cut
You’re demonstrating your physical ability here, not how good you are (or not) in an edit suite. Clean and simple wins. The first thing anyone who has any experience thinks when they see a cut is that something went wrong or you didn’t land it – people want to see the whole skill, if they know you can do it, they’ll be the ones making it look fancy and cutting between angles.
6. Remember your audience
Think about who you’re aiming your video at. You need demonstrate your versatility and fit in with what others are looking for. That’s much easier said than done of course, especially when you only have a couple of minutes. It’s easy to forget some people watching won’t know you – look at it from their point of view and make sure your strengths are highlighted!
Take what must be the most successful video involving acrobatics out there, or at least the one we hear about the most and from what we can see, has the most views, currently standing at 16.3m hits – Damien Walters 2010. It’s less than 3 minutes (and it’s not exactly like he’s going to be short of footage), action starts in less than 15 seconds, no overuse of slow motion and we can see every skill. Alright, that’s not what has caused 16 million people to watch it, it’s the fact the content is awesome and Damien is incredibly creative, but it’s a great example that more people should take a lead from:
What really counts…
Although this is our first blog post, you’ll notice our future posts will come down to this same point – content is king. You can follow our tips to make a showreel perfectly – but at the end of the day it’s the content that really matters!