Best Showreel Practices

19th December 2018

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When you work in the video industry, whether it is in film, television or any other area, it is vital to sell yourself the best you can. A decent showreel is essential for any creative professional, especially if you want to secure more work and new clients. Your showreel is often one of the first things that potential customers will see of your work, and it is important that you showcase yourself in the best possible way and make it really stand out. It should highlight the most up to date and powerful pieces of your work and skills, and with so much competition in the industry, it is more important than ever to make a showreel that really captures the audience. This guide covers the best showreel practices, to make a really great showreel that is sure to get you noticed.


Think outside the box

The majority of showreels out there today are simply a fast-paced montage of the best music and visuals you can get your hands on. As with anything, there are trends for showreels, and whilst it is important to keep up with these trends, it is also important to try to think outside the box and come up something unique. Try ditching the montage idea, or if you have to have a montage, incorporate some individual music or visuals that make your showreel really stand out. You should think of a showreel as being a trailer for your work, and the best trailers are always the ones that bring something different to the table. Try to keep your showreel fun and show off your creative style using your own unique flare.


Put your best foot forward

People don’t spend much time watching videos these days, and your audience will hit stop as soon as they see one thing they don’t absolutely love. Always put your very best content at the beginning of your showreel to try to get your audience hooked, the chances are once they have watched the first 10 seconds they will be invested to keep watching to the end. The key here is to make sure they don’t switch off in that first 10 seconds, try quick visuals with gripping music to introduce your showreel to your audience.


Keep it short and sweet

Your audiences time is precious, and the most common mistake that is made in showreels is that they are simply too long. The idea is to leave your audience wanting more, instead of them switching off early. Make sure your showreel is no longer than 3 to 4 minutes long, as anything above this can cause people to switch off. It isn’t always easy to fit everything you want to show off in such a small space of time, but it is a great way of only showing the very best of your work.


Think about video quality

The chances are, your showreel is going to be viewed online, and it is vital that you encode the video to be in the best possible quality for online playback. Brush up on your compression techniques and make sure to balance visual quality with download speed and playback performance. YouTube has become the norm for online video these days, and your audience will expect a video quality that is better than what they can find from amateurs on social media channels.


Choose complimentary music

The background music to your showreel is just as important as the visuals, and it is important that the music you choose communicates the message you want to give. Experiment with various different styles and genres and see what works best alongside your chosen video content. It can be tempting to use your current favourite tune or a popular song in the charts, but using a well-known song can look very amateur so be careful it really works with your video. You should also bear in mind that a lot of people now watch video online without any audio, so you should make sure your showreel is effective both with and without sound.


Swap your showreel for a portfolio

Many video editors are choosing to swap their showreel for a full portfolio of work instead. Any amateur can cut a video montage and add some backing music, but that doesn’t always give a good indication of your editing skills. Instead of one showreel, consider having a full portfolio that prospective clients can browse through as they please. It is often a good idea to have one showreel for if clients specifically request one, and to include on your website, but also offer up a full portfolio of your skills on top of this.


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