Demo Reels

The Basics

Open with a 3–5 second title card that identifies who you are, what you want to do (more on this later) and how to contact you (email, phone number, website). This title card should be well-designed and consistent with the look of your website and business cards. Repeat this title card or a variation of it at the end of the reel. Also, Vimeo has an option to set a thumbnail for a video that displays before the video has loaded or when it's paused. Use this to your advantage.

Selecting and Prioritizing Shots

Student demo reels probably don't need to be over 60-seconds in length. However, to really grab the audience, we have about 7 seconds. Let's not waste them. Make sure your first 3 shots on your reel are your best ones. Don't hold back. This isn't a high school persuasive essay where you save your 2nd strongest argument for last.  

Editing Techniques


We never feel like we have enough work for our reels. We may be desperate to eke every last second of highlights out of our work, but we don't want to actually look desperate. Editing techniques can work for or against us.


This fairly standard approach involves cutting from shot to shot as you see fit, regardless of project. This might result in an editing pattern such as A-B-C-A-D-E-C-B-F-A-C. This technique is best for students who actually have A) a good number of pieces and/or B) work that contain several distinct visual changes. If either or both of those are true, you won't look desperate returning to projects that the audience has already seen.


Jump Cut

This technique means cutting several shots together from the same project before moving onto the next. The editing pattern could look something like A-A-A-B-B-B-B-C-C-D-D-D. This allows students to potentially show a jump-cut edit of each project, or just stay within the visual style of each project before moving on. This approach seems particularly well-suited for student demo reels, especially students who may only have 4 or 5 larger projects to cut from.




Growing Up