- By Joy Davenport
- Published 09/28/2010
Every genre, including drama, comedy, or horror, may require a different storyboarding approach. In order to get the best results, it’s important to look at the techniques directors use to get their pre-production in order. Different methods of storyboarding can offer better previsualization and a more streamlined end result. The most important part of the previz process is brainstorming an initial vision that captures the essence of the project. Whether you are planning out a cartoon, a film, or even a presentation for school or work, you can utilize the power of brainstorming to begin the crucial storyboarding process. Brainstorming is usually a group activity – gather your crew or a few friends and map out ideas and inspirations for your film or project. By working together and taking notes, you can come up with a rough, frame-by-frame analysis. Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to choose your storyboard method and move on to the next step of previz. In the old days, props, dolls, and models were used to achieve filmed storyboards – this time-consuming process ate up a lot of pre-production hours and didn’t always produce the desired results. Paper storyboards were also used with some success – Bristol board (often covered in Post-It Notes!) and crude sketches were also commonplace. Sometimes, these storyboards were hard to alter and refine. Hiring a live artist could also bring a lot of delays and drama. Luckily, modern advances in technology have led to web storyboard software – these clever, intuitive programs offer more speed, precision, and creative freedom to today’s aspiring and experienced directors. Instead of the expense of outsourcing, storyboarding software offers a full cast of characters, as well as pre-loaded artwork, background, props, and special effects. Music and dialogue can be added with a click of the computer mouse! Using your own photographic images is also simple, due to the amazing file-sharing capacity of modern storyboard software. The programs you already know and love are designed to work with the hottest new digital storyboard programs. Once you decide how to approach your storyboards, you’ll also need to choose the right type of storyboard process. For example, some directors prefer a very detailed Production Storyboard – one that is essentially ready for use as a guideline during filming. For a full-length production, this sort of template can work wonders. It offers a complete map of the project, from the first shot to the final fade, and it can be a great way to get organized and stay on budget.
Without a production storyboard, you may waste time and resources playing with different camera angles and effects. This type of storyboard will work well for a production that already has a polished script. For dramas adapted from plays or books…for films that require extensive location scouting…or comedies that require lots of careful blocking to get the right effect…a detailed storyboar
d such as this can be the answer. Again, opting for digital storyboards can save time and money in the long run. You’ll be able to compare different versions with ease, and you can share your storyboards via iPhone or the Internet. You can even make a Flash movie of your storyboards! If you are still coming up with script ideas, but have a rough outline for your film, cartoon, or presentation, consider a Conceptual Storyboard that allows for more detailed scripting as the process unfolds. Use a series of linear images and concepts to capture the unique spirit of your production. This rough style of storyboard should communicate the special “feel” of your production. Important scenes and moments can be mapped out – however, each frame doesn’t need to be included – this storyboard is more about mood and emotion. This initial storyboard can be a valuable creative tool that helps you to collect your thoughts and ideas and flesh them out. communicate the aural style of the piece. This sort of storyboard can work well for an independent short film, a cartoon that is still in an early phase of development, or an arty film that is short on dialogue. Some directors prefer to create a Detailed Storyboard that focuses on key action sequences, or “money shots”. These pivotal scenes will be the most complicated and labor-intensive parts of a production – therefore, they are carefully mapped out to minimize mistakes or oversights that might cost time and money during filming. Other simple scenes are put on the back burner, or merely given a rougher storyboard treatment. In this type of storyboard, which works well for films with a lot of action, such as horror or caper films, the scenes with extreme intensity will generally be the focus during storyboarding. For action films, the special effects and pre-loaded artwork in digital storyboard software can help to capture a more dimensional effect, and a fuller sense of how the finished product will look (and how it will resonate with viewers). The type of storyboard you choose is important – however, the way you choose to storyboard may have an even greater impact on your pre-production and previsualization process. Using film storyboard software is the best way to experiment and be creative while you create your template for the cartoon, film, or presentation. You won’t be locked in to a specific type of storyboard when you use digital storyboarding – instead, you will be offered unparalleled flexibility during the previz process – switching for a conceptual storyboard to a production storyboard won’t mean “starting from scratch” – you can simply save a version as “conceptual”, then work with your rough storyboards and fill in frame after frame.
Get the best out of your production from the very start! Do what today’s award-winning and critically acclaimed directors and animators do – map out your production with high-tech storyboarding software that helps you realize and share your vision. You can garner interest from investors and the media by sharing your polished, cohesive storyboards with the world – and you won’t have to deal with the drama of a live artist. Look for online digital storyboarding demos to find out more…