Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Eros" Storyboard Animatic & production notes

I'm working on a short minute film called "Eros." I finished a draft of the storyboards (here) and talked about my storyboarding process here.

After finishing the storyboards, I worked on what's called an animatic. It's a video sequence of the storyboard drawings. Here's the animatic I have at this point (no sound):

I'm going to talk a little about my process:

Scan the Storyboards

First, I scan in all my storyboards.

Here's a photo of my pile of boards. There's 212 storyboards (a), and over 150 poop boards (b) that I drew or started to draw and didn't make it into the final cut. In the photo is also a pad of the type of paper I use: a CVS brand 4x6 inch blank paper pad (c). In the background is also a notepad (d) where I record the hours I work on the project (and others) and a coke zero for caffeine (e). :)

And here's my trusty (dusty) little scanner, a Canon LiDE 200.

So I scan all 200+ little pieces of paper in. It's a tedious and boring process.

I want to be able to batch process these images, so I try to scan them so they are all the same position and size. I scan them one at a time, trying to put them in the same place each time (there are little page size markers on the inside of the scanner that help with that)

In the scanning program, I make an outline around the preview image. I leave a little room for variation in where I put the next one. Then I press SCAN, replace the image, scan again, until all are scanned in. I write down the size info so I can use the same size for any revision boards I scan later.

Process Images in Photoshop

The images I scanned need to be rotated and darkened. I created two actions in Photoshop to do just that. Photoshop processes them in a few seconds. No fuss, no muss. Below I show the actions I created and their exact settings.

These two actions take the image above and turns it into this:

Why two actions and not one? I don't know ... I just felt like it.

Assemble Images in Premiere

I do video editing in Adobe Premiere. I import all the images into the program and lay them out in 1920 x 1080 pixel, 24 fps sequence. I start out giving each image about three seconds of screen time. Then I watch the resulting film and see how it flows.

It doesn't flow very well. So I then go back and make some parts shorter and some parts longer. It's a trial and error process. The action is sparse and there are no sounds, so I try to imagine the missing action as it's playing and edit accordingly.

Invariably, there are some boards that don't work or aren't clear, so next I do revisions. I make notes of which areas need work and redo those areas. I can't say how many revision boards I did, but it was a bunch.

It's really nice to see the story come together in this way. I can get a really good sense of what the final film will be like without doing months and months of work. 

And that's it! That's what I have right now. Next I want to add some temporary sounds and maybe even music, but I thought I'd share the sound-less version first. If you are curious to know anything else about this process, let me know!

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