The Purpose of Storyboarding: Live Action vs. Animation


Storyboarding Your Film


Lesson Info

The Purpose of Storyboarding: Live Action vs. Animation

The purpose of storyboarding right so story boarding right what's the first word story that's what you're doing right telling the story and I think that suddenly you want to think about because that's what it's all about like you guys are probably going to you know you're you're interested in making your own films or maybe you're making your own films uh people in this room and people out there on the internet you know whether it's a tv show or a personal film or a movie it's kind of like the same thing even if it's you know it could be animated it could be c c g b it could be a short commercial it's just you know, you start to get down the basics of what you're gonna show I'm going to show it sequentially yes I can do you know kind of like a like a comic book except you're doing it in the language of film uh you know where it's like you know it's like the fourth dimension of time you're sailing through through a bunch of storyboard panels and uh you know, we're going to go over a lot ...

of thie techniques that you need tio you know the basics you know in one day we're not gonna get through everything you need to know but I think enough to start the storyboarding process and I think the thing is the thing that just to keep in mind when you're doing these storyboards that the technical stuff is secondary to the story that you're telling, you know, you want it to be, uh, you know, the purpose of the storyboard is to get across what you want to tell the audience, right? Or, you know, if you're on a set, you know, the actors, the dp people building the sets, you know? What are they? What are they going to see? What do they need to know? What? Where do your act is going to stand, you know, so on and so forth, animation is a little different. You actually have to kind of, like telegraph the animators that acting, you know, if you have a real actor, they can actually do the acting themselves, right? Yeah, that's what they do with animation, you're getting into things will get into this more later. Where it's more of a I don't see a blueprint but it's it's it's a layout it's a guide for the animator of the acting of the scene it's also a guide for you know what the shot is. Is it a big background with castle in the sky? Or is it a close up shot of some guy drawing on his desk? It's getting into more being a layout where the you know everything really matters where is with live action that could be tight but they can also be a guide of the shot so you have something to go from when you get to wherever you're shooting if you're shooting even officially the documentary or something you might wantto like plan out some ideas of what I might shoot the subject like this may be all like him like this or maybe I'll just have it so when you get there you have something to work with and yeah if you're going to shoot your film you want to know what you're doing when you get there you don't want to figure it out once all the people are standing around spending the money you have the cameras you're renting probably or whatever some maybe you're paying a crew or you're asking your friends andy a favor and you're it waste their time you one of the elector this's clear this is what we're doing storyboard I mean you could do you know you start with a story right and then maybe write the script some people write scripts is usually away things happen and then if the storyboard helps you get there faster like that's the purpose like sometimes maybe it's like maybe you just need a shot list that's something that you know I think some people storyboards stuff that they don't need the storyboard because they feel like maybe I need to do a story board the storyboards only helpful if it clarifies what you need actually the worst thing to do a story boring stuff that is not what you want to do and I've seen people do that before where it's like here's the storyboards and then they start setting up it's like no that's not what I want to do so make sure if you're storyboarding it's actually what you want to shoot to tell this story I was fine when I'm uh you know, I keep going back to this like the word story because you know, a lot of people focus on the drawing or the technical side, but so much of it is like isn't interesting is it helping you tell your story and when? Now that I'm you know that I have my city and we have to hire storyboard artist one of things I always do when I hire a storyboard artist has asked him to tell me a joke because I figure if they can tell a joke, they can probably probably have happened like probably have a better chance to be able to pull off a gag or story you know, like like it was a joke is a story right? You have your beginning middle end and you know, I think that's a way tio think about this it's not just like I need to draw a shot that looks like this you know the whole purpose of drawing shots is to engage your audience and to get people interested in this thing and do you work out what is the best way tio to tell their story we should have like a little running tally of how many times we say the word story in this class he's gonna be a lot of guys it's gonna be a lot you're gonna take the tally there all right how many hasn't been so far please put more than eight yeah yeah I don't trust this guy I think it's time I think he's tallies off I think we're up to like seventy four into the boarding yeah yeah yeah boarding part right now I'm cool so that's the purpose of storyboarding son jin on so reward these beautiful paddles here this was for a live action movie uh these air like more