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Filmmaking Basics/Thumbnail Storyboard/What are thumbnail storyboards?


This school is:
Wikiversity Film School - Narrative film production
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This course is:
The basics of narrative filmmaking
This lesson is:
Creating the thumbnail storyboards
The pages of this lesson are:
Introduction - Creating the thumbnail storyboards

If you have problems:
Things to worry about! ("Crossing the line.")
More things to worry about! (Eyeballs & cameras)


Theory: What are thumbnail storyboards?

Thumbnail Storyboards

Definition
  • Storyboards are pictures which show what your movie will look like.
  • Thumbnail storyboards are the first sketches of the storyboards for a scene. Usually, these quick sketches are no bigger than your thumbnail. That is why they are called "Thumbnail storyboards". Amazing, isn't it?

Most thumbnail storyboards are just tiny stick figure drawings. That is all you needed to explain your shots to me.

SBTDSChooseTSB1d.jpg
You say, "What is the big deal?"
Storyboards are important for two reasons.
Make Decisions
When you draw the storyboards, you make all the visual decisions for your movie. This is the step where the movie begins to have life. Once the storyboards are complete, any skilled filmmaker can visualize how the final movie will appear.
Continuity
Storyboard are more than just pretty pictures. Anyone can make a good looking shot.
The storyboards explain the continuity of the shots. Do all the shots work together? The storyboards are the first (and best) test of the continuity of the shots.


Tremendously powerful
All this comes from just those tiny sketches. It is amazing how something this simple can be so vital to the making of movie.


Reptsb6.jpgReptsb7.jpg

Thumbnails are very simple storyboard. Just enough to explain the shot.
Can you see what is happening?

Storyboard

by Mukesh Tiwari

3D frames by Robert Elliott

(1)

MT1a.jpg Looking at poster

dolly in

MT1b.jpg

dolly in

MT1c.jpg

Young Person:
"That was a great movie..."


(2)

cut to

MT2.jpg

Young Person (continued):
"but I do not understand one thing."


(3)

Cut to the Old Person looking towards the camera

MT3.jpg

Old Person: What's that?


(4)

Cut to

MT4.jpg

Young Person:
"How can anyone be seduced by the Dark Side?"


(5)

cut to

MT5a.jpg

The old person thinks for a while.

MT5b.jpg


Old Person:
"What computer do you have at home?"


(6)

MT6.jpg

The Young Person (eagerly):
"A Macintosh!"


(7)

MT7.jpg

Old Person:
"But what computer does your father use at work?"


(8)

MT8a.jpg

The young person thinks for a moment.

MT8b.jpg

Young Person (amazed and excited):
"Seduced by the Dark Side!"


(9)

MT9.jpg

The old person smiles.


(10)

MT10a.jpg

Old Person and the Young Person
walk toward home together.

MT10b.jpg

The End

Thumbnail storyboard SBTDS Ugoglen 8.jpg

How to draw thumbnail storyboard

A. Position of the heads
In simplest terms, a thumbnail storyboard is just the location of the heads of the people in the scene. If you can clearly show the position, size, and expression of each person's head, most everything else is clear.
B. Body optional
The bodies of the actors can also be drawn but this step is not required. By drawing the body, you help show how each actor relates to the others in the scene, however, drawing the head usually already shows this information.
C. Camera angle
This shows how you will frame the shot. This is what makes the shot visual appealing.
D. The Lens is the Thing
You need to explain the relationship between the characters in the scene. The relationship of the characters in a storyboard frame is not about acting but about the lens that will used to film the scene. So when you draw the thumbnail storyboard to show the relationship between the actors, you also explain to the cinematographer what lens is needed to capture this image. (More about lenses in a later chapter which is still under construction.)


Thumbnail storyboard SBTDS Ugoglen 3.jpg

Recommended Frame Size

Thumbnail storyboards are very simple. Therefore, the smallest possible frame size is the ideal size. I find that 160 by 90 pixels is a good size for thumbnail storyboards for motion pictures that will be released in the 16 by 9 aspect ratio. These numbers are easy to remember since, obviously, a frame which is 160 by 90 pixels has a 16-by-9 aspect ratio.
Note
If you are using a program like ArtRage where texture is important, a frame size of 160 by 90 pixels is too small and awkward. I use a frame size of 640 by 360 pixels and later reduce the completed image to 160 by 90 pixels.


