Animatics and the Importance of Preparation

When preparing for the Holomatrix commercial film shoot, one of the things I was most concerned with was making sure the on-set director understood what I needed. The commercial was filmed in Australia, with me attending on Skype, but there is only so much direction you can give when you’re not actually on set.

So, to save both time and money, I dusted off my old license of Metacreations Poser 4 (now owned by Smith Micro) and created these animatics:

Film shoots are not cheap, and with 8 or so different shots, and a lot of specific motion for the actress to perform, this could have been a nightmare. But the team at Orion Media was great, and used my animatics to plan the shoot with more efficiency – and, as a result, it came out almost exactly as I had envisioned it.

All I can say is unless you want to spend a lot more time and money than you need to, preparation is key. And you don’t need highly advanced technology to do it.  Even using software that’s almost a decade old, was lifesaver. Frankly, a pen and paper will also go a long way.

In case you missed it, here’s the full Holomatrix commercial:

Learn more about Holomatrix here.

10 thoughts on “Animatics and the Importance of Preparation”

  1. question.. why didint you just shoot yourself, edit and then send the clip?, is poser really faster? and “im not an actor is not a valid awnser :P”

  2. Samael – Filming myself would have been a mistake. Ask yourself this: why don’t all studios do it your way?

    There’s more to a storyboard than just a person’s position or motion. Accounting for the 8 different camera shots and angles would have been very difficult. Also, with poser, I had complete control over the timing of it. If I had done it myself, I’d have to worry, in the moment, about my timing, facial expressions, the lighting (for clarity of image), the camera angles and the actual filming.

    Furthermore, I would not be able to composite elements behind me (like the screen) unless I shot on green screen. Then I’d have to do a rough key. That means lighting good enough for a halfway decent key.

    By the time I was done converting, keying and editing, that would be a full days work – probably more until I was satisfied. With Poser it took me less than 2 hours to render the stills (and note that they were all still images), and then arrange them in AE. Maybe an hour more to play with the timing.

    And BTW – I actually have acting skills, thank you very much.

  3. Thanks for the reply Ahraron!,

    Well I think we are just goning to have to agree to disagree,
    I think that 3 hours to storyboard a 22 sec clip with five angles is way overboard,

    Please consider; my mehod, only needs a cheap 720p SDcard videokamera, and since we dont care about the output quality, we can crop it how we like, eliminating the need to change the angle of the camera for most of the clips, scale, rotate, to fake camera moves (you get the point)

    And later just adding some graphics like for instance the holo-interface, arrows or even a text “telling” what BG there is going to be, all of this in AE. No need for keying or BG replacement, just shoot against a neutral BG. All of this surely one hours work at the most.

    Now please note that I would use YOUR method every time if it where for a client id like to impress, hands down, (maby id draw it by hand instead) but why go through all the troubble if YOU are the client?

    PS: Well since you have acting skills youre aaaaall set 😉 when can we se them? 😛

    PS: You know I love you man, i’m not trying to pick a fight with you or anything, Ive been with you ever since you started at he holyCreativeCow, even bought some of your training DVDs 🙂
    And some of your tips and tricks have saved my ass a lot of times during tight deadlines, so thank you!


  4. Really amazing work, and I love the new plug in. I think I’m most fascinated with part where she disintegrates around the 21 second mark. I think I’ll be scowering the internet trying to figure out how to pull that off now. Beautiful job.

  5. No offense is taken. As you say, we will agree to disagree… This isn’t about impressing anyone. It’s about clarity.

    I was working with a full production team (4 on set, 1 actor, 2 animators, 1 audio engineer, 1 VO artist, plus myself) – and a very limited budget. Clarity keeps you from spending extra money due to miscommunication.

    But if you’re working with 10 professionals and they can use your 1 hour of prep work to do the same job that my 3 did for me, who am I to argue? All I can say is, it wouldn’t work for me.

  6. Hey AR,
    This was very cool. For the commercial, the vertical scrolling lines in the foreground during seconds 8-9 … are they made with trapcode form?

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