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How to Make a Videographer Portfolio

by Ellie Williams, studioD

Your portfolio can make or break your chances of getting a job as a videographer. While your previous job titles or accomplishments might impress employers, they need to see samples of your work before taking a chance on you. By creating a demo reel that showcases your strongest and most relevant work, you can prove to employers that you’re uniquely qualified for the role.

Keep It Short

Your portfolio should highlight your best work, not offer employers an extensive review of everything you’ve done. Also, a lengthy demo reel likely won’t hold an employer’s attention, especially if he has dozens of others to review. Aim for between 60 and 90 seconds, and definitely no more than two minutes. Open with your strongest work, because the first 30 seconds determines whether the employer will be interested enough to keep watching.

Customize It

Only include footage that matches the kind of work the company does and the type of position for which you’re applying. If you’re seeking a job in broadcast news, for example, don’t show the station director samples of your work filming weddings. Make it clear what kind of videographer you are and what role you want to play at the organization. If you play multiple roles as a filmmaker, such as videographer and director, create several demo reels that showcase each talent.

Get Creative

Instead of throwing together a string of video clips, make your portfolio entertaining and engaging. Set it to music, using audio to transition to the next piece of footage or heighten the effect of your work. Also, tailor the format to the type of video you’re showcasing and the type of position for which you’re applying. The website Premiumbeat suggests two options: collage and scene-based. With a collage style portfolio, you highlight several snippets cut to music, a format the site recommends for commercials and other short-form work. With a scene-based reel, you group footage together. For example, you might include several shots from different angles of the same scene.

Other Tips

Post your portfolio online so that employers can access it easily and quickly. At many video sharing sites you can upload your demo reel for free, and then include a link when emailing potential employers. Also, include your name and contact information. If you’re submitting a DVD, label the outside. If you’ve posted your portfolio to a video sharing site, highlight your information so employers don’t have to search for a way to contact you. Add it to the demo itself as well, opening and closing the reel with this information. To make your portfolio more user-friendly, add a menu that describes what’s on the reel.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images