Demo Reel Critiques: Episode 4

October 26, 2009 - By 

Chad Ashley from Digital Kitchen and joins me to help critique four more reels for episode 4 of GSG reel critiques.

In this episode we critique the following reels…

Also, the critique shouldn’t stop here. I would love to hear what you think about the reels or about my critique. If you want your reel reviewed, head on over to the Original Hardcore Reel Critique post and drop a link to your reel in the comments.

  • This is great!

  • Fantastic to have the 3D lead in there also this time… lot of constructive comments and two POV is twice as good. Thanks Nick & DK!

  • Nice work – good to see co-host, Nick.

  • Love this so much. There is one suggestion I have. You spend a lot of time on what doesn’t work and it’s usually something that was a tutorial or it’s over done. Could you also pick the best things in a persons reel and talk about why they work. Kinda back to your process of asking “why?”

  • Very useful critiques, thanks Nick and Chad for this, and the reels authors of course.

  • Really interesting! Keep up the good work on this reel critique thing, it’s very useful. Thanks.

  • Thanx Nick and Chad its realy intresting on hearing what you think about diffrent pieces of work it realy helps pepole to understand what employes may be looking for.
    Great of you to take the time to do this thanx again………..

  • I really like these reel critiques. I’m glad you touched on adding before and after, or behind the scenes stuff. I’m always afraid to just show a finished comp because people wonder what the hell you did to the scene.

  • The two-minutes-long critique about how or why you should include a 3D image piece in your reel was a bit off.
    You say maybe he should show both (with and without). I think he does show both in the most compact way possible. By including both eyes simultaneously he isn’t shooting himself in the foot– the work is clearly discernible as an image and as a 3D image. Clients seeking stereoscopic motion designers won’t disparage. Everyone else won’t faint dead.

    It sounds like I’m defending, but I’m not trying to. I think you’re correct 99.9% of the time, this point was needlessly drawn out though.

  • So helpful! Really cool to hear a second opinion on the reel critiques!
    Hey Nick, I think I´m gonna dump my TV… and watch all the videos on your websites instead…

  • hi nick. thanks a lot for picking my reel. i’m just a student, so im very happy that you criticize my first reel. getting good critique is so rare.
    my name sounds like ‘telo’ in german, but see you fighting with my name was very funny.
    and thanks to chad
    now its time for a beer

    (sorry for germenglish)

  • thanks for critiquing my reel as well. It was great to get input from you and Chad.

    that stop motion piece was definitely an homage to that witches short Chad mentioned..

    and lots of good feedback to work into the next version.

    thanks again!

  • Very cool critiquing peoples work. This episode I had to stop watching, “you know…” Because, “you know” was said so frequently it was too distracting. Never noticed it before. Just a friendly critique. Your dialog is usually more broadcast-like, I guess or more professional sounding? Anyway something to keep in mind.

    Still a big thanks for all the stuff on your site here. I’ve learned some great techniques from you.

  • Cool as usual:O)
    Thanks a lot :O)

    40 min for 4 reels it’s kind of long. I would say too long.
    You should ether do only 2 reels at the time or spend less time on each reel.
    But once again it’s just my point of view :O)

  • The stop motion short [or pixilation for that specific kind of stop motion] that is talking about for the piece at the end of the first reel critiqued is Gisèle Kerosen from Jan Kounen, an amazing 1989 short film.
    I think it’s awsome!

    And now I go back watching the rest of the critique… Quite long, especially with Firefox crashing all the time!

  • So, first off, Thanks Nick and Chad for the critique. What you didn’t shine new light on you confirmed as soft spots that I need to improve and that’s truly valuable. so again…HUGE Thanks for reviewing my reel.

    that said, in regards to what it is that I do. I work at an interactive ad agency. My title is Motion Designer, but I’m really one of a 4 man team that makes up the “video swiss army knife” of my office. as such I do motion, compositing, a wide range of 3d jobs, etc… my passion is compositing and visual effects, but my job really does require me to do everything.

    It’s also the reason for that “claustrophobic” feeling you kept referring too. about 90% of my work is for websites. and it wasn’t until recently that we started working in standard sizes and scaling/cropping it to fit the sites later. And because of this, 90% of the stuff in my reel is work that’s framed in site UI. It’s tricky to cut around. in fact the shot of the girl on the green background has a green vignette around her…you just don’t notice in the edit.

    The most useful bit of feedback I got out of the review was the comment about specifying what exactly I did for each project. the way I have my portfolio set up is so that (Ideally) people who see my site / reel, will get driven to my blog which contains detailed descriptions of everything I’ve done. In seeing that you and Chad were a bit confused by what exactly I do, I know that I need to either specify in the reel or be clearer about driving traffic to my blog.

    If you (or anyone else reading this) is curious you can get all the details on these and a few newer projects, you can read about them at my blog

    Thanks again for your time and your comments. I’m bookmarking this page for the next time I cut my reel.

  • That was another great reel critique Nick, I’m glad your buddy was involved aswell. I always like these and pretty much most of the stuff you do (I’m just not that big on photography…yet) so it being 40 mins long is definitely a bonus, I think most people will see it that way aswell. I’ve only been doing 3d/AE for aboot 18 months so my own reel is pretty flimsy. Anywho I just got offered the opportunity to be the Subject of a Q&A infront of a bunch of students (good money too) and if I hadn’t watched alot of your stuff I doubt I would have the confidence to do that… I’m not trying to steal your shit but I’m going to stress the importance of an online portfolio/reel as I think this is some of the most valuable advice there is. Plus I’m going to be directing everyone I speak to straight here so it wouldn’t be too smart to plagiarise anywho… Hopefully get you 40 or so more followers to boot.

