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Storyboarding Conundrum

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Kevin Sheppard
Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 6, 2009 at 11:30:48 am

Hi Guys,

I'm currently working on a film - i'm the director, producer, main character and generally all-around guy for the project.

I have the script fleshed out and I have some very particular visions of how I want each shot to be, however, I don't posses the artistic skills to do a storyboard for myself. I'm also acting in the film (as said before) and some of the shots involve me.

The question: How could I get my camera man to know exactly the kind of shot i'm looking for? How do I get him to get the closeness, angle and motion of the shot just right? The most obvious answer would be to get someone to do the storyboard for me, but how do I get him to know exactly what I'm going for as well?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 6, 2009 at 2:54:11 pm

There is previz software for this, you can choose how much money and quality you need. It can be as simple as moving clip art around in powerpoint slides, rough arrangements made with free Google Sketch-Up, or redering out a still using Poser, or a full-blown pre-viz program, several are out there, I think Toonboom makes one now. The more sophisticated/expensive ones let you simulate actual lenses, lighting, and even jib and dolly moves in storyboards as well as animatics (animated boards.) Use as much or as little as you want/need, and you don't have to be an artist to get your ideas across.


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Richard Herd
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 6, 2009 at 5:23:42 pm

frrameforge3d.com
http://www.frameforge3d.com/index.php



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Kevin Sheppard
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 7, 2009 at 2:18:37 am

Hey thanks a million, man. Not sure it'll work too well for fight scenes, but I suppose it's better than nothing.



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todd mcmullen
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 7, 2009 at 3:15:24 am

hey kevin,
why not walk through the scenes with the dp. give them an idea of the mood and feeling of the scenes and ultimately the camera angles will find themselves.
good luck

Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


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Fernando Mol
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 7, 2009 at 5:07:24 am

When I am shooting a commercial and the guy from the agency can't explain "exactly" what kind of shot he wants, I give him a digital camera and ask him to search for the angle.

Of course, you need a still camera with equivalent lenses of your video/film camera.

For the moving shots, take a series of pictures of every important frame.



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Richard Herd
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 7, 2009 at 5:56:53 pm

Frameforge3d allows you to animate the characters and the camera, so if you want to spend the time, you could create a very reasonable facsimile.

BUT!

Storyboarding a fight scene may not be that important. It seems more important to choreograph it and then take it several times from a few angles (or multi cam), because, in my mind, fight scenes have a unique pacing problem during the edit. There's so many ways to treat it too.





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Ben Hall
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 7, 2009 at 9:40:30 pm

I'd suggest finding a stand in and have them work during your blocking sessions.

Block (Stand in starts work here)
Light
Rehearse(Stand in is released here, as talent will be in scene)
Shoot

Having one for DP will also allow him the luxury of getting light as "right" as possible, especially if you're following any sort of beauty scheme.

Cheers!

Mal: If anyone gets nosy, just, you know... shoot 'em.

Zoe: Shoot 'em?

Mal: Politely


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Todd Terry
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 7, 2009 at 10:51:19 pm

I agree.... I think a stand-in is the way to go.

As a director you'll want to be able to watch the blocking from the camera POV anyway, and lighting/blocking/rehearsals with a stand-in is the only real way to do that.

Storyboards can be good, but those are much more of a director's tool to work out angles and potential problems... not really used so much as a blueprint to show a camera operator how/what to shoot. In fact, I can't recalling ever seeing them used like that at all.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Kevin Sheppard
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 8, 2009 at 1:06:35 pm

Ok, I thought of something kind of related to the stand-in concept - what if I get a person to play me in all of the scenes, then I take a digital camera and record (at a bare minimum res) exactly how I want the shot to be. I could then show this to my camera man so that he can actually see teh movement and framing of the shot. Knowing my actors, they won't have a problem spending an hour or two conducting this exercise.

I won't do this on the day that we're shooting as it would take some time, but i'll do it as part of the pre production phase.
How does that sound?

Oh and as for the fight scene issue, I think i'll follow Richard's advice on it, but would that technique work for a fight scene with the same pacing and angles as this one? -



(2:04-211)



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Richard Herd
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 9, 2009 at 1:00:23 am

The only problem I see is the video you linked is not real. That is, cameras are heavy, and actors get tired. Some of the camera moves are literally impossible in real life. Not to mention, the physics of jumping don't work like they do in animation.

Keep in mind that (generally speaking) pacing is created in the edit, not in the shooting.

One trick you should use is to put your camera reasonably far from the action and zoom way in on it to get your frame. Have the actors do their thing. Then move the camera 15 degrees one way (and then the other) and change the zoom lens to something different. If your first set up is a close up, then make your second set up a wide shot. (or vice versa). Any time you zoom in from a distance, please put the camera on a tripod.

To really vary your coverage, you can use set up 1 to zoom in on a tripod. Set up 2, on the tripod but wider and closer to the action. Set up 3, hand hold it. See what I mean?

The point is: if a guy punches a guy, and you want it to feel all fast and high pace, you'll need that punch from two-maybe-three angles. Then in editing you can cut-cut-cut.

If you don't move the camera 15 degrees, you'll create a jump cut feel--which ain't so bad sometimes. Another complication is negotiating the 180 degree line. There's a whole school of thought on what to do, why, what the audience will feel.



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Quddus Miller
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 8, 2009 at 3:41:28 pm

Use a digital camera to show your DP/Camera Operator exactly what kind of shot you are going for. It is instant and if you are doing rehersals or you are actually getting ready to shoot the scene. Take a digital photo of the exact framing and composition you are going for.



Quddus Joel Miller
Videographer


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Kevin Sheppard
Re: Storyboarding Conundrum
on Jan 9, 2009 at 1:28:18 am

I guess i'll have to tone down the action a bit then....

Thanks for the help, guys. I'll see how it turns out.



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