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How Important is story boarding


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#1 John1

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:57 PM

A lot of podcast and books I read keep emphasising how important story-boarding is but I really can't see anything important in it. Each time I want to make a short film, I just make a sequence of how my shot will go by jotting down some things, and I keep the other details all in my head and I seem to get it all right during shooting. But days I decide to storyboard, that's when I discover I end up shooting rubbish. Its beginnin to become a practice for me to just have it all planned in my head but many proffessionals keep stressing the importance of story-boarding. How really important is story boarding

Edited by John1, 12 March 2014 - 02:59 PM.

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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:28 PM

It really depends on what you're shooting, story boarding is a means of planning in advance and is possibly more important when putting together a visual sequence than say covering dialogue. TV Studio directors used to use a plan of the sets and put their camera positions in that in order to plan their shots. You need to have a means to communicate your plans to other people, so at the very least a shot list is useful to have. This doesn't need to have all the cuts in it, just how you plan to cover the action. 

 

BTW You should contact Tim Tyler, who owns the site about getting your real name set up.


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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 07:13 PM

It depends.  Most of the time a full blocking rehearsal with the talent in the space you're working in will give you a much better idea of the shots you're after than trying to storyboard it.  Because you can walk around with a camera and just take shots and set up your camera frames and see it happen right in front of you.  Then you make your shotlist based on what you've setup.

 

I find storyboards are more helpful if you're doing greenscreen and you're dealing with backgrounds that aren't there, or are more abstract.  Or if your'e building sets on a soundstage.  That's when storyboards are useful to every department cause they have something visual to build on that isn't actually already there.

 

For action scenes and fight scenes storyboards are very handy and can really economize what you're shooting. Also for commercials they are critical because in commercials you only have 30 seconds and you need to really economize how you tell the story.  You don't always shoot standard coverage in TVC's. 


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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 07:34 PM

A lot too, comes down to how the director best works. I've had directors who need to make the movie on the boards, some who make it on the day, and others who make it in the edit. I don't think there is a right or a wrong way to do it; it all comes down to what works best for that picture you're on with those people you're working. Myself, personally, I like to get a shot list ,I find this a happy medium of knowing what's up for the day, but also flexible enough to change as things evolve. For FX heavy stuff I find pre-viz a lot more useful than storyboards, especially since to many FX sequences tend to have a lot of camera motion.


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:02 PM

A lot too, comes down to how the director best works. I've had directors who need to make the movie on the boards, some who make it on the day, and others who make it in the edit.

 

And some do all three.  As others have said, it depends on the project and the person.  I storyboarded every shot for my first 16mm short (a narrative.)  For next (an avant-garde short,) I only did five storyboards.  I did the rest in my head and in the editing room.

 

Storyboards can sometimes be a helpful visual guide for the rest of the crew.


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#6 aapo lettinen

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 06:28 PM

I think that storyboarding is not always necessary for all images (for example, if you have a MCU of the talent, everybody on the set understands already from the description what kind of shot you are after, no need to draw a full sheet of stick figures to explain that :) ). 

If you want to show the rest of the crew how you are planning to cut the images together to tell the story, then it is necessary to storyboard the whole scene. Also for VFX work it is always necessary to storyboard if the shots need multiple separate elements: cgi elements, bg plates, multiple live-action elements combined together, etc. 

For simple wire removal etc. simple work it may not be necessary. 

 

I think it is, though, absolutely necessary to do set drawings with camera positions for all the scenes. Otherwise it is impossible to explain to the rest of the crew how the camera and actors are situated in the space and where the lights/props/set elements/safe are. Lighting designing, for example, is quite impossible to do using only storyboards without having the set drawings available to see where the actor and camera are actually situated IN THE SPACE when, for example, the MCU is shot...


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#7 Peter Campbell

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 11:34 AM

Storyboarding is a lot more important than you might think. It allows you to determine the look of your shots beforehand, so you know how to set them up once you arrive on location. It can definitely help save time. Though it might seem easier to keep all of your planned shots in your head, it can often be very difficult to keep track of them all in the field. If you are not very good at drawing, or just don't like the idea of storyboarding, you might want to try writing out a description for each shot you have planned, i. e.

"Tracking shot of man's feet as he moves left across the floor, shallow depth of field", etc.

Planning out your shots beforehand can help save time on location, and can help you in making sure that you have the right lenses, lights and other equipment for each one. It also helps to communicate your vision to the rest of your crew, and can make their jobs a lot easier by helping them understand exactly what it is you are looking for. That being said, you should always stay open to improvisation should a brilliant idea arrive right in the middle of a shoot.
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 05:45 PM

I take a slightly cautious view of storyboarding.

 

It's possible - if not easy - to draw things that are impossible to shoot. Frankly it's probably quite hard to draw things accurately that can be shot. Especially, if you lack known locations, lots of grip gear and lots of time, it can be extremely difficult to execute a storyboard satisfactorily.

 

I prefer shot lists, which describe what each shot should show the audience, and allow the filmmakers the flexibility to find a way to do that on the day. There are of course situations where storyboarding is essential, perhaps involving VFX or some particularly extreme bit of camera support equipment or technique which requires particularly precise planning or a lot of people and gear to pull off, but in the main - no.

 

P


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#9 Igor Trajkovski

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 09:14 AM

This article by DP Don Starnes give an interesting perspective on storyboards:

 

Blocking Before Coffee

 

 

Best

 

Igor


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#10 Josh Bass

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 12:22 AM

Sup Y'all? I hardly ever post here!

 

Anyway, if I may offer another perspective: storyboarding, and then making a "mock edit" USING THOSE BOARDS (actually taking the drawings/stills and cutting them together in an NLE), can help you really see how a scene/shots will cut together. On my last little short film, it would have helped me because of the oddball style of the piece, and I could have said "oh I need a shot to get the guy from here to here, and then something to go here, etc." I ended up having to make a fake MCU by zooming in/cropping a wide shot, whereas if I'd boarded/done the mock edit I could have seen I needed to shoot that MCU in the first place.  Depending on complexity of scene, a shot list may not bring those those types issues to light, where mock edit/boards will.


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