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Monthly Archives: June 2008

Springboard

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.

EDIT:

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.

UPDATE:

The new version of Springboard now accepts stereo files so there are no more issues with sound files needing to be converted to mono.

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And the cast is….

Omulosi

Kirumburu Nganga as Omulosi.

An omulosi is a traditional healer usually but in this case I am making him a rain maker. I hope my people will forgive me. And if they don’t I can always say he needed to diversify for economic gain. Kirumburu is an actor and works in the advertising agency. I had seen him in a film called Dangerous Affair and thought that his voice in that film was really cold and gruff. Just the thing I needed for an Omulosi who’s turned his back on the world.

Amina Darani as Amina.

For Olokut’s wife I needed someone who could nag like crazy. Amina in real life is nothing like that, but I felt her voice has that quality. We were both in university together and she works in The UN now as a graphic designer.

Lemayan

Terry Wangari as Lemayan.

I was looking for a print-shop in town an hour before a meeting a year ago so I get into Caxton house and find one. The lady I transacted with had a natural kid voice. I couldn’t get it out of my head for days so I went back and talked to her about the project. She signed on.

Olokut

Pastor Gowi Odera as Olokut.

The lead voice was difficult for me. I had tried many times unsuccessfully to get other people to take the part. I think they just weren’t feeling the whole idea. I even tried using a studio voice data bank, but that fell through. I tried for the part myself (to save money and at my girlfriend’s suggestion) but my voice came out emotionally flat (sucks!).

So I asked around and got Gowi’s contact. Seeing my desperation and having seen my last short film he agreed to read the script and then he got on board. It took months to actually do the recording thanks to both our busy schedules but we finally got it done last Tuesday. The man powered through the script in 25 minutes doing one takes on several scenes. Not surprising seeing as he has years of acting experience behind him.

Having just completed the animatic I can say the voices match up against the characters and work well together. I was concerned somewhat seeing as the actors and actresses recorded separately but all that was laid to rest when I saw the whole film for the first time.

So there it is folks. The full voice cast. As promised. I will need voices to do cows and chickens in future. Give me a shout if you want in on the action.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2008 in Introduction, Pre-Production

 

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The Damage Report 1

Welcome to the first principal photography damage report. I have done over a minute of animation in one month which brings the total tally of minutes photographed to two out of ten (or a possible fifteen). I am almost done with 2 scenes. These for me are the hardest since they involve drumming.

I worry for this month since I will be switching scenes so I will need to break to develop additional peripheral characters like a chicken and a cow for example.

I feel good about last month since I finally completed all my voice recordings last week and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I think the actors did a really great job and went out of the way to lend some credibility to my dialog which I felt was a bit dodgy in places. You do sympathize with the characters just hearing them speak. This simplifies things for me as an animator but then again I feel like I have to work that much harder on the poses just to capture all the nuances in the acting. News on the cast will be forthcoming soon.