Daily Bulletin


News

  • Written by Ari Chand, Lecturer in Visual Communication Design and Creative Industries, University of Newcastle
Explainer: what is storyboarding for film?

Images are all around us. But what about the images you may never have seen, which influence the storytelling you watch every day?

Storyboarding often forms a crucial part of the pre-production process of film, television, animation, game design, advertising, comics, children’s book illustration, even UX Design and other forms of visual communication.

Developed at Disney Animation Studios in the 1930’s, it was first used in live action film for Gone with the Wind (1939). As film critic Fionnuala Halligan has written:

The unsung heroes of film, storyboard artists are the first to give vision to a screenplay, translating words on the page into shots for the screen.

Directors employ storyboard artists to visualise their scripts for large crews. They guide visual language, scene transitions, action sequences, cinematography, lighting design, location scouting, costume development, production design, art direction, computer generated effects and different phases of animation.

Art of the plan

An applied use of drawing, storyboarding is an illustrative art that communicates context.

Legendary director Ridley Scott always begins his films with the drawing board, using the pencil to inform the visual tone of his direction and discuss scenes with actors.

It limits the potential of the story and script, defining a scene visually to reduce the shooting of excess scenes.

Traditionally each cell — or film frame in the narrative — is drawn by hand, artists rapidly refining the story. Large amounts of sketches are discarded. Small thumbnail sketches are reworked until the drawings move to final polished boards.

Storyboards often collect in archives, unreleased works bound by studio copyright. They are occasionally collated in book form, as in The Art of Movie Storyboards: Visualising the Action of the World’s Greatest Films.

Although pencil is still predominant, many artists now employ digital approaches. Storyboards don’t require the artist to embed lots of detail. The focus is how the boards communicate the camera angle, movement, timing, gesture and staging of characters.

Some artists produce mock sequences to get employed. Heidi Jo Gilbert’s mock sequence landed her a job at DreamWorks Animation.

Heidi Jo Gilbert’s concept storyboard animation for ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked.

Read more: 21st-century character designs reflect our concerns, as always

Aspects and ratio

Each panel or frame represents what the camera and eventually the audience will see. The shape of the rectangle is usually based on the planned shooting aspect ratio (width to height of frame).

Storyboards can help the cinematographer make choices about lighting, depth of field, locations and camera angles. Arrows indicate where the movement of the character or object is headed. Although the script is important for direction and dialogue, storyboards become a visual script.

Storyboard artists need a diverse but traditional skillset.

Not only do they need the drawing skills — whether pencil or pixel, but they need to be able to negotiate visual observation, visual representation, metaphor, allegory and aesthetics.

Being highly skilled in realism is not necessary, communicating the idea of story is the most important. In fact, something realistic may not best communicate meaning.

Some key drawing conventions and features include:

  • Anatomy
  • Shapes
  • Composition
  • Scale
  • Viewpoints
  • Frame division
  • Depth of field
  • Light and tonality
  • Horizon lines, vanishing points and perspective.

Storyboards allow artists like Aaron Blaise to embed emotion, gesture and movement into a scene.

This artistic process helps the director make choices. The panels of the storyboard are propped up against a wall or shown onscreen during production. Members of the production crew refer to them to discuss and see where the visual narrative will lead.

Read more: Long days, heavy loads: what the best boy does on a film set

Sharing a vision

Storyboards are a great way for people working together to visualise their ideas and brainstorm new ones. It’s fascinating to see how simple line drawings can spark and move through to the final idea. Here is an example of the storyboard side-by-side with the final product from UP (2009).

What’s evident is a honed approach to drawing skills still playing a role in creating the film’s visual direction.

These days not all film directors employ this technique. But many in the creative industries still start with the drawing board as a source of communicating concepts, ideas and story.

Like a compass steering a ship, drawings were probably the starting point for your favourite show or movie.

Read more: Explainer: what is production design?

Authors: Ari Chand, Lecturer in Visual Communication Design and Creative Industries, University of Newcastle

Read more https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-storyboarding-for-film-131205

Writers Wanted

Why Bitcoin Revolution is the best

arrow_forward

Who pays compensation if a COVID-19 vaccine has rare side-effects? Here's the little we know about Australia's new deal

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Business News

How to Find A company with Tijuana manufacturing

If you have decided to launch a business in Tijuana, there is a need to know about the manufacturing companies. The decision to choose a manufacturing company is not so easy as it looks.   The rig...

News Company - avatar News Company

Tradies are actually getting on well. ServiceSeeking's data surprises

Across the Top 20 Industry Categories for Household Trades and Home Improvement  3 Industries are showing massive growth in jobs listed: Rubbish Removal, Carpet Cleaning, and Door Installation 4...

Jeremy Levitt - avatar Jeremy Levitt

Why Use Spill Containment Pallets

Oils, liquids and chemical leaks as well as spills are risky. If your business involves moving, receiving, and storing drums containing oils or chemicals, there’s a high risk of accidents and in...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion