Storyboards Are Fun To Look At, But How Are They Really Used?

blog-2-300x200In the production world, you’ll hear the term “storyboards” tossed around a lot. They’re a great way to visualize your shot list and prepare to move into production. For our commercial productions, we find that proper storyboards are imperative for a few reasons:

Firstly, they are a helpful way to organize the shots. Commercials are usually limited by time. We have to tell a complete story in 60 seconds, 30 seconds, sometimes even 15 seconds, so it’s important to make every shot count. Storyboards and animatics help us to determine the best way to tell the story in the allotted timeframe.

Secondly, they’re extremely helpful for the director and DP. The storyboarding process usually starts with a conversation between the director and the artist (and may feature some stick figures doodled on a piece of paper). Ultimately though, it’s up to the artist and their understanding of the director’s vision to illustrate the frames that will tell a complete story. We’ve found on multiple instances that the artist’s interpretation of a scene might vary from how the director had initially envisioned it, and that his objective point of view has swayed the director’s preference for how to frame a shot.

Thirdly, they’re a fantastic way for the client to see exactly what you have in mind for the piece. You can have a million conversations about how something is going to look, but nothing conveys it quite as well as being able to show them the proposed frames in sequential order.

Lastly, they’re just plain cool! They make a great keepsake for the actors who have been illustrated, and can be a really nice way to commemorate the production.

To show you an example of how storyboards inform actual shots used in a commercial, we’ve aligned the frames that our awesome artist Randy Michaels created for a recent shoot with C&J Bus Lines. As you’ll see, they don’t always match up 100%, but it’s very cool to see how closely an artist’s interpretation of the director’s vision lines up to the finished spot.