presentational boards you don't necessarily do your story boys this beautifully in color and all that stuff if you ever look at my boards or christie's boards they don't look nearly as being like my board by board super rough super fast and we're getting this more later but for me it's like just to get the ideas out because for me it's the kind of thing it's like it's a little bit like if you write to like get everyone works a little differently but I like to sit there and just get it out, get it out, get it out to all the use is gone and then I go back and edit and look at things and think about it though this might be cooler this way because you want to get that first round out and then you, khun, because for me, usually my first round I throw out and when I go back and do it, I'm like all right, that's cool with this would be a little more interesting if I did it this way or think of it and try to think of it in a different way, that isn't for me the most obvious stuff comes out first, but for a presentation board uh, it's totally different because that might be something like for say, like, if you work in advertising if it's for a commercial or add or maybe it's ah, we're going like presentation boarding leader, the schedule of jumping in, but we're going to stick to that line, but anyway, what you said about getting stuff out is really important. You guys ever hear of like, automatic writing? You know, automatic writing is it's like where you just kind of like you don't think about it, you just start writing, you don't know where you're going to go and you just let it take you there I think that is a for me and I think for you to a good approach to doing these thumb now storyboards I always tell my book if I'm directing an episode of a show I'm like, you know generally you don't want a half hour show you have like three storyboard artist made they have like four weeks to do their their act you know it's need each one has an act or somewhere you break it up into three sections that are kind of equal and, uh I was tell the guy so therefore weeks, right? You know seems like a reasonable amount of time I tell him thumb now the entire your entire active one day and I want to see it because then someone from freak out there like that how can you do that? But you totally can if you don't think about it, you don't try to draw good job. Well, all right that's that's english but yeah, because I think the more you think about it, the more you get precious about stuff where you don't want to change it and like if you don't spend any time on it at all, you get your first impression out there, you just run with it and roll with it, you get it's much more pure and you can always go back and change it and the more you noodle it we like this drawing is perfect then you are much more hesitant to go back and throw it away after you've spent like hours during a beautiful giant right and it's a board it's it's the purpose the board again it's it's to get the ideas out and to get kind of a flow in the structure like the sequence and what kind of shots? So I've done this a lot like I tend to get real new delhi will get real detailed I like to work really small because when you get real into a drawing like that you're thinking too much about that drawing not about okay here's the shot of castle then what's next though the guys coming down the road in bly he's coming down the road these kind of things especially in the animation versus live action right like you know in animation you know ultimately with the storyboard you've got a kind of like he kind of are the dp and the editor in a way because there's you know, there is no physical camera to set up there is that you know you're if you're thinking about the composition with live action it's a lot more of like well there is going to be an actor there there is going to be a dp setting up the shot you're basically getting the basics you could literally draw steak figures and stuff and it would probably be enough and you could get into the you know, like the purpose is very different like an animation it's way more like you know this is it this is the thing uh actually at an editor that worked with a cartoon network that worked with a live action producer and they're sitting in the edit and he's can we cut to a close up here and he said, what do you mean way have coverage of this and it's like is we only have the shots that we still rewarded because that's the united nation you know, animate uh they like you you don't cover everything that all angry, you know, but in live action could shoot it you could shoot that your whole scene from every shot and edited it so you know that zoo different kind of approach and that's the thing that that makes sense was like with live action you might say all right, we got the shot straight we got us straight on here but maybe let's try it from this angle, but with animation you're only going to go to your finish thing once because it's so expensive but in the board stage you might try a couple different ways that's where you figure it out yeah, that story all right, we're going backwards, so uh yeah uh oh yeah, I think in animation, you really are working out almost like the progression of shots where is in live action a lot of times you're working out like what you're set up they're going to be I think set ups is a really important thing to think about even in animation you know you want to get your setups worked out because you know, like, I'm sure you know, in super jail it's so complicated it's so it's such a dense show you want your you want people to work off of these same set up so you're not generating an entirely new background for every shot yeah that'll fourth and this might be I