A video portfolio is, very simply, a website page consisting mainly of video content. Many editors have a showreel, but this can be limiting as potential clients can't see a full single video. Your video portfolio should not contain all of your work; it should be clean and concise. You should include all of your best work while keeping the content varied.
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Video portfolios are vital for editors as they offer potential clients and partners an overview of your skills and experience. They are a great way for people to find you online, how will they know about you otherwise?
Video portfolios aren't just for certain fields or industries anymore. The importance of having a professional video presence is more important than ever, and an online portfolio will certainly increase your visibility and presence. Creating your portfolio website allows you to share and showcase your work.
Video is becoming an essential part of content marketing. Consumers love it. According to research by HubSpot, 55% of people are more engaged when they watch a video than when they read a blog post. Combine that with Cisco's prediction that by 2021 video will make up 82% of all consumer traffic and we've got a quite rosy picture. Video is going places.
Now is the perfect time to put together your killer video portfolio and land the work of your dreams. Let's take a look at how to structure, craft, and promote your portfolio, so you attract the right kind of people.
While much of the business world operates using text resumes to match candidates with the right job, some skills are better seen and heard than simply explained. If you're applying for a job as an on-screen presenter, a director, film editor or any number of jobs that requires the use of a video camera, a video portfolio is the best way to showcase your talents. Armed with basic computer movie-making software, you can assemble your greatest hits to impress a potential employer or nail an admissions interview.
Assemble various clips, images and sound bites that you'd like to use in your portfolio. If someone else has done the editing for a piece, you'll need to contact her directly to ask for the raw footage or an edited clip to use in your portfolio. Keep each clip to less than two minutes. You may need to edit clips, photos and sound bites, then convert them into commonly used formats, such as .mov or .mpeg4 files, for use in your portfolio.
Open a basic video-editing software on your computer. While you may have more sophisticated editing software available, unless you can easily convert your finished product to a widely-used format, it may be difficult for the recipient to view your portfolio. Windows Movie Maker and iMovie are both excellent for compiling clips easily, and they're widely used for maximum compatibility.
Start your portfolio with a splash page. A splash page is essentially a graphic edited in a program such as Photoshop that has your general information for the viewer. Make the splash page visually appealing and use it as a demonstration of your skill. The splash page is the first impression the viewer receives of you and your work. Include your name, contact information and the general job title you use.
Add your clips, images and sound bites as new frames in the movie-making software. This not only allows you to move easily between media during the editing process but makes it easy for the viewer to skip between media to locate applicable clips and images. Place your credits visibly and prominently at the beginning of each clip, so the viewer knows what role you played in the clip, whether it's actor, editor, director and so on.
Finish the video with an ending page with your name, title and contact information.
Burn your portfolio to a DVD for circulation and submissions. DVDs can be easily viewed on a potential employer's computer or DVD player, making your portfolio simple to use. If possible, print out a label using a label-making software for professional results. Include once again your name, contact information and job title, so viewers don't need to view your portfolio to know how to contact you.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Services for Creating an Online Video Portfolio
- 2 Squarespace
- 3 Carbonmade
- 4 Wix
- 5 WordPress
- 6 Vimeo Pro
- 7 Cargo
- 8 How to Present Your Digital Portfolio at an Interview
- 9 What does a Digital Portfolio Look Like?
- 10 What Should You Include in a Digital Portfolio?
- 11 How to Present Your Portfolio if You Haven't Had Much Work
- 12 How to Present Your Portfolio on a Phone Interview
- 13 How to Present a Digital Portfolio
- 14 How to Send a Portfolio
The Best Services for Creating an Online Video Portfolio
Whether you're a freelance video professional or leading the marketing effort for a production company, it's imperative that your online presence positively reflect your brand. Don't send your potential clients a link to your work on YouTube or Vimeo. It's easy to create a polished website with a custom URL (vanity URL), thereby elevating your brand… and your work.
Below are a few of my favourite options for creating a simple website to host your video portfolio or demo reel. There are certainly more sophisticated options available, but for video pros looking to create a simple website to share their projects, you can't go wrong with any of these services.
In the last few years, Squarespace has emerged as a leader in simple website creation. With a wide range of beautifully designed templates, you can quickly add your own branding and content to any Squarespace hosted site. Pricing ranges from $5/month USD for simple one-page design (cover page) to $18/month for a full business website. The Squarespace cover page option is a great way to go for showcasing a demo reel, as the video-centric templates have top-notch design and are fully responsive, meaning they look great on mobile.
Like Squarespace, Carbonmade is a content management system that provides well-designed templates, simple customization, and an easy-to-use interface. The site templates are all portfolio-based, making the service a good choice for creative professionals (photographers, graphic designers, video editors, and the like). The grid layouts (example below) are a nice way to showcase your portfolio of video projects. Pricing ranges from USD 6 to USD 24 a month, depending on the level of options. The service requires zero HTML knowledge, and other reviewers have touted simplicity as its winning feature.
