Demo Reel Critiques – Episode 5

December 10, 2009 - By 

Today, I have my friend Brad Chmielewski help me out with the next set of reel critiques. Brad is ALL OVER the internet doing some great work. he works at Daily Planet as a Motion Designer. He runs a blog called Digitalhitchhiker. AND, he has a Beer Tasting Podcast called the HopCast. You can follow him on twitter here and you can see his latest spot for Groupon, here. Whew! After all that, click play and watch us critique the following three reels…

Kyle Richtsfeld
Andrew Cornett
Hein Lagerweij

New to the reel critiques? Make sure you check out the Reel Critique Rules and Overview

  • Have a client project coming up that is very similar in nature to that Groupon spot…great work, thanks for the inspiration!

  • You guys made a good crit team.

  • I’m just starting to make some motion graphics work. You were discussing whether to sprinkle or maybe draw out portions of clips in a reel. My opinion is to maybe allow for the clip to play out a little longer than to sprinkle it throughout the reel. It’s obviously something you’re concerned about cause it’s mentioned in every one of your critiques for the most part. For an example of what I’m talking about, check out my post
    Your mentioned in the post gorilla but talking more about reel length. Would love to hear your feedback in both regards.

  • Nicely done. I’ve been searching through all your Cinema4D tutorials for a particular session you once did where you showed us how to export a Cinema 4D render into sections: i.e Shadows, Objects, Background, etc. and imported the render into Photoshop and tweaked each of those layers separately. Where is that tutorial on your Blog? I can’t find it to save the life of me. Thank you.

  • My comment is towards Heins reel. I think the ending would be stronger if you had your name & info come up in that 3D clip rather than having that cut to the pink lettering on white.

  • I love starting my day just watching reel critiques. Gets me creative. So my suggestion for you to be able to get through them all, how about just critiquing one or two reels per day? A nice creative 10-20 minute morning show for all your watchers 🙂 And don’t do it all on your own, get some help.

    Great stuff, good comments and great reels.
    Bye 🙂

  • Hey Nick,

    Wow, Thanks so much for the critique! A lot has been in the works since then so be ready to see a new 2010 reel soon!

    I am a big fan of this site and have learned a ton about the industry through your postings and references to inspirational content. Thanks again for the feedback & keep up the good work!


    Extreme does rock! 🙂

  • Nice reel critique session Nick and Brad. I think the idea of having more than on people reviewing is a nice one and it will help get more views on one reel. Keep them coming.
    Only a few hundred to go.


  • Hi Nick! Thanks a lot for the critique, I can definately use it! I actually changed it quite a bit with 5 second projects a good while ago, the flv on my site is the new one but somehow the I forgot to update the .mov.
    But thanks again!

  • hi nick!,I am new in this of 3D, well… no much from 2008 XD, this is my clip:

    for you next episode critique please!!!!

    ok peace out!!! great blog!

  • Hi GSC,

    please destroy my reel! There you go:

  • Hey Nick,
    Love the critiques! They usually seem to find a happy medium between being critical in a negative way, and overly positive in a not so helpful way. It’s hard to walk that line, but you’re doing very well at it.

    On the reel critiques there is frequent discussion about “spec” pieces. I noticed you, and your guests usually assume that a spot is for spec work, if it is for a company that doesn’t generally do commercial work, or if the spot looks outside a branding campaign. However, there is a ton of work that is done in the realm of motion, that is never intended for traditional TV commercial use. A lot of the spots that look like spec to you, could have easily been done for pitch work, presentations, internal corporate use, or even retail or mobile advertising. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you’re not aware of, but there’s a huge variety of motion graphic delivery platforms, other than TV broadcast.

    Thanks for all the great content on your sites! It’s pure awesome!

    • Great points Frankie. While I agree that there is a HUGE variety of work and platforms, you have to be aware that it’s hard to explain that to potential clients or bosses. There are no cover letters with reels. This one minute piece is all you have to impress them. And when they ask, “When did that Reese’s Spot air?” it’s hard to explain that is really isn’t a Reese’s spot or that it was used for a pitch.

      Reading that back, It’s not well written on my part. This is why I have a VIDEO blog 🙂 Maybe I can do a quick video on this topic. In fact. I will…

    • True, didn’t even think about it being pitch work or internal presentations and I should of since I have a good portion of that kinda work in my reel.

  • Hey Nick,

    would love a tasty c4d-tut! A massive one 😉

    Great site, great work. Keep it up.

  • I knew Sweetwater was a familiar beer name. A guy I know in Atlanta works in the brewery.

  • Hey Nick!

    I would love to get some feedback on my 2008 Motion Graphics Reel. I’ve been watching these Demo Reel Critique posts and they are great!

    I plan on building a new one for 2009 and I would like to use your critique for improving on Reel development.

    Here is mine:

    Thank you!

  • check out my mates reel and tell me what you think.

  • Great critique as always.

    Nick, I have to agree, Extreme are one of my guilty pleasures too. In fact my wife tracked down one of Nuno Bettencourts guitars at a rock city and bought for me as a wedding present.


  • Help me out here?
    How can you watch sound bytes of pieces and
    critique them as if they were the entire work. It is like taking a fork full of food and commenting about the entire meal or like looking at one piece of a campaign and commenting on the entire campaign.
    Is it just me or are reels becoming an art form unto them selves just work motioned together from a lot of unrelated parts put to music. How about including some complete pieces?
    I wouldn’t decide on the value of a movie based on just the trailer!

    • That’s just it, Tom. Reels ARE trailers. They aren’t intended to show off the full piece. They should tease your work and give a quick peek into how great you are.

      Potential employers probably wont finish watching your reel, let alone watch full pieces. Sure, the full animation may be great, but the best 5 seconds of that piece better be on your reel or it won’t be seen by people who are hiring.

      Let’s be clear, I am trying to make REELS better. The reel should stand on it’s own as a way to show off the best of your work. When it comes to reels, It’s ALL about the snippets and about how they work together… Never the full spots.

    • Maybe think of it as speed dating.

      If I don’t happen to see something in the 1 – 2 minute reel that I really liked then the chances of watching more are slim.

    • Thanks guys for the response.
      In a nutshell synopsis, I especially like, “how to make speed dating better”!

  • Hi Nick,

    here is my new reel for 2010 fresh out of the render queue.

    I’d be glad if you had time to take a close look at it…c’mon rip it apart already 🙂

    Cheers Guido

  • hi the gorilla!
    heres one for you.
    Is it ok to use a commercial music track from a well known artist to use in your motion design showreel?
    (if you have not got the permission or clearance?)
    I have seen reels from companies that use commercial music, but am not sure whether they have permission or not.
    I am only a one man band motion design freelancer, and stock sites are crap.

  • Hey Nick!

    This is my reel. would love to get some critique on it. peace.

  • I know it’s quite an old post, but how comes none of you didn’t point on ripped Beilef’s zoom stuff in first reel?

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

  • the reel critique videos were the best part about your website .. i truly enjoyed them ..

    please bring them back .

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