Crafting Your Perfect Showreel

We’ve just dropped our first showreel as Spinning Shapes. After completing the edit today, I thought I’d break down the process for videographers who are looking to create their own.

Step 1 – Before the Edit

Make sure that you have a large folder full of shots! Actors & crew members should be asking editors or producers to send copies. For auteurs and editors, I’m sure you’ll have drives to dig out.

If you are creating short films to pack out your reel, bare cinematography in mind. There’s no point shooting against a plain white wall if you are planning on using the image without audio. Get creative!

Step 2 – Your Message

Our 2021 showreel features a couple of striking sentences that sum up our company’s services and ethos. You could choose to write more and use voiceover, film a scene as part of the showreel or even break the fourth wall. Don’t just talk to the camera though!

The point is, even those that love to critique cinematography will appreciate your showreel more if you’ve clearly given it some love. You may have potential clients that aren’t even fussed about video quality or crazy camera techniques. Sometimes, people just need something done right. If you can demonstrate that whilst showing off your skills, you’ve made a great showreel.

Step 3 – The Edit

If you are going down the music route (we did), find a song that you like! We decided to stick with a fun, modern and inspiring electronic track that successfully gave me an awesome feeling the first time I listened to it. Our message is intriguing and an optimistic read for the viewer – the song needs to match.

Put your best shots forward. Don’t expect your viewers to watch the whole thing.

If your first four or five shots are stunning, everyone will see them.

You might have a shot of an actor lighting a cigarette (it’s a filmmaker stereotype at this point), use it but don’t linger on the shot. Don’t force the viewer to watch a shot out of context for ten seconds, even if the smoke looks cool.

Step 4 – Where to Release

it goes without saying, your website is a must. Nowadays you can feature videos on social platforms. Don’t get too precious about your 1,000 views being in one place. 500 views from five big networks is just as good! Make sure your thumbnail looks good and your description is tidier than this article (not hard).

I wish you all the best of luck in creating your showreel. If you are new to the game, send over what you’ve got to and I’ll be happy to take a look and help out.

– Ed