FrameForgeSBTDS5.jpg


More Advanced Storyboards

Thumbnail storyboards are only the first step. This is not the final step.
  • More accurate storyboards are needed for the camera person. These are the 3D storyboards.
  • Larger storyboards are needed for the animatic (a movie of the storyboards).
  • Beautiful storyboards are needed for the investors.
  • For the animated version, storyboards that become the keyframes of the animated version of the movie.
Fortunately, for now, all we need is rough sketches which is thumbnail storyboards. As simple as these pictures seem, they are the starting point for the entire filmmaking process.
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The Vocabulary of Storyboards

When you create a storyboard, even a simple thumbnail storyboard, you are using the visual vocabulary of motion pictures. That means if you put two people in a shot, then you have created a "Two Shot". And if your shot is a wide angle shot at the beginning of a movie, you are creating an establishing shot.


SBTDS Two shot distant telephoto.jpg →Dolly In→ SBTDS OpeningShotBack.jpg

Camera and actor's movements

When possible, include information such as camera moves and the angle of each shot in the drawings that you do.
If you need to show how the camera moves in a shot, you can simply draw two storyboards which show the beginning and the ending position of the camera and actors in the shot. Or you can draw an arrow in the storyboard frame to explain where the camera is moving during the shot.
Don't forget to draw the camera angle. If the camera is pointing up, draw the heads smaller than normal. If the camera is pointing down at the actor, make the heads larger.
Also, the eyes of the actor's can explain the position of the camera and the position of the other actors in the scene.


Wide angle vs. Telephoto
SBTDS OpeningShotFront.jpg SBTDS Close Up Telelphoto.jpg

Lens Distortion

Learn to draw the distortion of a lens. Use only wide angle and telephoto lenses, never a neutral (50mm) lens. Here is why:

1. Wide Angle Lens (Good) SBTDS OpeningShotFront.jpg

  • A wide angle lens creates the feeling of distance and cold.

2. Telephoto Lens (Good) SBTDS Close Up Telelphoto.jpg

  • A telephoto lens creates the feeling of warmth and close together.

3. A Neutral Lens (Usually Bad)

  • A neutral lens has no distortion so everything appears as if viewed by the human eye. Without distortion, visual information is missing. The pictures are neither warm nor cold, close or distant. This lack of information makes the picture boring.
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How Many Drawings are Enough?

Look at the unformatted script for Seduced by the Dark Side!. Each line is numbered. Therefore, you probably need at least one picture for each numbered line. If you have a special camera move or a special effect, you can create more than one picture. One picture for the beginning of the shot and one picture for the end of the shot is nice.
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The next page

If you wish, you can submit your thumbnail storyboards.
Otherwise, you are ready to go to the course on 3D Storyboarding. Crystal Clear action forward.png

Contact your instructor

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Reference materials

Reference materials for Seduced by the Dark Side! that you might need.
  • The storyboard outline. Print this script outline and use the numbers on this script for your thumbnail storyboards.
  • The original story. To get additional information for your storyboards, look at the original story.
  • A possible floor plan for the movie set. This will help you plan your shots.


Thumbnail storyboards from the lesson on Thumbnail storyboarding


Kastarika sample frame.png

Kasturika Thumbnail Storyboard tiny.png
Click on the image to see larger version.

Kasturika has completed this assignment (pdf) (23 May 2007) Good job! 10 points

Kasturika says, "I used the Microsoft paint application.

I took a screen shot of the storyboard, converted it into bitmap image, made the frames separately and pasted them.

Then I used OpenOffice.org Draw to export the bitmap image as PDF."



Helena Sample Frame tiny.png

assignment
Click on the image to see larger version.

Niri0n in Sweden has completed this assignment (png). Click on the image to see larger version. (23 May 2007) Good job! 10 points




Wachapon2 Sample Frame Thumbnail.png

assignment
Click on the image to see larger version.

Wachapon2 has completed this assignment (png). Click on the image to see larger version. (2 June 2007) Good job! 10 points




Tunderboy9 Sample Storyboard Frame.png

assignment
Click on the image to see larger version.

Tunderboy9 has completed this assignment. (13 July 2007) Good job! 10 points




Vijay singh sample thumbnail storyboard.png
Vijay singh Thumbnail 1.png Vijay singh Thumbnail 2.png
Click on the image to see larger version.
Vijay Singh has completed this assignment. (17 July 2007) Good job! 10 points




Mok Sample Thumbnail Storyboard.png

This is the first storyboard which looks like a movie.

The figures are positioned as in a movie. The size of the figures are as in a movie.

Yet, these are still very simple thumbnail storyboards. Please look at these storyboards!!!!


Mok Thumbnail storyboards tiny1.png Mok Thumbnail storyboards tiny2.png
Click on the image to see larger version.
Mok has completed this assignment. (21 July 2007) Very good job! 10 points




Fred Sample thumbnail Storyboard.png

Here is a very artistic thumbnail storyboard.


Thumbnail story1.jpg Thumbnail story2.jpg
Click on the image to see larger version.
Fred has completed this assignment. (5 August 2007) Very good job! 10 points




Sample Storyboard- User Mpftmead.png

assignment
Click on the image to see larger version.

