Concept Development And Time Based Design

by | Oct 18, 2015



This research will begin by explaining what a story is and what it consists of.

Martin Scorsese says, ‘Storyboards are the point where I begin,’ “The storyboard for me is the way to visualise the entire movie in advance,” 

These quotes are amazing to read because we know they are coming from the best directors who have years of knowledge in the film industry. Scorsese continues to quote.

“Storyboards express what I want to communicate,”

These quotations are great because they really sum up what a storyboard is and what a storyboard is setting out to do. Scorsese then begins to talk about how storyboards are critical in putting his idea, creation on paper for the whole production team to see and interpret for themselves. This is one of the reasons why storyboards are so necessary, everyone can have a copy and everyone can see what they need to do in order to bring this storyboard to life.




A storyboard in a film is critical to the success of the film’s pre-production and also the production stage. It allows every component of the film industry to know exactly what the directors vision of the film should look like. It allows the director to put across his idea in a clear and easy format for everyone to see. We can see from the quotations above from Martin Scorsese, that to him the storyboard means he is able to visualize the film before anything has been shot or edited together.

There are many stages of detail that a storyboard can go when making a film. Anything from a drawing on a piece of paper to making small models of the scene, then taking photos and film with a small camera to get the shot types.

Directors such as Peter Jackson love to use small camera and models of there scenes to really map out how the shots are going to look down to the exact camera angle. In films such as ‘The Hobbit’ and the ‘Lord of The Rings’ series.

Peter Jackson’s storyboards had to be spot on in order to get his ‘Forced perspective’ look. Making people seem smaller and larger than normal people. This would have had to been planned out extremely careful in the storyboard process of making the film.


Again storyboards are used in theatre for many similar reasons to film. The director of the play needs to demonstrate his idea across to all his actors in order for them to know exactly what they are doing.

Director ‘Dany Lyne’ has a slightly different approach to storyboards, she says,

‘It helps me to share my design ideas with all of the people involved in the creation of a play that are not privy to my studio-based design ideas and discussions which take place with the director. I produce the storyboard at the end of my design process. Through it, I feel that my vision is more clearly understood since I wish to create a poetic environment that lives in time. In a sense I create a visual poem in response to the “music” and text’

This way of looking at the whole idea of a storyboard is for someone who needs the idea summed up to them quickly. She says she prefers to demonstrate her idea across to her actors in more of a theatrical perspective. However still vitally important to keep a storyboard for everyone to be able to see.

Software Design

In the book ‘Storytelling for User Experience’, Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks offer these key points when discussing storyboard in software design:

  • They help us gather and share information about users, tasks, and goals.
  • They put a human face on analytic data.
  • They can spark new design concepts and encourage collaboration and innovation.
  • They are a way to share ideas and create purpose.
  • They can even persuade others of the value of our contribution.

Tips From DreamWork

Ben Caldwell is a cartoonist for DreamWork studios and has given some key points when producing a storyboard.

Avoid flat staging unless when necessary

Dreamworks encourage Caldwell to not use ‘tight rope’ floors and to start thinking in a ‘3 point perspective’ when drawing up his storyboards. This way it keeps the storyboard simple and easy to follow. Caldwell explains that,

‘This adds more depth to your storyboards, which will in turn add depth to your shots.’

Lay down grids to help ‘ground’ your characters & composition

Caldwell admits to being a terrible artist, because of this he finds himself being the only person to understand his drawings. He uses grids so that his characters on on a platform and not floating in mid air. This then gives the artist more control and perspective as he or she is drawing.

Use foreground, mid-ground, background & far background to sell depth

This is an element that is often done while filming however forgotten when drawing up the storyboards.

All of these points from Ben Caldwell are interesting to look at for when I come to draw my storyboard. These points enable me to give my storyboard some sort of structure. They can also make my storyboard look a lot better using things like depth of field.

Star Wars

This is known as the wipe transition. Often used in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise


The video above simply shows the fade transition. From black to white. Then from white to black. This is used in so many films to cut from scene to scene. Its not usually used to cut from shot to shot as it takes to long and can look to much if there are to many fades going on.

Animated storyboard project