Thursday, 25 February 2016

Extended Design: Storyboards

Act One - Rough Market scene

I wanted to use the knowledge that I had learnt from COP3 within my work - so I immediately went straight into thumbnails to draw what I envisioned for the first scene. I wanted to slowly reveal the character, showing him walking past people that the camera focused on before turning to a full shot of the main character walking through the street. After this full shot holding for 5 seconds it cuts to a full close up as the main character turns his head as something catches his eye. I wanted this next sequence to show the characters personality, I wanted the character to be a travelling merchant who travels to collect and sell rare and shiny items. I decided to show this element of his love for shiny items by showing the character at a stall holding different items as he tries to haggle with the market stall merchant. This sequence was mainly in medium shots so it wasn't that visually interesting. So I quickly sketched another version next to it, using a range of long shots to a medium close up on one of the items. I preferred this second version as it was more interesting however I wasn't so keen on the character movement with him standing up - I decided to leave this part in for now so that I could focus on the rest of the sequence. The rest of the sequence was admittedly quite rushed, I wanted to stop focusing on the content/neatness of the frame so that I could draw the sequence of events more easily. However whenever I draw in this way my shots always keep to close ups which makes the following boards quite boring. I did however gain a better understanding of what I wanted to happen in this sequence so I went straight to redrawing the thumbnails again.

Act One - Market scene thumbnails

With the previous set of thumbnails in mind I decided to cut out the amount of time it took for the main character to be introduced in the animation. I liked the slow start but I knew that this would add unnecessary time to the length of the animation and it work more successfully with the flow of the animation. With the cut of this sequence, the storyboards begin with a slow pan into the main market environment to then cut to a 3/4 long shot of the main character walking down the market street. I then wanted a medium shot of the main character looking at the environment around him as something catches his eye. I kept the medium shot of the market stall as the main character inspects the wares, pointing at items he likes and haggling with the dealer before noticing something that he really wants to buy. As the main character steps back from the stall, getting carried away with haggling for the item he wants, a figure that is introduced in the background, runs into him, leaving the main character with a item. I wanted this sequence to be shown in close and long shots to add drama to the shot, I had intended for the main character to be knocked down however I didn't think this was needed with the following sequence. Before which, an over shoulder shot reveals a close up of the item that the character is left with, with another medium shot as he turns to shout to the figure that he left his item. Whilst he is doing so, an ominous shadow appears behind him, cutting to a close up pan of the main characters head turning to reveal a thug character looming over him.

I then added a high angle shot of the main character looking up at the camera, as the thug shadow engulfs the frame before cutting to a close up of the thugs eyes. I didn't like this as much, it needed to be zoomed out slightly before going straight to the facial features, with the next revision I want to edit this possibly adding a low angle shot to show how vulnerable the main character is in comparison to the thug. The last few frames are not as interesting as I had hoped, the close up of the main character apologizing, a case of mistaken identity as the thug accuses the main character for theft, the item falls to the ground and it smashes. The shot then cuts to a close up of the thugs shoe before twisting out to reveal a canted angle of the thug - with another cut to a full close up of the thug pointing at the main character. I wanted to add a comedy moment where as the thug is pointing the main character has already ran away, which I really liked but the problem with this sequence of events is that the framing wasn't interesting. I need to revise these frames at a later date however I can still create a rough animatic with these boards so far to send to my voice actor and musician.

Act Two -The Chase Post it notes

After creating the first act in rough thumbnails, I decided to draw the rest of the scenes in post it notes first. Personally I should have done this for the first scene however I was too excited to start creating the story so I jumped head first to thumbnails, when in actuality I should have done post it notes then thumbnails.

