A video portfolio or show reel as they used to be called is an important way to introduce your capabilities to prospective clients. It should reflect both the qualities you want to project as well as the skills you posses as a media producer.
The principles of visual design covered by both Alyssa and Brigid in their presentations are equally valid when considering how you will present your video work in a DVD or online context.
The first question to ask your self is, what is the most effective and efficient way to get potential employers to see your work?
I came across this little take as an answer to this question;
It is so much easier for both of us if you can send a link through an email or iChat that leads us to your work rather than physically mail us a DVD and a resume. Your best bet for getting a job? Make it easy for us to see your great work.
I don’t quite agree with the conclusion that a DVD show reel is a waste of time as it may be the only way to give a detailed view of your work.
So this is your starting point. Considering what is the best medium to showcase your talents and what kinds of content are best suited to the medium you are working in, whether its online or DVD.
DVD or online portfolio?
In my experience both are worthwhile and can serve different purposes. In general people who spend a great deal of time online will be more inclined to click on a link taking them directly to your site. Keeping them there long enough to view the work is another matter. The obvious downside is slow network speed if your site is video heavy and should be a primary concern if you are relying entirely on an online portfolio. Few people will hang around if your videos are taking forever to download. A major advantage though is that your content can be updated instantly and when ever necessary.
Using online video services such as youTube or Vimeo is fine for showing work to your friends but can be slow and are generally not enough if you want to be taken seriously as a media producer. A coherent and well presented online portfolio containing a showcase of your skills will say much more about who you are and how serious you are about your work.
Where to start?
The Online Portfolio
The best place to start is by looking at examples of portfolios to begin to form ideas of the style and content that will best suit your individual approach.
A recent favourite is the showcase for gKaster. The aesthetic choices made by the site designers reflect perfectly the style this production house employ in their work. The end result “feels” cohesive and uniform and the viewer is left with a strong impression of the kind of work they would get from these producers. An important thing to note also is that although they clearly employ very talented designers the site is well laid out and easy to navigate, they haven’t tried to use navigational tricks to look different. The essence is to show case the work and the site design and architecture should facilitate this.
Tahl Niran is a video effects producer and has taken a very simple approach to showcasing some of his work online. The site contains just basic contact information and a download of a traditional linear video clip showing samples of his work.
Here is a sample listing of some up to date design styles worth looking at to get some ideas;
Blu art portfolio (Courtesy of EMPA newsletter)
Here are some valuable suggestions to consider before diving in and building that killer portfolio;
Of course not everyone has the necessary skills to put together a wonderful online showcase. From that point of view a DVD is easier to build and there are a lot less compatibility and technical issues to deal with.
An interim alternative to getting a quick online presence may be to try a service such a Wix.com which provide the facility to build and host your own online portfolio for free. In choosing such a service make sure that the templates they provide are very customizable and there is little or no intrusive advertising pop-ups etc. Relying on a template provider is not recommended long term though, especially if you are wanting to establish yourself as a freelancer.
A DVD can serve two important functions. It gives the ability to include high quality full screen video content that is instantly accessible as opposed to slow to download heavily pixelated small screen videos. (Be aware though that compression techniques and download speeds are improving all the time)
As DVD and increasingly Blu-ray are still important means for delivering high quality video content, the ability to put together a well designed ad structured disk is an important skill to posses and if you have one of your work to give out it will not be lost on potential employers or clients. Of course they are still portable and so can be viewed on the road or at home and makes a nice impression when handing over a well packed DVD that can be kept for future reference.
Always remember though that few beyond family and friends will make the time to sit down to watch long videos. A show reel is essential a highlights package of the work you have done to that point in time. The idea is to carefully select segments of work that reflect your range of skills and to put them together in a creative and compelling way that will maintain interest whilst also displaying how wonderful a video producer you are!
Apart from the overall design and content of your portfolio the most important feature is the organisation of information. If content is difficult to find or poorly organised a viewer is likely to get frustrated very quickly and not bother at all. The onus is on you as the one wanting to present your material to make it as accessible as possible. Planning your site or disk layout is an essential part of ensuring that the viewer feels they are able to effortlessly navigate through your content without feeling like they have had to decode a cryptic map!