Digging Holes and Filling in the Holes

March 1, 2014



This video (above) contains two scenes that were story boarded and then photographed and then the individual frames put into a video editing timeline, cut and timed to how the shots may be presented and sequenced in the final video. This picture reel is sometimes refered to as an animatic. It is a way to watch the video in drawing form and allows the maker a sense of pace and perhaps holes in the script or storyboards. Best, to find those holes before actual shooting begins than to shoot a scene while not having all the footage to effectively cover the scene.


I've recently begun the practice of replacing the story board frames with the actually video shots when they are complete. In other words, after shooting a scene or a day's worth of shots, I then load the video footage into the computer and insert the shots into the timeline, replacing the storyboarded shots with the final video shots, as I said. This way I can see how the scene flows and then it is clear to me the next shots that need to be shot. In a sense, I am editing the video and the storyboarded frames become the holes that need to be filled. This way, time is also saved in editing.


Storyboards are one of the greatest tools of a film maker. It is the first real step of bringing the word into the image. One can "write" a story using storyboards only, just as a comic book artist tells stories through frames of images. For me, storyboards have a life of their own and sometimes the final video feels a let down in comparison to the intrigue I get from the storyboards and the possibilities they hint toward.


Andrew Adamson, the director of Narnia and Shrek decided to storyboard the whole of Narnia and edit the film in animatic form before any shooting began. Coming from animation, this makes perfect sense. Animation, in a sense, is an animatic with a few between-frames thrown in to give the illusion of movement.


This scene with Tony was made easy because I had my storyboards with me. Without storyboards I might be nervously running around trying to figure out the logistics of the shot and the scene and all the rules of cinema (standards in framing, the 180 degree rule, creative angles and shot size choices etc.) while forgetting some of the most important things to remember - Is the acting conveying the emotion of the story? Am I covering the scene? (with all the shots I will need to edit.) Storyboards relieve me of all that stress and mental activity because I had worked much of those things out while sitting alone at a table with my sketchbook and cup of coffee one morning weeks before.

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