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How Animatics Help Sell Your Action Scenes

Today’s independent filmmakers are able to take advantage of unprecedented access to technology and the funds to make the films they want to make — not to mention the films people want to see.

But if there’s anything that can break people’s suspension of disbelief in an instant, it’s poorly choreographed action scenes.

Things to consider When Planning Your Action

Whether your characters are running from evildoers and explosions, dodging bullets or blocking fists, you need to make sure the action reads.

How do you do this? By carefully planning everything out. And I mean down to the last detail.

You’ll want to:

• Position the camera(s) for the most interesting and effective angles

• Continue each take for an additional 30 seconds for editing reasons

• Have involved cast members learn actual combat tactics and rehearse

• Walk your crew through the action scenes well in advance of filming

Beyond storyboards, floorplans and the other essential steps of pre-production, animatics can prove to be a useful tool in accomplishing the above.

However, many filmmakers tend to lump animatics in with pre-visualisation when in fact, there is a significant difference between the two and what they refer to.

What Separates Animatics from Previz?

Basically, the purpose of an animatic is to bring a creative concept to life and communicate the idea to others — be they peers, audience members, crowdfunding backers, studios or potential financiers.

Animatics can be used across film and television where the narrative, wardrobe and environment take precedent, or in commercials when the focus is on the aesthetic or ‘look and feel’ of the story being told.

Previz on the other hand, deals with the various visual elements needed to explore the technical aspects of production. Animatics are one part of this process.

The Relationship Between Animatics and Good Action

Animatics incorporate camera direction (angles, durations and transitions), character movement and sound to create a preliminary final cut of particular scenes or sequences.

This versatility is what gives animatics the edge over storyboards, in which panels are static but sequential. As a result, any flaws in the pacing of the action become easier to identify and fix.

Creating an animatic is a fast, efficient and inexpensive way troubleshoot action-heavy scenes and pre-empt any potential problems with production that will cost you time and money.

It’s these few but powerful benefits that many filmmakers find invaluable when working to capture their most dramatic and telling scenes.

Taking the Next Step Forward

If you’ve had experience with working with storyboards but feel your action sequences could be better served by what animatics have to offer, we’d like to hear from you!

Our animatic design service is available to all filmmakers in need of a custom animatic built from the ground up, or one converted from a finished storyboard (regardless of art style).

At the end of the day, so many things need to come together for a film to be made. And while a well-timed animatic is one more step along the way, it is a step well worth taking.

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  1. Storyboarding as an Evolving Artform | Dichosis Studios commented on March 13
    […] there are obvious benefits to storyboarding an entire screenplay, many filmmakers wonder how animatics help sell action scenes as this is perhaps their most pertinent […]