Storyboard: The Close-Up

The storyboard artist is really a director at this point in the production process. It’s up to the storyboard artist to direct the eye of the audience toward whatever is most important at any given time.

Click on the full-screen button (at the bottom right of the video), to make the video nice and BIG!

When the emotion or the reaction of the character is especially important , it’s time to cut to a close-up. A close-up can best be defined as a head-and-shoulders shot There’s no real room for the character to move, so the audience can focus on the expressions and emotions of the characters. The way characters act and react is always very important to understanding the story.

bogart close-up

A common mistake of less experienced storyboard artists is framing their shots too tightly. Even a close-up should have a bit of breathing room, unless it is the rare occasion of an extreme close-up. Shirley MacLaine The Apartment This also has to do with pacing… it’s best to save those high-impact shots were the moments in the story that have the greatest impact. If a storyboard artist were to fill their board from start to finish with lots of crazy angles, fancy camera moves and extreme close-ups, it would leave no room for the artist to show any real impact when it’s really needed. It’s all about contrast.

Closeup Vertigo Jimmy Stewart

In the next video, the topic is the “three shot” — and the interaction between three characters. Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Next Lesson: The Three-Shot

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3 Responses to “Storyboard: The Close-Up”

  1. I have a question…is hard be storyboarder?or is easy?

  2. Hi Lucy — becoming a storyboard artist requires a lot of work and dedication because you have to master a number of different skills: drawing, composition, acting, staging, pacing, etc. If you’re passionate about it, that will provide you with enough energy and stick-to-it-iveness to put in all the time and effort and education and practice needed to get good at it. Getting a job as a storyboard artist is hard, too…but there is ALWAYS a need for a storyboard artist that is great!


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