Film Stills and Storyboards

When interpreting movies the obvious thing to do is of course watch the movie or use individual sequences from it or even scene stills and see what you can find in them. There is a lot to discover as I would like to prove with this example of a scene still from Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”. It is – among other things – a cinematic quotation of John Ford’s “The Searchers”, and most of all, if you have meditated about the composition, you will find it is a deeply touching proof of the director’s humanity in keeping the dignity of Mrs Ryan  at this very moment.

It is also worth it to look at a movie from the production side. Here the best thing would be to shoot a movie yourselves. This would involve all the interpretation from the opposite angle. You would have a lot of deecisions to make about the what and why.

A simpler approach is the storyboard which is part of the production process, placed somewhere between the printed script and the real filming. Drawing a storyboard you have to think about the camera angles and the types of shot you want to use and so you will automatically use all that film analysis vocabulary which otherwise will be theory only. Here is an example that looks quite like some  storyboards drawn by certain people in the LK13 course, so you see there is no need to be ashamed:

I found this example at a site of the Ohio State University about digital animation. It is definitely worth to look at that site. It also offers some further links which are interesting.

Storyboards for the big movie companies will look a bit more artistic in the end though. The next example is from a tv show you might have watched: the “Sarah Connor Chronicles”.  I found it on the blog of  storyboard artist Adrian van Viersen. Visit his site to look at more of the storyboards, also from other movies.

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