Shot Flow?

A while back at the end of a post about short stories I linked to an article on the awesome Syncrolux Blog (run by Dreamworks Animator Kevin Koch) about the importance of Shot Flow. Now he has followed it up with an analysis of a sequence from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I have never seen this principle so clearly communicated before, it is of particular relevance for the current Southbank 2nd year students who are starting to put together the storyboards for their major projects. Gobble it up!


Kristi said...

wow, a fantastic analysis... I have to dig out the DVD of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? again. The shot flow is so very unorthodox that it has to have been deliberate... but why would you do that? The animation is plenty crazy enough itself to make the sequence feel out of control. I must agree with Kevin here, the action would have been better served by more traditional camerawork. The animators must have been so disappointed with the result after all their hard work.

Sam said...

It seems like some of the problems were from staging the shot so that the piano was framed nicely without consideration for where the character was going. That still doesn't explain why the 180 line was so blatantly and repeatedly crossed.

Ian said...

Richard Williams gets on a lot of peoples nerves for this sort of thing. And the question always seems to be, is he doing that on perpose, or does he just not know what he is doing.

I think Roger Rabbit is meant to be a characterture of cartoons, so I always tend to give him the benifit of the doubt. But having seen him talk I know he can get very focussed on small details. Maybe he just looses sight of the big picture.

frank said...

We (Grade 2's) just finished our storyboard class with Terry.

He taught us lots of cool stuff about conventions and cliche. e.g. How cliche can be used to intentionally reverse it later in the story as a narrative tool (or is that too much of a cliche?)

There were melted brains all over the floor.

But that's OK as we have first years we can blame for any sticky messes.

Anyhow this is a timely post. It follows up nicely with Brad Bird's notes on framing shots to which Terry directed us.

Thanks Ian. Thanks Terry (Oh, and thanks Brad, if you're watching)

Terry said...

I read the analysis before I watched the excerpt. As I read it I thought, "Boy, this guy is making some great points, he's really skewering that scene beautifully, and he knows the rules of the game."

But then I watched the excerpt, and I thought it played out nicely. Sure, plenty of "rules" have been violated, but there's a very deliberate sense of chaos and and riotous, crazy over-the-top action and I think the shots work in that context. It's disorientating and visually overwhelming, but deliberately so. Anyways, that's my two cents.

Glad you enjoyed the class Frank. And glad you stayed awake!

frank said...

I did the same as Terry.

Read the critique and then watched the clip.

Subjectively, it's not such a disaster as taking it apart frame-by-frame may suggest.

But it is a good example of learning / understanding the 'rules', so they can be broken with intent.

Richard Williams will always have the defence that he chose to break the rules because he was working with two highly strung ducks.

I like the description of 'rules' that goes: " Rules are not there to stop you doing something. Rules are there to make you stop and think before you blunder ahead and do something."

You can tack on the word 'stupid' to that description, if it has more meaning for you.

I'm much more aware about leading the audience's eyes around a screen with these Synchrolux posts.

Ian said...

Does reading the article first make the scene easier to watch?

Its like you had a chance to study a map before the trip when others had to find their own way.

Terry said...

Y'know, that's a good point Ian... maybe I spoiled it for myself by reading the article first. I'm going to show this to the 2nd years on Thursday and see what they think.

frank said...

I've just finished a short film project.

Waiting for it to render, actually.

Has to be ready for delivery this morning 9am.

I applied the shot flow teachings as per the lessons here and in previous posts and I think it made the film much easier on the eye.

I wish they would analyse the Transformers movie because I had eye dislocation after that one.

Anyhoo, the thing I learned further to shot flow is that focussing too much on it may lead to sacrificing good/appealing layout and framing, if it is applied in post production, as an after thought.

It certainly makes an animation director think more in the design/ storyboard phase.

My storyboards will now include shot flow circles or instructions with the view to maintain meaningful framing as well.

There has to be a balance between shot flow and framing.

Summary: Design shot flow in the planning stages.