Voices – Short Film Project – Storyboards
2.1 Explain the function of a storyboard.
Storyboards are thought to have been originated by Walt Disney, the first examples attributed to the ones he produced for the company Laugh-O-Grams which he formed in 1922, although there is mention of an earlier storyboard example produced by Walt Disney in 1917 while graduating from Benton High School.
Storyboards have been described as an animation of a Video or Film, a blueprint for the whole of a Film. Howard Hughes is attributed as being one of the first pioneers for using sequential Storyboards in the Movie production “Hells Angels” 1930.
Many well known Directors started out as Illustrators and/or Animators for example, Ridely Scott whose Storyboards or Ridely-O-Grams, which maybe a possible reference to Disney’s first company ‘Laugh-O-Grams’ . Terry Gilliam is also another example of an Illustrator progressing to become a Director, both are well known for their storyboarding skills. Of course Animators themselves still use Storyboards.
A storyboard is fundamentally a means of putting down, usually on paper everything which the Director visualises in the scene. A series of these pictures will in effect allow the Director to convey to the production team the visualisation for the whole of Video/Film. I should say that Storyboards were originally produced by Art Directors and then Production Designers who collaborated with the Director on the visualisation for the Film. These were usually in-house designers and in the early years of film gave studios a certain style, but these days storyboard artists are freelancers engaged when required. Of course some Directors will have a preferred storyboard artist which they will use again and again.
Regardless of who produces them a Storyboards main purpose is in the pre-planning of a Video or Films sequence shot by shot. A storyboard shows what is in the picture; it informs the members of the Film/Video team what elements are required for a particular scene. Storyboards may for example include the number of people within a scene; the visual aspects that is mise-en-scene, or if there are any words on the screen. Colours may also be important, as will be references to lighting. Of major importance is Camera location, lens used (Wide Angle – Long Focus) and camera movement which can also be represented in the storyboard which in turn is of great help to the production designer in order for them to position for example walls in a studio set design. It would not be very helpful to build a wall directly in front of the cameras projected path, a storyboard would identify this by showing camera movement.
As well as the visual aspects of a scene a Storyboard will include additional information such as the references to dialogue; voice over’s, the sound if any that occurs in the scene, the camera action, for instance a zoom, panning shot etc. There may also be references for post production, how the Director sees the editing process between scenes.
Key elements to a Storyboard will include the Title of the Film, the shot sequence and the timing for the shot.
Storyboarding is of particular importance when filming a difficult scene such as an action sequence where many elements have to work together to produce the required shot. The re-shooting of these scenes would necessarily involve more expense or be difficult to reproduce especially when say an object is destroyed in the process of shooting for example the demolition of a building.
The amount of detail within a Storyboard varies according to Directors personal taste, some use little more than stick figures, the barest of outlines and details, whereas some Directors use very detailed Storyboards, with many employing Storyboard artists to assist the Director in getting their visualisation down onto paper.
Technology is beginning to catch up and paper based Storyboards may become a thing of the past with software now available to enable non artists to produce detailed Storyboards from elements held in an applications library, examples of which include:- FrameForge 3D Studio.
Storyboards – Software
Storyboards – Animatics
Animatic example – basically this is a sequence of storyboards sequenced as a video with rough soundtrack, narration, music etc. See the example below.[youtube.com/watch?v=M1uRncKY8DU]