- By Joy Davenport
- Published 08/23/2010
The most successful directors in the business have all learned the secret of effective pre-production…motion picture previsualization is the keystone of setting up a great film. From the first frame to the final fade, previz can organize and refine your artistic vision…and it’s so easy to do. For decades, filmmakers have relied on different methods of “previz” to achieve their goals. Some of the most memorable films out there have been planned using unique tools and concepts that you can try, too! However, the methods of past decades are growing quite obsolete – technology is changing the face of previz… Previsualization can be simple and low-tech at the outset – you might want to start with a simple sharing of ideas and visions for the project – you can sit with your group (if you’re not working alone) and come up with information about location, dialogue, music, camera angles, etc. By jotting down notes and sharing your vision of your film with others, you can put together a pool of ideas that add dimension and depth to your project. This brainstorming phase can be a great way to flesh out a script or concept – and it costs you nothing. Be sure to take notes or record your session for later reference. Once you’ve established some guidelines and ideas, you can move forward into storyboarding. This part of previz maps out every scene of your film, cartoon, commercial, or other project. Directors have different ways of achieving great previz through storyboarding – some use small-scale models, some opt for Bristol board covered in drawings and Post-It Notes…these old-fashioned tools are a bit more time-consuming than today’s digital storyboards.
Brilliant directors of classic film
s have created storyboards that are considered works of art. Orson Welles Citizen Kane storyboards were part of an important gallery display in 1993 (the Pace Gallery). Today, the Coen Brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski) carefully storyboard every scene of their prospective film. Many directors take care to put together the most detailed storyboards possible, because they make it easier to find investors. Often, a complete previz/storyboard phase will be completed before any funding is sought out. Award-winning director Martin Scorsese also spends a great deal of time refining his vision through careful previz and storyboarding. Today, it’s easier than ever to make previz worthwhile for your project – cutting-edge software programs allow you to quickly and successfully pull together polished, complete storyboards. Because these digital storyboard software programs offer pre-loaded artwork, backgrounds, and special effects, as well as the easy inclusion of dialogue and music, putting an entire pre-production storyboard together is much easier than it used to be. Bear in mind that storyboarding a major motion picture usually requires thousands of drawings and frames.
Today’s movie storyboard programs offer a whole new level of ease and simplicity – they are designed to work with your own imagination. You can switch between scenes and go wherever your creativity takes you…changing elements like camera angles, characters, and sound can be as easy as clicking a mouse. If you’re looking for a faster, more cost-effective way to get your storyboards ready, consider digital programs that make previz intuitive, simple, and fun. The days of using props, figures, plastic models and Bristol Board are over. You can enjoy all the benefits of technology with storyboard software. Pacing, blocking and editing can all be achieved quickly and almost effortlessly.