Sunday, 10 March 2013

Rethinking Storyboards...

As balancing our feature film work around client work becomes a real juggling act, we’re finding that our storyboards (which are the most time consuming of all our preparation work) are becoming more “shot design” boards. To explain; if a scene in a script calls for three close-ups of particular actor, instead of showing that close up shot three times on the storyboard, we’ll show it just the once. So long as we know or have a clear idea of how a sequence will flow in terms of order of shots, we simply don't need to show multiple panels of the same shot.

On set, our usual practice is to shoot the entire scene from each angle, which also makes it kind of pointless for us to have to render a shot more than once on a storyboard. Plus we've long since found that each scene tends to take on a life of its own once we have it in the edit room as we always approach the edit from as fresh a perspective as we can, not only keeping open to new ideas, but fostering them.

We also have decided to not adhere to a particular layout either, opting instead to just let go creatively and make the ideas, visually, come to life for us, often combining shot lists with illustrations (we don’t always have the time to render every shot idea, or we simply don’t need to).

A "Shot Design Board" - it's more about the design of each shot than how a sequence will work.

Working on these new shot design boards, we found something happened too, we enjoyed the process more and we felt more liberated as we often found the process of working in a series of regimented panels (as you do in conventional storyboards) made us literally feel a bit boxed in, somehow. Everything was too neat and regimented. 

Of course, if you're a professional storyboard artist hired in to work for another director, your job is to show how a scene or sequence will look, so this approach would not be the right one, but as far as we are concerned, unless we are presenting a concept to a client, this approach to shot design is now the preferred approach to previsualising a scene.