Mpftmead has completed this assignment (png). Click on the image to see larger version. (6 August 2007) 10 points




Izwah sample thumbnail storyboard.png


Izwah thumbnail storyboard v1.png Izwah thumbnail storyboard v2.png
Click on the image to see larger version.
Izwah has completed this assignment. (6 August 2007) 10 points




Storyboard Sample Refardeon.png

assignment
Click on the image to see larger version.

Refardeon has completed this assignment (png). Click on the image to see larger version. (13 August 2007) 10 points




Noblerinthemind sample thumbnail storyboard.png

assignment
Click on the image to see larger version.

Noblerinthemind has completed this assignment using GIMP (png). Click on the image to see larger version. (16 August 2007) 10 points




KinnetiK Sample Storyboard.png

KinnetiK Storyboard sheet.jpg
Click on the image to see larger version.

KinnetiK has completed this assignment (JPG). Click on the image to see larger version. (23 August 2007) 10 points




Sushant Thumbnail storyboard frame.png

Sushant Thumbnail storyboard.png
Click on the image to see larger version.

Sushant has completed this assignment (JPG). Click on the image to see larger version. (01 September 2007) 10 points




Tharun Bhascker storyboard frame.png

200px
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Tharun Bhascker has completed this assignment (JPG). Click on the image to see larger version. (5 September 2007) 10 points




Moraistelmo thumbnails sample.png

Moraistelmo thumbnail Storyboards.png
Click on the image to see larger version.

Moraistelmo has completed this assignment (JPG). Click on the image to see larger version. (7 September 2007) 10 points




Elisia Johnson Thumbnail Storyboard sample.png

Elisia Johnson Thumbnail Storyboards full.png
Click on the image to see larger version.

Elisia Johnson has completed this assignment (PNG). Click on the image to see larger version. (01 October 2007) 10 points




Syed Sibte Hassan SBTDS Thumbnail Storyboard Sample.png


Syed Sibte Hassan SBTDS Thumbnail Storyboard p1.png Syed Sibte Hassan SBTDS Thumbnail Storyboard p2.png
Click on the image to see larger version.
Sibte Hassan has completed this assignment. (6 October 2007) 10 points




Mattjames17 Sample Thumbnail Storyboard.png


Mattjames17 Thumbnail storyboard1.JPG Mattjames17 Thumbnail storyboard2.JPG
Click on the image to see larger version.
Mattjames17 has completed this assignment. (30 October 2007) 10 points




Thumbnail storyboard sample Cristiana.png


Thumbnail storyboard sheet Cristiana.png
Click on the image to see larger version.
Cristiana has completed this assignment. (08 November 2007) 10 points




William Lewis-Seduced by the dark side frame.png


William Lewis-Seduced by the dark side cc.jpg
Click on the image to see larger version.
William Lewis has completed this assignment. (13 November 2007) 10 points




Manuelciosici storyboard frame.png


Manuelciosici storyboard.png
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Manuelciosici has completed this assignment. (05 December 2007) 10 points




Pruthvirajg Thumbnail frame.png


Pruthvirajg Thumbnail Image2.jpg
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Pruthvirajg has completed this assignment. (10 December 2007) 10 points




Davidmp4 storyboard frame.png


Davidmp4 storyboard.jpg
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Davidmp4 has completed this assignment. (21 December 2007) 7 points




Alideniz Storyboard SBTDS sample frame.png


Alideniz Storyboard SBTDS 1.jpg Alideniz Storyboard SBTDS 2.jpg
Click on the image to see larger version.
Alideniz has completed this assignment. (01 January 2008) 10 points




Sereyaco storyboard frame SBTDS.png


Sereyaco Thumbnail storyboard SBTDS.jpg
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Sereyaco has completed this assignment. (03 January 2008) 10 points




Marcus mac thumbnail storyboard a.jpg


Marcus mac thumbnail storyboard.jpg
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Marcus Mac has completed this assignment. (28 January 2008) 10 points




Mike305 Storyboard adj frame.png


Mike305 Storyboard adj.jpg
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Mike305 has completed this assignment. (01 March 2008) 10 points




Vikram Acharya Thumbnail Storyboard frame.jpg


Vikram Acharya Thumbnail Storyboard.jpg
Click on the image to see larger version.

Vikram_Acharya has completed this assignment. (30 March 2008) 10 points



Eldorino Thumbnail Storyboard frame.jpg


Eldorino Thumbnail Storyboard.jpg
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Eldorino has completed this assignment. (05 April 2008) 10 points


Completed assignment - Creating the thumbnail storyboard

June 12, 2008 -- Rick14 has created a thumbnail storyboard.

Rick14 SBTDS thumbnail frame.png


Rick14 SBTDS thumbnail storyboard.png
Click on the image to see larger version.