Storyboarding is quite possibly one of the most crucial phases in scientific animations. It is the first glimpse of a story that goes from the written word to a visual context. A great storyboard artist influences storytelling, cinematography, and pacing of any animated script he or she chooses to interpret. With that said, the storyboard artist becomes one of the most crucial artists on the team and should be respected for both his narrative vision and artistic talent.
Some believe that the storyboard artist is akin to an animation director, interpreting each script into cut scenes that tell a visual story. This couldn’t be more true for any other storytelling medium than animation. Each frame in animation must be planned, anticipating every scene’s contents, action, dialogue, and flow, because what you see is what you get… literally.
On the other end of the spectrum, live action has the luxury of shooting what’s called coverage. Coverage is the method of shooting the same scene, with the same line, from the same actor over and over again, but each take is from a different camera angle, like closeups, wide shots, top-down shots, etc. This gives the editor and director the most choices when it comes to constructing a scene. For example, say you shoot a scene with an actor delivering the line, “How do you like your new digs?” The editor or director can choose between starting with a wide shot at “How do you like” and then cutting to a close-up of “your new digs?”
Get it? The director isn’t locked down to just one choice; she can cut from one angle to another in order to maximize the narrative. For the live-action process, it’s a necessity. With storyboarding as our only method of translating words into pictures, it makes sense that this phase of the process be treated with careful consideration, planning, and execution, because in animation what you see is what you get.