One of the longtime leaders in DIY website creation is Wix, a simple site-building service. At its launch in 2007, all templates were Flash-based. After the deprecation of Flash sites on the web, Wix launched support for HTML5 based templates in 2012.
Template styles include photography and portfolio sites, but other website types are represented as well, including business, fashion, events, and more. Pricing tiers go from free (ad-supported) up to ~ USD 25/month for the full feature set. In general, the templates are not as well designed as other options (Squarespace and Carbonmade), and all videos must be hosted externally, on Vimeo or YouTube for instance, and embedded as an extra step for users creating video portfolios.
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WordPress is the undisputed content management system leader – nearly half of all websites today are built using this platform. With this vast user base comes the benefits of countless theme options, tens of thousands of plugins, and detailed documentation online for common features and functions.
WordPress is open source, so you can install it on a server and host it with any number of hosting providers. Setup can be a bit more intensive than with some of these other options and will require some prior web development knowledge to make extensive customizations. To get started, try out one of these free WordPress themes that are explicitly geared toward video websites.
Vimeo Pro is the paid version of the popular video sharing service. At USD 199 a year, it's designed for the pro user and comes with a few benefits not included with a free account — namely increased video storage and detailed viewer analytics. Vimeo Pro also allows for the creation of a Portfolio, a white-labelled page that includes your logo and uploaded videos. The Portfolio theme options are limited and advanced changes to the page must be done with custom CSS (requiring a bit of web coding experience). You can direct a vanity URL to a Vimeo portfolio page for a more professional web address. Although a Vimeo portfolio may not be the slickest option for a demo reel website, it is a quick way to create a custom page for a client, showcasing all of the videos you've created for them on one page.
Cargo is a FREE website service for creative pros. Although the majority of users are photographers and graphic designers, many of the Cargo templates work equally as well for video editors and motion designers. There is no video hosting, so video projects must be embedded on Cargo pages from external sites (YouTube and Vimeo). If you own your own URL with a service like 1&1 or GoDaddy, you can point it to your Cargo domain. Cargo features their favourite sites and projects on CargoCollective.com for extra visibility.
Whether your craft is in writing, art, graphic design, interior design, fashion, photography or journalism, you will need a digital portfolio to highlight your skills and present your work.
Presenting yourself and your work to a prospective employer will take practice to make your presentation flow easily. Still, it's also important to stay flexible, as everyone will have a different way of reviewing your work.
A presentation used to be a physical portfolio that you either dropped off with an employer or brought with you to present in person during an interview.
Now that portfolios are online, we need to learn how to present a digital portfolio. Here are some new things to consider, depending on how you're "meeting" with the person. Let's look at three different scenarios: in person, on the phone and on video chat.
How to Present Your Digital Portfolio at an Interview
Understand How They'd Prefer to View Your Portfolio
Before you begin, ask the interviewer if they've seen your work and if they would like you to present it to them. Sometimes interviewers will want to flip through your work on their own, which I never understood because having someone present their portfolio tells me so much about the person.
If they want you to present your whole portfolio, the two biggest variables are timing and how in-depth you go on each project. In presenting the first project, you can get a sense of both of these.
What to Say About Each Project
Start with a brief summary of what the creative brief was. (If it's for a lesser-known client, then briefly explain what the client does). Explain your role on the project, and if relevant, who the other key players were. Then explain what you're looking at on the screen, advancing to the next screen as you walk through it.
Before you present each piece, state why you're showing it. "This is my favourite campaign because the client was so much fun and encouraged us to try things we had never done before." or "This next campaign is for the same target audience that your client is selling to."
Check on Your Pacing
Give them a few seconds to look at the screen, and then move forward. If you're a copywriter, it's always a nice touch to read the copy out loud, rather than waiting for the interviewer to read it.
After the first couple of projects, ask the interviewer if you're going at a good pace if they'd like to slow down or clarify anything or just keep moving ahead. It could be that they've already seen enough and are just waiting for a break, so be sure to give them the opportunity to tell you that.
Wrapping Up the Presentation
In closing, ask if the interviewer has any questions. If he or she is a Creative Director or somebody who sees a lot of portfolios, and it seems like there's still time, you could also ask for feedback on your book. (If you make a suggested change, this is always a nice way to follow up — i.e. "I took your advice and removed the Verizon work. I really appreciate that feedback and found it very helpful." But everyone has different opinions, so don't do something if it doesn't feel right. Take it all in and then trust your gut.)
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What does a Digital Portfolio Look Like?
It's also important to consider the format of your portfolio. Right now, a mobile tablet presentation is a favoured format. A laptop format is also acceptable, but somehow it is not quite as sexy as a presentation on the tablet.
