Storyboards by Matt Ottewill

Storyboards are frame by frame 'illustrations' of the 'key frame' moments in a proposed timeline based media production. This definition may sound vague, but that is because their application and use is widespread in many disciplines.

What are they used for?

Here are some of the uses and users of storyboards ..

Discipline Who uses them? What for?
Animation Producer / director / writer / lead animator To convey a vision to financiers or the creative team.
Video/ TV drama Director To communicate a creative vision to cameramen and creative staff.
Feature film Director / cinematographer To communicate a creative vision to cameramen and creative staff.
Music video Director To support a treatment when pitching for a job.

To allow budgets to be precisely set, and help avoid costly mistakes.
Commercials Advertising agency To communicate the idea to the director and production team
Games Games designers To plan game-play and cut scenes
Web sites Designers To help team members visual designs, interaction, and navigation
Apps Designers To help team members visual designs, interaction, and navigation
Business Managers Presentations of business and project plans

 

What form do they take?

In general story boards will show the key frames from a planned sequence. Sufficient frames (eg anything from between 4 fps to a frame every few seconds) will be drawn to capture the action and show the camera angle and shot framing. They often include arrows to show the direction of the action such as the movement of a vehicle.

Hand drawn illustration

Originally storyboards were created by skilled storyboard artists who were skilled in graphic illustration, and this is still the favoured method when budgets allowed. It is particularly relevant to animation where storyboards are often the developed into finished frames.

Photo montage, or photomatic

Many directors like to assemble storyboards from photos taken at a planned location perhaps with stand-ins.

Computer generated

Computers offer a fast way to create a storyboard visualisation of a scene by utilising wire frame or modelled characters, locations and props.