When to CUT? Storyboard Commentary Video

Today’s storyboarding commentary video talks about one of the most common questions about storyboarding: when to cut.

As you’ll be able to see in the video, it’s important to cut closer on a character or an action when they’re doing something specific that really needs to be seen.

Click on the full-screen button (at the
bottom right of the video
) to see the video Full-Size!

The general principle that I use is that I try to get as close as possible to show whatever is most important at that moment, while still leaving enough room for any actions that might occur in that scene.

Storyboard drawing: Car makes a U-Turn on the turnpike
That may mean that the shot is very wide — for example: if I need to show somebody driving a car around the corner, the shot needs to be wide enough to see all of that action. If I’m trying to show a guy sitting in a restaurant drinking a cup of coffee, I would want the framing to include just the guy, the table, and the cup of coffee.

Cut from Gerald talking on a radio microphone to the broadcast tower, spreading his message across town.

It’s all about how important the specific action is to a scene. If the man at the coffee shop is putting a couple of creams in his coffee, there is no need to make a special emphasis on that action; so I would not cut in closer on him pouring in the cream. But… if somebody was putting poison into his coffee cup, that’s a perfect time to cut in on that action for emphasis.

Cut from Grandpa sitting in car to a close-up of him turning on the radio

As you can imagine, this is a pretty huge topic! Since this series of posts is really a quick overview survey of my own personal process, there’s not much time to go in to every detail… but if there’s enough interest, I can always go back and make a specific post about any particular topic.

I sure appreciate all comments and questions about these videos… it lets me know what you’re interested in talking about!

NEXT: Staging and Composition for Storyboards

The first post in the series is HERE(click here)
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4 Responses to “When to CUT? Storyboard Commentary Video”

  1. Thanks for these specific extra ideas Sherm, really helpful as I am about to design a new animation.

  2. Hi Sally — you’re welcome ^_^

  3. HI Shem…h8is is Arif once again from Don bluth forum.I just want to thank you such a wonderful DVDs for story boarding.At last i have some time to go through on theses dvds and i found those are sooo helpful to understand the whole process……thank you once again to make these educational dvds for us..


  1. Storyboard Commentary: Drawing Pans (Panorama Shots) | Storyboard Secrets - 12. Jun, 2010

    […] the posts…so I promise I’ll get to them all ^_^ Next storyboarding commentary video: “When To Cut” ——— The first post in the series is HERE(click here) Share […]