What is Storyboarding?

Article Index April 23,2011 Comments

WHAT IS STORYBOARDING? Hi Folks! I'm currently working on a movie script for a client based in California. Unfortunately I signed an NDA also known as a “Non Disclosure Agreement” which basically means I can't really talk about it. All I can say at this point is that the Producers at Helios Entertainment are looking for investors for the production of the movie and I got hired by Helios Entertainment to help them push their movie project into a visual format. I read the script, started drawing a Storyboard and did small, animated sequences from those drawings. Those animated sequences in the industry are also called “Animatics”. An Animatic is really a Storyboard sequence that we have put in an editing software that will allow us to add sounds, voice acting, soundtracks, FX, camera movements and anything else in between that will help us to push the vision as close as possible to the final product. This Animatic helps to give the client a better view of how his project will look or could look on film. BASICALLY STORYBOARDING GOES LIKE THIS! The Film Director has a complete and finished final script in his hands that he wants to shoot. In order to save money, time and frustration on the field, the Film Director will hire Storyboard Artists that will give him (The Director) the first draft of how the movie could look like on paper. What I mean by this is us (Storyboard Artist) will take the script, read it, imagine it in our minds eye and draw out the scenes on paper using storytelling, pacing, and camera angle techniques in order to best describe and visualize the scenes, the action of actors/moving objects/moving camera paths and any special FX shots that we imagine that could happen within the scenes. VISUAL STORYBOARDING EDITING! Once the scenes or the whole script has been storyboarded, the Director takes a look at all the boarded scenes and starts visually editing the Storyboard. He takes each individual scene and starts to add notes here and there stating certain changes that should be either added or taken out of the Storyboard. We are his first "vision" of the movie. From there he jumps in and starts adding or deleting what he likes and doesn't like as far as camera shots goes and action sequences. After this step is done and approved, the Storyboard becomes the Director's final "Blue Print" on paper. He knows exactly what shots to go for and which camera angles will be necessary in order to tell his story in whatever way he had planned to show it to the viewers. So from here the Film Director shows the Storyboard sequences to the Director of Photography. The DP looks at it and suggests to the Film Director which camera lens will be the most effective to use in order to achieve the desired look and feel as close as possible to the Storyboard that has been illustrated on paper. After this the Storyboard hits the Pre-visual/3D department. THE 3D STRORYBOARDING VERSION! The Pre-Visual guys are to take the final Storyboard and create a 3D version out of it. They basically focus their efforts on the camera action, flow of action sequences, Pacing, timing and try to achieve the desired "Overall" look and feel of the shot sequences illustrated on paper. It's a very rough 3D version of the illustrated Storyboard that focuses not on textures and high-end special effects but more on the flow of action as I was stating above. This is also the time to work out the image composition of the shots and certain technical problem solving aspects like, camera lens selection, camera paths of action, basic light sources and special effects. It is also common practice at this stage the Film Director’s input will be necessary to explain exactly to the 3D department the vision and timing of his shots using his “Blue-Print” Storyboard illustrated by the Storyboard Artist. By following this Pre-Production pipeline, the Film Director saves HUGE amounts of time, money and frustration once they get on the field to go shoot his film. At this point the Film Director and Director of Photography both know and have in their position all the logistics that they will need before going to the scene locations. It also gives them a very tight, clean and accurate version of their film that will help them achieve the desired shots and effects once they start rolling the cameras on any set locations for the final take. That's why Pre-production Storyboarding is so important...If you have to make everything tight, neat and clean...this is your last pit stop to make it so. The Storyboard will also serve as the major guideline document that will be printed and given to leading members of each department that needs to refer to them on a daily basis. Eg: the cameramen, the special FX department, the actors themselves, the film editors, etc. Hope that was clear and concise enough for you :) Thank you for reading and happy boarding!!! Jean Claude de La Ronde Freelance Storyboard Artist