don't this is I'll say to advance, but you know, like if you watch and animated shows, you'll see like, think of it, I'm trying to like even the most normal shows like the flintstones or something you always or even a tv sitcom does this cause they shoot for coverage like you'll have your, you know, the settings where they always go like they always like they're always in the living room where they're in the kitchen like because you want to re use those as much as possible because it saves money so you don't want to always have him like let's try the angle appear this time because it's always it's just a different background that way with drawings with views the animation and live action are similar and that it's like you know if you're working on a job or even on your independent film it's like you know you're gonna have a budget you have a certain amount of sets you khun build um or if you're shooting a green screen a certain amount that you can make in the computer whatever so like you know you're doing like a like a three camera you know sitcom it's like well you're gonna have your living room and you're you're weird diner and then maybe every episode you have an allowance for one other location and you gotta respect that you're doing a single camera show maybe you got a little bit fancy or budget you're going you know shooting outside and not miss it but you it's good to know your limitations when you're storyboarding as well because you know she did this awesome story board that's impossible to shoot that's not going to help you out in any way it will probably be really frustrating for your dp who's like I can't I can't do one hundred fifty set ups today it's this impossible right? I don't know way moving on to the next one do we cover animation versus left about does your drawing style change between like live action and animation so is the way you storyboard? Yes I think so right? So I think with live action it's like depending on the purpose of it because I think there's like a practical storyboard for live action it's like ok, I'm the director I just need to communicate to the dp what I need to do that can be very loose and rough or there's like I'm pitching this to the producer or the studio and I need to sell them on my sequence that I want to shoot so they can approve the budget for my car chase or something that's going to be super expensive and then they've got to be really fancy looking whatever but the one thing you you don't have to do is worrying about like drawing on model or doing the report. You might not even know who your actors are when you're still rewarding sometimes for a lot of action where's for animation like that's what it is you even find like you know you know when you give a scene to an animator your sometime you ship it overseas, sometimes you have guys local but I find like storyboard is the storyboard artists hand is present all the way to the very end, like if if the storyboard artist draws weird expression even if artest try to put it on model itself, you're going to see it right? Do you find I mean every show is different like different shows require a different level of, say, tightness or looseness like but even though like like with my stuff normally you can be pretty loose it doesn't have to be the tightest drawing but when I say lose there's still this level of expression with either the pose or the expression on the face because that's the first thing that gets put down and that's what gets followed throughout so like the next step is usually lay out so the layout person is going to draw a reflect this sketch you see right here on the screen they're going to take that expression of the person looking what they're surprised at the window or does he have a point there but you're going to you're going to interpret that and draw your clean drawing over on the animators going to animate it and it's usually going you know that's the pose that's going to get cleaned up and drawn you ever hear of an expression called lipstick on the pig you know and when you hear that lipstick on the pig uh basically I use that a lot because home like I mean essentially what it means is like you know no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig it's still a pig right it's never gonna be not a pig so if you start with a clear drawing that is that executes your intention of what you want in that scene you could be very loose it could be very sketchy as long as it's clear uh some artists focus more on beautiful drawings but if it's if you're rendering and drawing are like beautiful folds of fabric and strands of hair on a suppose that's like doesn't doesn't help communicate what you want in that scene is that's where you called lipstick on the pig lipstick on the pig that's very useful I don't know if it's useful it on yeah it was like even on that like on that live action board you'd never shade yeah like that for animation cause you don't need to it's not telling you anything you need to know they're doing it more like maybe you know maybe you know just so it looks like a phone it's a little shade they could maybe sense what it is but with the animation stuff a lot of unless it's something specific like it's a really intense light source you might want like a headlight or fire yeah it's it's uh you know something that helps tell the story we're waiting right there were medical you know you have a guy like him is a magic ring and he needs this shots an effects shot but you do because you you put it in yet I find it's like, you know it's like if you're working in a professional environment you know uh like I don't know how many you guys are interested in becoming like storyboard artist versus doing storyboards for your