Putting together a PDF specifically for the company that you're meeting with is ideal for catering to their needs. If you don't know exactly what they're looking for, then do a PDF of your online work. Do not assume that there will be wifi available to get to your online portfolio during your interview.
I know that seems a little old school, but if you're meeting with an old-school HR person, they will appreciate this. (In fact, on that note, always prepare a PDF copy of your resume too.)
Have additional pieces of your work available that you could easily pull if requested or if it seems appropriate. The keyword here is "easily" because nobody wants to sit there while you look for something and you don't want to get flustered as you look.
If you're interviewing for something print or packaging related, bring in a few physical examples to show. It's always nice to see the real thing. But do this only if it's potentially relevant for the job.
What Should You Include in a Digital Portfolio?
You won't always be asked to present your whole portfolio, so be prepared with well-chosen examples if they ask you to show a few. Some possible pieces to include:
Your favourite project — and why it's your choice.
This can be an opportunity to show a more personal side, and maybe it was a client you loved working with, an industry you're passionate about, or a situation that you really had to prove yourself in. What exactly it mattered less than the story you create around it.
What you're most proud of — and why.
While this is very similar to your favourite pieces, it's not always the same. What you're most proud of should have a more professional bent than your favourite project. Maybe it's a project you learned a lot on or had wild success with, in any case, it should be a professional achievement.
Something that was very challenging or had a really short deadline.
Unfortunately, most hiring managers have probably experienced the creative who has great work but can't meet deadlines or handle stress. This is your opportunity to show that you can still perform under dire circumstances.
Anything relevant to the place you're interviewing with, or if it's an agency, their client.
People love hiring someone with directly applicable experience. There's always a big risk in hiring and the more closely you can show you've done exactly what they need to be done, and completed it successfully, the more likely they are to feel safe hiring you. This could be the type of industry or the specific type of work — but don't stretch the truth. Most hiring managers would rather get an honest fit than have a surprise later.
If they're an all-digital place, then show all-digital if you can. If you don't have all-digital, but want to show that you get it, then show the digital that you have and something that demonstrates innovative thinking.
If it's an integrated place, show something from all media — print, TV, digital, mobile, social.
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How to Present Your Portfolio if You Haven't Had Much Work
A common problem is how to present your portfolio if you don't have much work yet. Actually, the most experienced interviewer will know very quickly if they think you're a good fit for the position. Likely they'll already have an idea of your talent after the first 3-4 projects, and many will even stop reviewing the portfolio at that point.
The worst thing to do is stuff your portfolio with sub-par work. Every recruiter would much rather a shorter, high-calibre presentation than 40 pages of sub-par work. If you don't have enough client work, create your own creative brief and complete the project or use student work to show off your abilities. If you want real client work to beef up your portfolio, ask family and friends, similarly, nonprofits are often happy to have free help.
How to Present Your Portfolio on a Phone Interview
Phone interviews are usually done where the interviewer has your portfolio on their screen, and you have it on yours. You can ask the same question about how they want you to present it.
As you present, you will need first to indicate how to advance the screen, i.e. "click on the arrow to the right" or "hit "next" in the upper right-hand corner." Then after that simply say, "let's move to the next screen" when you're ready to advance.
Since you can't see the interviewer's face, be sure to listen for verbal cues. Also, ask after the first couple of projects (or half-way through) if you're going at a good pace.
How to Present a Digital Portfolio
First, make sure you know whether the interviewer wants you to use Skype or Google Hangout or something else. If you're not accustomed to their choice, it's a good idea to practice with a few people, so you have a comfort level with it.
Second, pay attention to your background. Make sure there's no clutter or mess behind you.
Third, check your lighting, especially at the time of day of your call. A light behind you will make your face dark, but in front of you, it could work, depending on the light. Just play around with it and figure out your best set up.
Finally, make sure the sound is good, and the door is shut to outside noise. My dogs are famous for barking when I get on Skype, but if I have a job interview, I get them out of the house.
Ask your clients how they'd like you to present your digital portfolio. Do they want you to share your screen? Or just go through it on your own screens? Make sure you know how to share your screen ahead of time. Practice it a few times with someone else, so it's seamless.
How to Send a Portfolio
How to best send your portfolio depends on the scenario. A physical portfolio should be sent by messenger or hand-delivered. Digital can be sent either by link or download. PDFs are probably the safest way to give someone your digital portfolio as they display in a uniform way, don't require special equipment and are easy to be printed out or forwarded around. Keep an eye on size though — you don't want it to bounce or take them forever to open.
For any of these scenarios, the key is practice. It's also important to pay attention to the person whom you're presenting to. If you are presenting in person or on Skype, you have visual cues, but on the phone, you don't. Be sure to pause, so the person has a chance to interject, and to listen for any cues that they might be giving while you're speaking.