    Many thanks on a great show as always


    • I don’t know if you and Nick know each other or live close by, but it’s a free market dude. As long as you use your own work and words, whatever gigs you can get speaking to students or doing client work or whatever is a very good thing. Even if it’s at TAIC or Columbia or someplace close. 🙂 For any given Adobe program or Maxon program or whatever there are literally hundreds of talented people out there, writing books, teaching classes at cc and high schools, giving talks, doing videos… so it’s all good IMHO (I’m sure Nick would agree).

      Also it’s important to remember that whatever you’re teaching or talking about, very little of what you say will be 100% new or innovative. Just like there are dozens of books out there that cover the exact same Photoshop features in different ways and in different combinations, there are 100 different ways to describe AE or getting a job or working with MoGraph. But nothing you’re going to say hasn’t been said already by some professor or professional out there. It’s all about timing and today’s context.

      And nothing wrong with promoting Nick’s site but promote your own too. It’s not like you’re swiping a speaking gig from Nick or anything. 🙂

    • Well said, VancouverMan. Go ahead and rock that speech Lawrence. The more knowledge the better. Let me know how it goes.

  • Nick, I have a request/idea for these Critiques. First off they are a great idea and we are all learning SO much by hearing feedback from somebody like yourself.
    For all us Newbies or basically anybody who is still trying to get to a higher level, I would love to hear you describe a bit about what it is the person probably had to do to achieve certain effects or peices. small comments like, “here it looks like he created a 3D model and then composited in AE,” this part here has great color correction you can tell that he spent much time to perfect the ‘look’.
    An example of a post you put up once which really changed everything for me was about that one kid who posted a screenshot of his AE app opened and you can see the MILLION keyframes it took him to accomplish his animation.
    This opened my eyes, of course with YOU pointing it out, that if you want to achieve something like what that guy did (it was an animation with a few simple shapes bouncing everywhere like a bugs bunny cartoon as you put it).
    These are the types of comments and insights I think EVERYBODY will benefit from and help give us direction as to what it takes to do a certain look.
    I know it may no tbe the focus of these critiques but it would be nice if it could be thrown in there a bit so that we can learn some “secrets” as how to go about certain projects.
    Myabe this is an idea for a whole new show! “HOW DID THEY DO THAT” (or at least one possibly way that Nick the Great thinks they possibly could have done that.)

  • Great episode…was nice to see the interaction between you and Chad. Alot of great advice…

    I love watching reel critique while munching on my Cherios in the morning….and yes, sometimes I watch it naked….EEEEEEKKKKKK!

    Great stuff Nick, Thanks…

  • I know some people were commenting about the need for being ‘positive’ and including comments that would make people feel better but don’t listen to those crybabies. What you are doing is right and important, cut to the chase, in the end, I believe that the ones who understand what this is about will not mind having their work analyzed. I think it’s all about getting to the point and not sugar-coating anything, I am about to finish school and i’m tired of all the sugar-coating, let’s get REEL (hehe) people!

    • Thanks, Bobby. I will definitely keep it critical, but maybe saying something about WHY something is good is helpful too?

      I should have called it “REAL critiques” hehe

    • Good shout Bobby, there’s plenty of people not getting jobs out there because they’ve been told by friends/tutors their stuff’s amazing…
      Also, I hadn’t thought about it until this thread but some evaluation from a designer on the more successful pieces on these reels would actually be extremely useful. But apart from that, at the start you said you were going to be honest about the reels, so anything less than that would be teaching people to be inadequate.

  • Ok first thing americans say ”you know” ALOT :D.

    But i enjoyed watching this both you and chad gave some really good insight on things so thanks once again.

  • Rickard Bengtsson October 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Gonna have to disagree with “Bubunya” I love the fact that it’s long. I always look forward to this segment on the site.

    It was great getting double opinions as well, you know…

  • Stuck in Australia with a crappy connection, this video is too long for me to download =( You should put of torrents of your videos Nick =P

    I’m going to keep trying, though. Love your site.

  • @7:28 A lot of people say they don’t listen to the music when looking for technical capabilities in a reel.

    –I think Chad makes a great point here, but I think timing your work to flow with the tempo of music can actually improve the overall flow in the absence of music as well. From the other perspective (volume up): watching a reel that doesn’t seem to interact with the audio portion can be very disappointing, even if the work is good.

    I guess what I’m saying is there are _only_ advantages to using the beat of an audio track to draw in your viewer.

  • This site’s a great place to be. Full of knowledge at any post and good vibes. Wise advises. Thanks and keep it up!

  • Hello, Thank you for commenting my work. really appreciate.
    I just graduate in Graphic design and def still looking for the right direction and experimenting a lot!

  • I’d love to get some feedback on my reel. Thanks!

  • Hi Nick. I hope you can critique my reel.

    Thanks and keep coming those great tutorials.

  • Hi from Paris Nick,
    here is my 2010 reel:
    all comments are welcome!

  • Best videos ive found on any vfx /motion fx websites ..

    please go back to critique videos ..

  • actually . thank god there isnt more of these critique vids because id never get any work done

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