Storyboards have been used in filmmaking almost since its inception. Some directors create their own while others rely on a storyboard artist. Regardless, well-developed storyboards can save time, money and stress.
In other words, in the production process, storyboarding can be a lifesaver. No matter how large or small of a production you are working on, having storyboards can increase efficiency by giving much needed direction for planning shots in production as well as streamlining edits in post-production.
We asked our storyboard artist, Ethan Liner, to shed some light on why storyboards are so valuable. Below are his thoughts:
What are some of the ways people use storyboards?
- They bring clarity to a film/video project.
- They bring the script to life.
- They help the production team visualize their shot list.
- They give the editors a strong foundation to build on, and much, much more.
Above the line: In Pre-Production
Just because the script has been approved, that doesn’t mean everyone sees it the same way.
Storyboards are used by film makers and production teams to help get everyone on the same page. The beauty of a film/video production is perceived, in large part, through a visual experience; a good storyboard can cast a clear vision of what that experience will be. This also allows the film maker(s) to see things in the script that need to be adjusted. Along with these benefits, preproduction illustrations allow directors and actors to see beforehand, what they’re getting themselves into. In short, storyboards provide production teams with a means to function at a higher level of cooperation and help them better prepare, beforehand, for the shooting/filming stage.
On the line: While Shooting the production
Pre-Production artwork helps prevent “shooter’s block.”
Even in the inspiring excitement of a video shoot, it’s difficult for a director/cinematographer to consider all the shots, plotting and continuity that a script demands without a reference point. A storyboard visually represents the script/shot list in a way that removes much of the guess work from the footage gathering process. Many of the issues of directional progression and subject positioning are considered in the storyboarding process.
Pre-production artwork allows the director to focus on directing.
Basically, if a team doesn’t know what they’re doing, storyboards will improve their work. If a team does know what they’re doing, they will be able to improve on the storyboards. Storyboards improve productions.
Below the line: In Post-Production
When it comes to editing, storyboarding is the best thing since sliced bread.
After the video footage has been collected, the time comes to put it all together. The editing phase is that with which storyboards seem least commonly related. In fact, the editing process is where the vision captured by the storyboards in pre-production, meets the intentional footage captured on shoot day. This part of the production benefits as much as any from the forethought invested into the storyboards. The vivid translation of the script that is communicated to the editor through pre-production illustrations, gives them guidelines that save them from hours of headaches. Editors job becomes more orderly and efficient when they use a storyboard.
If you are interested in having a resource that lets you see storyboards and understand the different terminology used in constructing them an excellent resource is the standard film directing book:
Shot By Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen by Steven D. Katz