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Video Storyboards

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Todd TerryVideo Storyboards
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:14:29 pm

Hey gang...

Just thought I'd share a technique that worked well for us recently landing a new job. Everybody may already be doing this, I dunno... but it's the first time we did.

The backstory: A hospital client of ours tasked us with concepting and producing a new commercial campaign for them. We concepted and wrote a campaign of three commercials, and had the usual scripts and storyboards made with iStock proof images....



We realized though that these spots were probably going to be of somewhat greater budgets than the client was used to (or expecting)... considering shooting format, various multiple locations, quite a few actors, and expensive voice talent. In fact, probably more than three times as much... but thought they were strong and planned to give them a good pitch. They are a gigantic regional hospital... but a not-for-profit and their budgets are tight.

However, a couple of hours before our meeting with them, I thought "Hey, why not show them a video storyboard?" I ran into the audio booth, and even though I sounded awful from a head cold I quickly recorded a scratch track for one of the spots and very roughly edited together the images from the storyboards. We were then able to take a DVD to the meeting to show what one of their spots might look like...



Well... the marketing gurus there loved being able to really see what it might be like... much more than just a paper script or storyboards. They are terrific marketing people who have good ideas and can visualize things, but I know the video helped a great deal. They grumbled a bit about the cost (can't blame them, it was much more than they expected), but within a few minutes approved the three-spot campaign and sent us to work. They didn't even want a word of the script changed, and even liked the scratch music we had used.

I can't say I'd do this for every client or every project, but in this case I think it definitely helped seal the deal. It was certainly more than worth the little bit of time and energy it took to do.

And, as it turns out, this was one of those fairly rare cases where the finished product pretty closely mirrors the initial vision.... here's the first spot, the one that we "video storyboarded"...



As bigger budget spots are finding tougher client scrutiny these days, we'll probably be doing more of these. It sure worked this time.


T2

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






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Michael HancockRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:50:59 pm

Beautiful spot.

We've done the same thing, and it also helped land the client. If someone has a hard time visualizing the script, a video storyboard or animatic can go a long way in helping sell your idea to them.

The only issue we've had is getting some clients to understand that the storyboard is just a rough idea of the expected visuals and in no way exactly what the final spot will look like. Some people latch onto the animatics/video storyboards as nearly finished spots.

We don't do it for all clients either. But for the bigger clients it seems to be worth it.

Michael

-------------------------------
I'll be working late.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:53:26 pm

"Animatics" and "Photomatics" like what you did Todd, are over 25 years old, now we call them "pre-vis" instead, but yeah, they can be a good idea. They used to be used a LOT more when all spots were originated on film, to save development costs.

I remember an actual spot in Chicago a long time ago where the clients liked the animatic of moving hand-drawn illustrated stills so much, they approved ans ran the animatic as the actual finished spot, and never shot motion footage at all! There is always the danger of someone not "getting" that this is a rough demo, I would leave in a lower-third or corner bug on the screen to keep them from making that cognitive error.

You also can't go wrong using Peter Thomas for your VO guy, MAN, I wish I could do that.

Does he still get residuals for the Paul Hardcastle song that excerpted samples of him?

BTW, I like the finished spot very much, but I think the finish is stronger if there wasn't that premie baby shot at the beginning, because it steals energy from the final reveal. But it is a good strong spot nevertheless.



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Todd TerryRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 5:03:07 pm

[Mark Suszko] "You also can't go wrong using Peter Thomas for your VO guy, MAN, I wish I could do that."

Yep, Peter is THE man. I use him as much as I can (where appropriate), but try not to overuse him. He's great for health care, political, etc.... wherever you need a narrator that's just dripping with authority, yet not a cliched "Voice of God" type. And a sweeter old guy you'll never meet.

I'll have to ask him if he's still getting paid for Hardcastle's "17."


T2

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






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Mark SuszkoRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 5:12:51 pm

not 17, nnnnnnnnineteen......


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Todd TerryRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 5:15:35 pm

Duh... you're right. Dunno what I was thinking.


T2

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






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Chris BlairRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 1:56:48 am

Funny, but we've done this several times for a very large health care company in our area as well. We did it to land the account in 2005, and have done it 2 or 3 other times for larger budget spots in campaigns.

But I agree with others that storyboarding can be both a huge benefit, or a curse. We've done storyboards for pitches that deteriorated into long discussions about things like:

"we don't want the guy in our spot to have mustache like the guy in the boards...he CANNOT have facial hair..."

or

"Are you going to use those still photographs or will you shoot new photos of our people?"

or

"The logo doesn't look right."

I could go on for days about how showing some clients storyboards actually caused the idea to devolve! Not to mention creating nice storyboards can be very time-consuming and clients HATE paying for it!

I typically draw stick-figure or rough-sketch (I draw well enough) storyboards for my own use prior to complex shoots.

VERY nice spot by the way. Love the use of foreground elements and depth of field. Exactly what I try to do on larger budget shoots.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Tim WilsonRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 5:42:57 am

Hey Todd, post the video storyboard too. It would be very cool to see them side by side.

We had an article in the magazine that talked about this, btw. They only had the budget for a few hours on location, so they mapped out EVERYTHING - every angle, every dolly, the whole shebang. They also mapped out the edit - timing, music, etc. - to help keep post on time and on budget too.

The article is called "Fix It In 'Pre': Workflow Starts Before the Shooting Does." Includes lots of photos of the finished piece, but also test shoots in the office, and the movies for the animatic and the final project. Check it out.


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Todd TerryRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 6:46:56 am

[Tim Wilson] "Hey Todd, post the video storyboard too."

Ummm... I did, Tim... it's in my original post that started this thread.

I say this because you are my friend... and I've told you over and over... but you must start breaking those pills in half. We're begging you.


T2

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






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Tim WilsonRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 7:56:50 am

D'oh! I only watched the finished version before making my post.

It's all lovely stuff. Thanks for posting.

[Todd Terry] "you must start breaking those pills in half. We're begging you."

Half of one? Actually, I'm thinking I need to double up on whole pills.



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walter biscardiRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 2:10:08 pm

Outstanding work Todd.

We used Pages to storyboard the documentary project before we got started and that was a huge help in making the client understand what the various sections would look like and the imagery before we started. It was 48 pages, but really worked well.

And FYI, Pages can include video elements in documents so that could even be a neat thing too for a meeting.

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Todd TerryRe: Video Storyboards
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 8:40:11 pm

[walter biscardi] "We used Pages to storyboard the documentary project"

Forgive what is probably my complete ignorance Walter (sometimes I live in a techo-cave)... but, what is that?


T2

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






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