own thing it's like he just learned not to get precious about stuff because you're going to pitch it to your director and then they're gonna pitch it to depending on the structure of the show there's going to be a show runner there's the executive producers and every stage you know your directors sometimes there's even a storyboard supervisor like on a big budget show it's like all right, you do your boys your story board supervisor is like uh here's some notes then you go to your episode director they've got notes you're supervising director as notes you show runner europeans have notes and it goes to the network of the client they have notes so if you're you know beautifully drawing the tongue inside of somebody's mouth and then it's like, oh, that whole sequence of what you did last week it's all getting thrown out you do something new, then you get real sad if you sure really beautifully yeah like like like filmmaking and animation it's it's it's so collaborative and people forget that it's weird when you work if you do this professionally it's different for you if you're if you do it for your film probably know this but like you can't be there's no reason to be precious because like like again, when you're redoing stuff you're making it better you're trying to get to the best thing you can make and it's part of the process like that's why you want for me? I like my boards were loose because we're not the guy I'll come back with a sequence we'll get this more later or you're working off a script and then thiss parts working but this part let's you know what we could do it like this it's way cooler it's not like you get bummed like I've got to redo this it's wrong it's more like what's the most interesting cool way to show this or that works for this story or that you know it's a process that kind of getting there that's how I like to think of it yeah I mean, this is film making films is the most collaborative art form it's nuts like you can't it's hard to do I mean animation I guess you know you could power through it but I saw that one it's like look at this beautiful film this guy made it only took him four years he did it all by himself and it's like you know you get to make ten maybe those films in your lifetime if it's only you but you know most people collaborate with other folks toe, you know so you could get it done make another one right? So you want to do you think you could maybe make a few of them make a bunch of tv shows, movies, whatever anyway probably getting off topic should we move on? Do we do this one question what considerations would you take for like camera tracking and like actual camera movement howie storyboard already that's way different in animation in live action that's a great quick creek yeah you want to draw some of that stuff like the the uh yeah because like yeah all right, so if you're doing a layout for animation like viewing a pen do we should we are the camera shooting down for this all right so like like a pen in let's leave like let's say you did like a you were doing like a dolly or something so let's say you have ah let's say we'll do little horizon line here and there's like a table or something back here let's just say uh that your character is walking to and they're going to end up here you know? And they're like starting, you know, over here like facing the camera a little smiley face he's happy and then he's walking around like a side view and you know, he's like, you know, doing his thing and he's going to end up there like an animation you wantto like, plan the layout, right? So it's like you're start field, you're a field is here all right? And then you know, maybe you're swinging out a little bit to get more action and you're be field this year and then you're ending up you know, in some shots like this you know where your c field is here you've got a plan this out with like your your arrows and shit because someone has to and stuff because uh you have to draw this background and has to be wide enough and it has to be you know, maybe it has trees or something back here that need to be figured out or you know whatever who knows what a fire hydrant in the foreground that needs to pan by you know something you know? Because he's in the he's in the woods with a fire hydrant and a table that's what the same that's what the scene is so you need to plan like he's you know, you need to be at this field size just getting widening out we're doing you know, this all has to be figured out ahead of time where in live action you could board this with like, you know, he's he's here all right he's still smiling then you could just draw another panel that kind of describes like oh and he walks by ages, draws and little arrows and stuff and you know, your abc panels are very different because as long as the action is clear of what's happening here uh you don't have to draw layout of how it would work because you have a physical camera and a physical space vet you can move a camera and so you don't have to work out like, oh, this has to be this way, and this has to be the size of the guy who's drawn and that the height of the fire hydrant has to be this high because the heart, when you're shooting live action, the fires or it's going to be whatever the height is in the fire hydrant, like it exists, you know, you're on, they mess around, but there were twenty two is meat, you know, meet krister, you know, I think we both, which was, I think, a good thing for us, like, I know we were doing this stuff during the transition of life, from film to computers and all the steps so lay out like this what's interesting ways these two shoot with a big camera called mox barry it's like cameras in a room, I mean it's a huge