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A Masterclass In Building a Motion Graphics Reel

Jonny Elwyn

Take a masterclass in building your motion graphics reel to sell yourself in the right way.

Whether you are a motion graphics artist, film editor, colorist or director of photography, more often than not your reel is a vital part of your ability to get work. Knowing how to build a reel by picking the right music, selecting the right shots, setting the pace, flow and chronology of the reel and understanding how all these things will be subconsciously interpreted by the viewer is a dark art. Thankfully Carey Smith from Division05 has put together a superb extensive masterclass that takes you through all you need to do, step-by-step, to create a killer reel.

Although the following videos are aimed at a motion graphics user, there is zero reason that editors, directors of photography or anyone else building a reel cannot take away valuable gems from this series!

In Part 1 Carey sets the stage for the process by inviting a willing volunteer to submit their current reel and all of their portfolio footage to be made over in his professional hands. It’s fascinating to see where the reel started compared to where it eventually ends up. To see the final re-imagined reel jump to 5:25 in Part 4 – the last video below.

Building a Winning Reel from Scratch

In Part 2 Carey works through several different music tracks to select the right one and dissects the pros and cons of each one, working out the overall pace and feel, where the breaks and builds are and much more.

First impressions count and in part 3 Carey starts by building an opening title card to set the stage for the rest of the reel. It’s brilliant to be able to see his very detailed work in sketching out ideas, what worked and what didn’t, and to hear all of the thought that went into the logo design. In the second half of part 3, Carey starts the edit of the reel and explains why it’s so crucial to get right so your audience is engaged from the start.

Why put so much effort into the intro?… The point is the audience is meeting you for the first time, and it’s probably in the context of seeing a whole lot of other reels, and so you need to be able to differentiate yourself from all those other reels, otherwise no one is ever going to remember that you even exist. And the best way to do that is to communicate something about yourself that’s authentic. That who you are and what you have to offer is inherently different.

In the last part of the masterclass, Carey walks through how to select the very best of what you have to showcase and how to structure your reel so it zips right through. He shares 5 excellent principles for anyone building a reel:

If you love what Cary has to offer subscribe to his YouTube Channel here or check out this previous PremiumBeat.com post on Understanding Composition.