Storyboard is what? How do I make a storyboard?

Many of us certainly would like to engage in professional filmmaking, because the laurels of famous filmmakers sometimes do not give rest. Filming a movie is not such a simple matter. And here it is not enough to have only professional cameras and microphones for sound recording. A preliminary stage, called pre-production, will require a storyboard. This is one of the main points, without which you can not fully create the concept of a movie, animation, commercial, or a single scene.

About what it is and how to perform such actions, then we will go further. By the way, it does not matter if you know how to draw well or not. In this sense, the storyboard can be created not on paper, but with the help of special computer programs, although the most primitive methods can be used. Further it will be understood why.

Storyboard: is this what?

According to official and respected sources, the notion of storyboards boils down to the fact that initially a certain sequence of pictures with images of characters and dialogues is created, taking into account the angle from which the camera will shoot this or that scene.

Thus, the storyboard is a graphical expression of the concept of the film or the video, taking into account some technical aspects relating to both the actors' play and the operator's work. In any case, a good movie can not be created without such preparatory actions. And almost all modern directors use the storyboard to the fullest. However, the question of how to do the storyboard yourself, it is worth starting to consider from the history of its appearance and introduction into the cinematography.

History of the concept

From the history of cinematography it is known that the first person who suggested such a scheme was Webb Smith.

In this case we are talking about the feature film "Gone with the Wind", which was filmed in the distant 1939.

For the feature film, this was a revolutionary innovation. But it's worth noting that in the 1920s the animation approach was first used in animation for animating the comic book concept. And only in the late 20 - early 30-ies. Such a reception received widespread adoption at the Walt Disney studio. So, there were two short animated films that were fully raskadrirovany ("Steamer Willy" and "Mad Airplane"). Since then, this concept has begun to spread to the rest of the studios and is used in the feature film.

How do I make a storyboard?

So, you decided to perform a graphic representation of the story yourself. But how to make a storyboard of a movie, if you can not draw?

In general, drawing here is not the most important thing. You can act like an ordinary child, who can draw at the level of "arms, legs, cucumber - that's a little man coming out." Here the main attention is paid not to the artistic level of drawing scenes and characters, but to what it will look like in the future, what dialogues will be pronounced by the actors.

Accordingly, cooperation with the operator plays an important role. For example, battle action scenes in most cases are removed from the perspective of the overall plan to show the scale of the action. But when some dramatic scene is removed, the operator uses an approximate perspective, so that the viewer fully appreciates the experiences of the characters.

Storyboarding (examples of it will be given below) also assumes a graphical representation of the special effects used in the future.

Very indicative in this regard is the drawing of the Neo and Morpheus combat in the first part of the trilogy Matrix. First, the whole scene was mounted in the form of drawings on the computer, then two doublers of the leading roles performed the battle in reality, and only after that their images were replaced by the actors Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne.

What points need to be taken into account

Since the storyboard is a general concept, it is necessary to approach it very responsibly. Many modern directors of this stage in the creation of movies or commercials openly disliked. After all, in addition to working with the operator, the scriptwriters will also have to be involved in direct cooperation (since dialogues still have to be prescribed).

It goes without saying that it will have to pay considerable attention to the specialists responsible for the creation and imposition of special effects, without which almost no film today can do. Finally, and the appearance of the actors is not the least. It will come in handy tips makeup and lighting, so that the performers of the roles looked in the frame with the most favorable side.

Simplified packages of "animatic"

Now directly about creating the initial project. Many specialists who do not know how to draw or use special computer software, are advised to download the so-called simplified templates. What it is?

In fact, this is some kind of empty mock-up like the ones we see in comics. There are several fields for drawing characters, background or landscape, and separately rendered areas for text. In other words, you get a rough sketch (by the way, this technique is called a sketch storyboard).

Frequently used programs

However, the above method does not seem to be effective enough in that it is impossible to accurately account for when and where exactly the camera of the operator will be located and how the whole scene will look when shooting.

In this case, programs for creating 2D and 3D images are useful. The first type is often used when creating two-dimensional cartoons, the second one is used in more complex animation and cinema.

For 2D sketches, you can use applications like Springboard, ArtRage, Toon Boom Storyboard, StoryBoard Quick & Storyboard Artist, or some Adobe software.

To create 3D images, you can use programs like SketchUp Pro and FrameForge 3D Studio, and for later processing graphics (or for creating animated objects), the software packages Lightwave 3D, D Studio Max, Maya, Blender 3d, etc. will be useful.

Naturally, not all programs are free, and some of them are quite expensive (the price can start from hundred dollars and above). Nevertheless, if you need an intelligent program for storyboards, you will have to shell out a little.

Is it possible to make a movie without a storyboard?

The question of the use of creating sketches of scenes is called quite controversial. You can, of course, from the storyboard and refuse. But, it is believed, this is mainly suitable only for creative filmmakers who, in the process of shooting a film or a video, are not afraid of bold experiments and rely more on improvisation (and their own, and the operator and actors).

But I think that without understanding the general concept of a movie or a video, it's hardly possible to remove something worthwhile. Therefore, it is worth at least approximately sketch yourself some minimum number of sketches. This is akin to the fact that without a script the movie is not removed. A storyboard - this is practically the same scenario, but only executed graphically.

By the way, even Stanislavsky successfully applied the described technique for staging performances in the Moscow Art Theater. In particular, using the storyboard, the play "The Seagull" by Anton Chekhov in 1989 was staged.


It remains to be hoped that the given material will give at least an initial idea of the storyboard and its essence. Those who are going to do film production, the creation of sketches, even at some primitive level, still need to master. This, by the way, is confirmed by many authoritative directors. And here we are talking about animation, advertising and gaming, not documentary.

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