Using post it notes is a beautiful process that allows you to quickly draw the camera angles and switch frames or easily tilt them to show the movement or express a different atmosphere with the composition. Even though this is an easy process, there is alot of thinking that goes into the framing - it took quite awhile for me to post it note this scene. It was more visualising how the jump over the kart would be done, I contacted Perry Flowers for possible reference who was recommended by a fellow student Elyse Jackson. Not only was I stuck on the strong action poses through out this small action, but how I would frame this movement. I wanted a mixture of camera angles to make the action flow successfully as well as interesting for the audience. I didn't want to stick to a boring profile view - I wanted a mixture of profile to high angles and possibly the camera following the main character running towards the kart before switching to the actual jump which could be a mixture of profile and extreme worms eye view. I actually drew this in the post it notes par from the worms eye view, I felt that this sequenced worked extremely well, I was really happy with the change of angles as well as the landing which was quite dramatic, switching to 'cute' as the character stumbles slightly.

After this sequence a low close up shot of the thug's shoe is shown before panning and zooming out to show a dynamic and threatening stance of the thug who has just knocked down the kart before continuing to chase the main character. The main character, over the shoulder shot, sees an escape root and continues, close up shot of hands, to slide over the stall to run into the alley way. I quite liked this sequence as the landing after slide worked quite well as there were quite a few strong poses in the movement. I wanted the camera to follow the movement as he lands, possibly a slight wobble of the camera to add to the movement however whether this would translate well into the animation in comparison to the storyboards is something I would have to test in the animatic.

I then went on to begin post it noting the next act quickly with the alley transition that connects the market background with the enclosure like area that I want to look completely different, as if the main character has stepped into a different plane. I wanted the alley to be quite dark and gloomy looking as the character stops to catch his breath with the walls seeming to never end - however with the way I have storyboarded this part, I really didn't like the angle of him bending down slightly as he catches his breath. It was only framed at a long profile shot but it wasn't interesting enough. I think this sequence would be more successful if the angle was kept at a slight low view with the character running towards the camera and filling the camera as he starts to slow down. I think this would be more visually interesting and help the transition from the bright market scene to the alley environment.

The following post it notes were quite jarring as I only did very key frames so there were no inbetweens to show how these would connect as well - however I really liked angle that I drew the main character, in a tilted medium shot, as it was quite dramatic with the hand and spyglass being so in the foreground and the rest of his body being slightly blurred to show this distance. 

Act Three - Enter the shadow

For the last act, I re drew the last few frames from the previous set of notes, which worked far more successfully with both the composition and the framing. I zoomed out the camera for quite a few of the frames and brought it back into close ups, which worked well with the introduction of the new environment and the detail of the spyglass. I wanted the following four frames to be angled differently purely for how close these shots were, the part were he bends down to pick up the spyglass works however when he throws the spyglass in the next two frames, the shot seems flat. I think it's the angle compared to the composition of the frame, that needed to be revised.

I love the next sequence, instead of showing the reaction shot of the main character smashing the spyglass, the camera stays stationary on the main characters shadow as the spyglass sinks into his shadow, lastly the camera twist pans into the shadow showing the last moments of the spyglass before it completely sinks into the shadow - cutting to a tilted long shot of the main character sat on the ground trying to see what happened to the spyglass. All of a sudden, in the same shot the shadow starts to gurgle and it dramatically cuts to the next frame, a medium shot of a figure darting upwards from the shadow - I want to change this shot to zoom out more so that the ground and shadow can be seen as it the frame doesn't seem to have that awareness of space compared to the previous frames.

The following shot is the same medium shot but over the shoulder of the main character as the figure is in shot - a pan into the face, a close up shot to introduce the shadow, Dusk. The next few scenes finally introduce more dialogue, so I purposely kept some of the movement in the same shot, or return to the same shot to add humour and interesting compositions for the audience to perceive.

The main sequence of shots that I didn't like on this next board was the medium shot of the main character standing up. It was not only the shot I didn't find appealing but the action as well. The action wasn't needed, in fact it could easily be done off screen with the next frame showing the main character brushing dust and dirt from his knees to show to the audience that he just stood up. Additionally the following post it notes were kept to an extreme close up and medium shots, making them quite flat. This can be seen in the last four panels which show the same angle and shot, I want to change this and add a low angle in to show how mischievous and cunning the shadow is.

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