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Old September 14th, 2019, 01:46 AM   #1
also known as Ryan Wray
 
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How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

I've been a boom op and production sound mixer, for other directors on their indie projects so far, and they never give me storyboards.

So I don't know how the blocking in the shots is going to go until the the actual shoot time. I also don't know if the shot is going to be too wide to fit a boom in, and would like to know these things beforehand.
But is this normal for the audio people to not get a copy of the storyboards beforehand?
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Old September 14th, 2019, 02:30 AM   #2
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

No - technical teams tend to work on scripts because that gives the dialogue that is their key element.

Quote:
B38
LOW CEILING CONFERENCE ROOM, "U" SHAPED TABLE FACING THREE PROJECTION SCREENS. SEATED AROUND THE TABLE ARE TWENTY
SENIOR BASE PERSONNEL.

HALVORSEN
Ladies and gentlemen, I should
like to introduce Dr. Heywood
Floyd, a distinguished member
of the National Council of
Astronautics. He has just
completed a special flight here
from Earth to be with us, and
before the briefing he would
like to say a few words. Dr.
Floyd.
That's enough to work with - low ceiling, 20 people in shot - so you have enough to go to stores and make sure you have long booms. However, much of this is done at production meetings where cameras, lights and sound bounce off each other. Cameras wants to know how wide the set is to work out their lenses, lighting wants to know their brief for levels, shadows, key features, set folk get wasps because all this is new to them and nobody mentioned a low ceiling as it's not on the plan they have, sound want to see if everyone talks at once meaning multiple microphones, or ask about lav concealment to the costume people who reveal the costumes are mic friendly/unfriendly.

Technical operators want the right info. Some want scripts, others hate scripts. The camera folk would find storyboards probably the most useful. Sound won't. No amount of detail in a storyboard keeps costume happy and they rarely read scripts. If it is a team, then somebody - perhaps one of the artistic team knows what people need, and what they don't care about at all. The wardrobe departments often don't even know who will be in the costumes till they do fittings. This is usually when they complain because nobody said the pocket has to be able to conceal a radio/bomb/gun and the pocket is not even real - just looks like one to make the costume fit nicely. Think James Bond - those tux jackets. If they have to hold a gun, the cut changes, and if nobody mentioned "he pulls a gun from the inside pocket" there might not even BE an inside pocket. I've always found the sound people never engaged early enough for story boards, and many would not be able to relate a story board to a set. For instance, how many storey boards even show things above head height? Most issues are talked out at meetings, but loads just get solved on set.

My latest TV production had an amazing list of disciplines in the studio - so much so that the two of us had our own runner. We had a photocopy of our end of the set that didn't;t show there was an audience who would see the back of our props, giving the game away before we started. 500 people 'forgotten', and it took an hour to get set to hang masking to keep the secret. It also was missed that there was a large jib camera we didn't know about and this revealed unexpected parts of what we were doing. We didn't get any document relating to any of this - it's just how it is, and you cope. Our segment was perhaps 5% of the programme duration.

If you NEED a storeyboard, ask for it EARLY in the process at the meetings.
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Old September 14th, 2019, 06:41 PM   #3
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Oh okay, but reading the script is not enough for me, because the scripts I've read do not describe if a ceiling is low or high or example. They will say what type of room the location is in, but not if the ceiling is high or not. That's true though about a storyboard not showing the height of the ceiling, but a storyboard still shows the blocking, and I could learn a lot from that ahead of time, rather than waiting till we are shooting to see it. I've asked for it, but have been refused each time, the reason being that the audio department does not get to see storyboards.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 12:18 AM   #4
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

In 40 years of TV and Film production I have never used or seen a storyboard and they are for editing and visual structure so will not include specifics about locations or ceiling height etc.

