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Andrew Ko

Please Critique My Student Reel

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This is my cinematography reel coming out of a film school in Toronto.
Please let me know what you think!

Reckon I could get any work with this?



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Did you just graduate? If so, congrats!

There's a lot of strong work here. The song you chose is excellent and the overall length is perfect. (The sweet spot is 60 secs to 90 secs)

I'd cut all dialogue and do just the music. Believe it or not, dialogue during a DP reel turns away producers/directors.

Here are some major cut ideas:

0:00 - The slate bit is a nice flair. I'd cut right when the sticks slap

~0:02 - Immediately after the sticks slap, you should cut to your strongest shot.

In general, a reel is a losing battle for the viewer's attention. Most producers/directors are viewing hundreds of reels at a time and are essentially giving you 7 seconds to convince them to either watch another 7 seconds or convince them to interview you. With that in mind, you need to front load your reel with the best shots first, regardless of some sort of chronological order. You've only got 7 seconds and even that is generous.

Here are what I think your strongest shots are (it's my opinion, take what you will):

  • 0:06 - silhouette of lighting incense
  • 0:08 - zoom in on guy with binoculars from exterior
  • 0:23 - no dialogue version of this shot. great for music video directors
  • 1:01 - push in on man in beanie
  • 1:15 - woman opening door
  • 1:17 - cut on action of this shot to connect 1:15


Here are other notes:

  • Even if you remove the audio, people talking still looks weird on a reel. I recommend choosing parts of a shot where the character(s) aren't talking. It's an off-putting psychological effect for most viewers
  • Don't put any sort of a year on a reel because it instantly out dates you. You want them to think this is recent work, even if one of your best shots is a decade old
  • Do you have a website? I'd also put that on the reel with your email/phone
  • Like the s8/s16 scans where you see the sprockets, the VHS footage is interesting, but only for a specific crowd (ie music videos). If you are going to have VHS footage, make it look really interesting. Maybe shoot a BS sunset shot? As is, the shot you've chosen doesn't reflect how strong your work is.
  • Some shots are good but too dark (ie 0:26 of the John Wick looking dude). If you have the OG files, I'd working on them. 🙂

Strong work, keep it up!

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