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Thread: Storyboards: 1 frame for every cut?

  1. Default Storyboards: 1 frame for every cut?

    Hi all,

    I am currently at the storyboard stage of my project. I'm using Frameforge because I really can't draw that well and it's great but I have a question.

    When storyboarding is it necessary to have every single shot framed on the board? I only ask because a lot of my shots are using the same camera angle and in motion it'll be fine but storyboard wise it just looks like the same frame repeated after a different shot.

    I was working on the assumption that whenever there is a cut there should be a storyboard frame, even if it's cutting between only 2 camera angles for different parts of a conversation but is all if it really needed?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    The main point of a storyboard is to communicate how the director "sees" the finished film. It is not usually meant as a carved-in-stone version of the film. It's also a reference during shooting to remind everyone what's wanted (and to stop too much "improvisation" also known as "going off at a tangent").

    So, to answer your question, what I've seen in scenarios like yours usually consists of a sketch of Person A, a sketch of Person B and a double headed arrow between them.

    (Commercials are different. There every frame is storyboarded and woe betide anyone who goes "off script" without an okay from everyone in the chain.)

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm glad to hear that because it was becoming a little tedious getting a frame for everything. I take it the actual shot list has to be more meticulous?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Not really unless there's a good reason for it.

    What can happen on set is that you get diverted from what you set out to do. So a simple two-headed conversation scene ends up with the cameraman doing all sorts of arty-farty stuff which won't get used. It wastes time, effort and money. So the shot list for the scene might be

    1. Shot of Fred entering room
    2. Fred's POV. Mabel sitting on sofa
    3. Long Shot, Fred walks over and sits next to Mabel.
    4. Master mid-long 2 shot of Fred and Mabel's conversation
    5. Close up (O/S-2) of Mabel in conversation
    6. Big Close up of Mabel's reaction.
    7. Close up (O/S-2) of Fred in conversation
    8. misc Cutaways

    If you've got time you might consider a tracking shot or Mabel's POV of Fred walking and sitting next to her, or a few shots of their reflections in the window, or through a vase of flowers, or suchlike. But get the main action first!

    Now you obviously won't use all of shots 4,5, 6 and 7 but can pick out the best bits from each.

    Hitchcock used to know the entire film in his head before he shot a single frame but most directors are a bit more flexible and create the final shots on set after they've blocked the scene.

    The shot list is really so that you don't end up in the edit thinking "oh balls! I haven't got a close-up of Mabel when Fred tells her he's gay!" But on the other hand if you plan, list and stick to every shot you risk losing spontaneity or freshness and it can become a bit mechanical.

  5. #5


    As Rob has said this planning stage will save you valuable time when on set. The more time you spend at this stage the less time and money you spend on the expensive bits.

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