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Reel Tips
Reel Tips

Tips and Ideas If Uploading Videos To Us

or

If You Create Your Own

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Remember, think of your reel as a highly effective marketing tool.  To increase your chances of getting noticed, work to make the best reel possible that captures people's attention within a few seconds. Make it REEL good so that once it starts, they keep watching!

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Equipment Suggestions

1.  Reliable cell phone or video camera that captures 1080p video. 

 

Capture quality video that is sharp to the eye.  Most cell phones are capable of doing this.  Verify your device has enough disk storage space! 

2.  A stable tripod for your device.

We recommend  a tripod instead of someone hand-holding your device to avoid shaky footage.  Shaky video may be a distracting element for colleges.   

3.  Optional: External Microphone.

Although it is not necessary, we suggest that you consider adding an external microphone to capture better audio.  For cell phones, there are many options from online vendors.  Regardless, make sure you fully understand how your microphone will record (check the levels) BEFORE you try to record an important performance! 

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Video Tips

1.  Set up your tripod and recording device approximately 8 to 10 ft. away from you.

 

Do note place your device too close. One of the biggest problems is that performers try to make a recording and capture audio that is too close. This results in poor, distorted audio.

2.  Adjust the height of the tripod so your device matches (or is close) to your physical height.

Never record from an angle that is too low.    

3.  Adjust your music stand so your face, hands, and at least "waist up" are in full view of the camera, from start to finish.

Most young performers get a little shy and anxious when performing.  This is normal.  However, do not use your stand as a security blanket to hide behind. Remember, you need to be in a mindset where you showcase your talent. Mistakes and quick recoveries are ok and will be expected! Having your "waist up" in view is important for colleges to assess your body posture, and if applicable, to see your physical technique and breathing technique as it relates to your instrument or vocal ability. 

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Acoustic Considerations

1.  Never place your video recording device too close.

 

This is another reminder from above since the quality of your video is important.  

2.  If performing with a grand piano accompanist, consider only having the lid opened to the lowest level or closed for woodwinds.  Brass should have more flexibility.

Judging 18+ years of solos, there have been many times when we have heard solos "covered up" by piano accompanists that forget to consider the acoustics in the performance area.  Just keep this in mind.  

3.  If performing with an electric piano, make sure you and your accompanist do a volume check.  

This is typical for Region level or campus level solo and ensemble contests. Remember that each instrument has a unique timbre, resonance, and volume. Each student plays differently so your accompanist should adjust to each performer accordingly.  

4.  We strongly urge you to avoid electronic post processing of the sound in your video.

 

You never know if the college rep. will like what you did to edit the sound and it could backfire decreasing your chances of getting noticed and being memorable.  

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Final Thoughts & Suggestions

1. Always look your best!  Make a lasting impression in your reels and look "put together."  Make the effort!

2.  We STRONGLY suggest that your final highlight reel does not exceed 10 minutes! Remember that the person reviewing your reel is human and studies show that our attention spans are rather short.  Keep your highlight reel brief and to the point. 

3.  Consider using your school or governing organizations "Solo and Ensemble Contest" as a venue to record your reel.  In Texas it is called UIL Solo & Ensemble.  Regardless of the contest name, be sure you tell the judge you are recording yourself so you can have a historical record of your hard work.   

4.  If you record your reels at contest like in number 2 above, make sure you have another person handle your video recording!  This can be a family member or a friend.  The last thing you want is to slow down the contest by setting up your tripod and camera, making sure everything works, etc.  The judge might get upset which may or may not affect your score.  You focus on YOU and performing your best.  Have your helper focus on recording.

 

5.  If you are unable to have a helper record you, don't panic.  Simply plan before walking in the door.  Have your camera already attached to your tripod at the correct height.  You should have studied and practiced how your device will record so you are not stressed or worried. Once you walk into the room, setup the device in a good location and hit the record button.   Immediately walk to your stand for your performance. Remember you can edit that out later. The same applies for when you walk back to stop recording.  

6. Want more performance opportunities or can't perform at a solo and ensemble contest? Then think outside the box! If you, a family member, or friend owns a piano, work to schedule a simple, non-public weekend recital at their house for an hour.  This way, you can perform without feeling rushed and hurried. You can even invite a fellow friend so they can record their reel before or after you.  

7.  If you still need a performance venue, check with your local church. We've found that those in charge of church schedules and facility booking are extremely nice to work with.  If they have a fee, it is usually nominal and would be worth the small investment.  

8.  Work to capture the smoothest and most stable video footage possible.  This is important! 

9.  If we construct your highlight reel, please understand that we can only use non-public performance footage. Unfortunately, if you are a featured soloist in an ensemble we cannot include YouTube clips that feature you for use in your highlight reel.  However, you can use YouTube links on your profile page for colleges to click on and visit externally.  

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Remember, the video quality for the reel that is created can only be as good as the audio and visual footage that was originally captured!  

bNoteable can create your Music Highlight Reel

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