camera, and it can go up and down, and the thinking there's little cranks, it can move, and when you're doing a shot like this, you know that a thing is like, you're framing this, you have a big piece of artwork on a table and you're planning it and you're going like, click and you're like moving a knob, ones click and it's this technical thing where you're you almost think of the frame ups is a window you're seeing through that you like, you're moving the art through it, and now a lot of this stuff is simulated in the computer, where it's like it's the same thing, but sometimes I wonder if, because we physically didn't understand thinking you get a little bit more of the handle of how, how it works is used to have to plan more, you know, you could fly a little bit more by the seat of your pants these days with computers, when you used to have toe plant it's like, hey, this art has to be this wide, because if you get to the end of it and there's no tree, they're going to the edge of the piece of paper where is now in the computer? You could just, like, open up like a crab biltmore tree? Exactly so, but it's still a smart, good way to think when you really understand that stuff, when you're working on a job, working with people when they don't understand us of sometimes, like, well, how do you not know this? But you know, you do have to think again. The animation ones are a little bit more of an exact layout or blueprint than the live action where you know, it might even be like oh, we got to the site there's this awesome mountain that we want to put it so well we'll go a little wider get that in the shot or something totally the other thing is like, you know, how far like the old restrictions of how far you could zoom in on something that used to tell about it but now I find like a lot of the background guys will be like and that you know, you can zoom in that far it's gonna look like crap, but whatever we got to do a new background for that, but they're not as aware of it because they didn't have to physically paint something a three field where is if you were actually painting something that the old field got charts is like a field sizes were based on the width of how many inches of was so that's like you in a painting the three inches wide is you know you can't get us much detail is one that's like, you know, twelve inches wide, so but on the computer it's it's harder to gauge that stuff because all abstract you know, there's a lot of stuff to do like super this's real basic stuff that I think we know, but they would know, but like when you're doing I don't this thing works, but when you're doing like you know if you have a guy talking and you know they're telling a serious story like oh you're mom died last night or something and you want a truck a serious that's like little things like like this where you know though yeah you know truck in would be you know you might have a slow truck into this is also tradition drifting yeah like you don't terms but even pans to like he did before like you have a guy or a car walking down the street and you don't like I'm part of this bags I'm not thinking if he's running down the street and he gets here you know you do you might do a narrow there's lots of little like things you're right on there they are even like hardly didn't have to do this stuff now but like we used to do stuff like harold just switch on to another piece of paper here like camera instructions that you didn't you don't necessarily have to do for the live stuff it's like if you did a pen you know like you're here doing some hand like this and like whatever we'll just do again like a smiling dude walk from here to here for the purposes is like you might do a little chart like this that shows like move fast and it eases into a slow stop at the end because this's like the amount of frames and like the closer the frames are together, the slower the camera move is at the end, but, uh, you know, lives, you don't have to do that. You just tell your cameraman, hey, could you make the camera of slower, then maybe that's helpful? I don't know. Is that helpful? If someone gives you a little, you know, ahead of time, who knows? I go for the top two us, they're not liked, probably, yeah.

Class Description

An inability to draw doesn't make storyboarding obsolete – no matter how simplistic and basic your stick figures are, you can still use storyboards as a guiding blueprint for your production. In Storyboarding Your Film, Chris Prynoski will show you how to develop simple, effective storyboards which allow you to tackle all kinds of filmmaking challenges.

Chris has used storyboards to develop his best-known works including, Metalocalypse, Freaknik: The Musical, and Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja. In this class, he’ll teach you how to use the basic tool of storyboarding to deconstruct a scene or sequence and how to implement the storyboard as a useful aid for both camera and crew. You’ll learn:

  • Which projects to storyboard
  • Alternative uses and mediums for storyboarding
  • Optimal tools and instruments for storyboard creation
  • How storyboards serve filmmakers

Chris and special-guest instructor, Christy Karacas (director of Adult Swim's Superjail!) will share both original and pre-existing storyboard examples to help ensure your own boards advance your project and act as a useful guide for other key collaborators. You’ll learn simple approaches that will make the creation of storyboards less intimidating and more inspiring.

If you are ready to incorporate more advanced techniques into your filmmaking, Storyboarding Your Film with Chris Prynoski will guarantee your next project is more polished, prepared, and cinematic.