Research Into Storyboards…

The next step in our pre production section of the coursework is to create a full set of storyboards. This aspect of the process is arguably one of the most important parts as it helps us to clearly and accurately map out our film openings. It will most probably be at this point when we decide whether to stick with our original plan, or to start from scratch. The storyboards will also prove to be hugely useful when we begin to film because we can use them as a set of instructions on how to set up the scene and where to position the camera. By following the plan of the screenplay and storyboards, hopefully our filming process will be much easier and more efficient with the best outcome possible. In order to create realistic, accurate and ultimately useful storyboards I have researched into the codes and conventions of a professional storyboard…

Although I had a vague idea as to what a storyboard was, my understanding was fairly limited. Because of this, the first thing that I decided to research was… What ACTUALLY is a storyboard? From a brief search on Google, I found that a storyboard is “a sequence of drawings, typically with some directions and dialogue, representing the shots planned for a film or television production.” From this definition, I learnt that the drawings themselves would have to be drawn in order to display the specific camera shot and composition of the shot. From previous experiences with storyboards, I simply sketched the images in a chronological order in order to display the storyline of the video. I also noted that directions and dialogue would need to be included in our storyboards. Although I gained the main points from this definition, I thought it be best to research deeper into the conventions of a storyboard…

Here are a few of the legitimate storyboards drawn for Disney’s ‘Lion King’ released in October 1994…

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Conventions of professional storyboards… 

  • Film Aspect Ratios – As storyboards are used in order to plan what the audience will see when watching the film, the size of the boxes must match the size of the screen. By matching these sizes, the storyboards can be more accurate as planning of positioning and angles can be made considering the space that would be given in real life. Some common ratios used in film are 1:1.85 and 1:2.2.
  • Camera Angles – It is important to include the camera angles going to be used in reality when planning storyboards as when filming, the storyboards can be used as a prompt and visual aid in setting up the shot. By displaying all camera shots on the paper before filming, the variety and range can also be planned efficiently. Without planning the angles, it could be argued that storyboards would be almost useless. Camera angles may include long shots, close ups and down shots.
  • Camera Movement – Planning the movement of the camera before actually filming allows you to get a sense of the film and how it will flow and work together. By planning movement in advance, rules such as the ‘180 Degree Rule’ can be put into place more efficiently.  Some movements may involve pans, tilts and zooms.
  • Location – The location of a shot can be planned in advance by using storyboards. Not only this, but mies-en-scene within this shot such as positions of props can also be planned out earlier and moved around if not aesthetically pleasing.
  • Characters – The specific characters, their positions and actions can be displayed within a set of storyboards. By having a visual aid, the director’s of the film will be able to see the aesthetics of the shot and be able to alter them if not pleasing to the eye.
  • Sound – Important sounds, including both diegetic and non-diegetic, must be noted onto the storyboards.By planning this out before, you will get more of an understanding as to when what sounds are expected and when.
  • Timing – The length of each shot must be noted on the storyboards. Typically, this is noted in the top corner of each individual box. By planning out the timing, you can easily assess the flow of the film.

After researching the many conventions that are necessary when creating storyboards I was fairly overwhelmed as had not considered many of these before. However, now that Emelia and I have the knowledge of these conventions, we plan to use them when creating our own storyboards for our film opening. In doing so, we hope that our storyboards will be to as much use as possible in future aspects of the task such as filming and editing.

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