If you ever need software to plan a short project and don’t want to fork out 900 dollars for the brilliant but very expensive ToonBoom Storyboard Pro you could either opt to get their lighter version Storyboard for 199 dollars or pick up 6sys’s Springboard for the grand price of… 35 dollars.
When looking at software for making a storyboard you want to be able to:
- Draw your frames using a graphics tablet (for me this isn’t too important since it would deny me time to play with Art Rage which is my favourite drawing application right now.)
- Put frames together in a sequence
- Attach descriptions to each of the shots for dialogue action and additional instructions such as VFX requirements
- Preview that sequence in realtime to get a sense of timing for scenes
- Export your sequence as a movie in different formats and resolutions
- Export your storyboard as a document that can be printed with all your frame or shot information intact
- Export your storyboard scene information intact into your favourite video editing software to assist in editing.
Now save for the last point, everything else can be done in Springboard. The only caveat is that sound support is limited to mono and 22100 khz but the developer says that this will be resolved in the next few months. Only other issue is that multiple tracks for sound aren’t supported. In Storyboard pro you have this plus you can visually slide your sound clips around to position them on the timeline.
The brilliant thing about springboard is that it allows you to create a heirachy for your story using scenes (see the image above) and then automatically saves these files as separate editable files in a folder. This way working with huge scenes becomes more manageable. To preview the entire storyboard just open the master file and you will find the other files updated.
My only gripe is a lack of a PDF export option. I hope this will be resolved sometime. Other than that, I see a very bright future for this application.
I recently discovered that Springboard exports to the XPS format, which is a sharing format created by Microsoft. Windows Vista users get an XPS viewer by default while XP viewers need to download it from the Microsoft site.
For those who can’t live without PDF, here’s a workaround. You could always print tour file as an EPS and then use a program such as Adobe Acrobat Distiller to make the PDF.
The new version of Springboard now accepts stereo files so there are no more issues with sound files needing to be converted to mono.