You need to speak to your location manager or use your skill to record the sound appropriate to the situation.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 12:52 AM   #5
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

But the storyboards show the blocking and can be useful for blocking, as to any limitations with the mics, blocking wise, wouldn't they?
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Old September 15th, 2019, 01:05 AM   #6
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Storyboards aren't reality, things change, especially on low budget productions, They don't convey the information sound dept requires, they can see what they need when the director does the walk though with actors during the filming and if they've been on a recce to the locations before the shoot with the director, when they can see and hear any possible acoustic issues.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 01:16 AM   #7
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

From my limited experience, like others are saying, this stuff is figured on set, on the day of (blocking, where boom has to be, etc.).

The thing you might do is insist on going on location scouts if you're doing sound; you can identify potential issues and warn the people you're working for ("these train tracks might look cool but a train comes by every 30 seconds and that's going to be horrible for sound and make shooting very difficult).
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Old September 15th, 2019, 01:21 AM   #8
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Yep that's true, but they haven't let me do location scouts either, and just bring me into the location the day of shooting, but there are audio problems, such as not being able to shut off vents, etc. But if they took me to the location before hand it, could be addressed then.

However, when I storyboard, I always draw out the blocking. So wouldn't this be covered in the rehearsals with the storyboards, rather than go over blocking for the very first time, just before shooting?
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Old September 15th, 2019, 01:27 AM   #9
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

As I understand it, in the real world blocking is figured out on set the day of. Maybe they have s general idea of where everything will be, but when you have a full crew and budget, things can be moved pretty quickly.

They should be taking sound personnel on the scout though. I suspect this is more of the BS you encounter when working on low budget projects for dubious people.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 01:38 AM   #10
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Don't get too locked into storyboards, they're subject to change on the day and you may find actors who want to do it differently and their suggestion can sometimes be better then your storyboard.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 01:41 AM   #11
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Oh okay.

Well lately for a few short film projects I did before, I would wait until shooting to plan out most of the blocking. But then things didn't turn out as well and I felt unsatisfied. For my last short, I planned the blocking out in the storyboards and didn't change anything. I was tempted to when we got to the locations, but I went against that temptation, and stuck with the original blocking in the storyboards. I felt much more satisfied with it and thought it turned out a lot better than the last ones as a result.

But how come other filmmakers wait until shooting to do the blocking though, unless some emergency occurred. For example, one location I shot on, when we got there, all ot a sudden a wall was torn out, compared to when we looked at it before. So we had to re-design around that. But unless an emergency like that comes up, why wait till shooting to go over the blocking?
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Old September 15th, 2019, 02:05 AM   #12
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Some directors have it roughed out in their minds or a plan of the set, then they walk though with the actors and let the performances build up.

For most dialogue scenes you don't actually need a storyboard, experienced directors and DPs can see the coverage they need within minutes and make out a quick list. Or a shot list done in advance, drawings of talking heads don't add much.

When doing multi camera TV drama, they'd make out a shot list by plotting the camera positions on the plan. assisted by a week of rehearsals with the actors (no crew) in a rehearsal room, not on the set, there would be production meetings with the heads of departments.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 02:18 AM   #13
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Oh okay, but wouldn't the director go over blocking with the actors, during the rehearsals though as well?
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Old September 15th, 2019, 02:22 AM   #14
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Yes, they'd have the set floor plans marked out in the rehearsal room floor. The actors will go though the scenes non stop.
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Old September 15th, 2019, 03:34 AM   #15
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Re: How come directors never give storyboards to the audio department?

Ryan - you're being a bit odd again. Somebody has introduced you to storyboards as if they are some kind of prescription? They simply give the visual teams a clue - they set perhaps style, and show critical elements but they are NEVER detailed or accurate enough to show the things you want.

You are working with idiots - I cannot stress this enough. They are NOT professionals, they have no clue whatsoever, yet they appear to be in charge. This is how you assume everything is, and it is not! If you discover aircon vents, then you are left with a few options. You shut down the system, which will be a huge problem, or you deal with it - with a clear, precise approach that requires the Director to make the decision. You always offer them solutions and let them pick them. "Oh no, this aircon is going to wipe out the audio - we can try to get the system off but that might make our set time very short before everyone expires, or we could move to the other side of the room where its quieter, or we can replace the audio afterwards but that's probably too expensive" They will select the option. However, the easiest solution is to make sure the person who runs audio is good. I've never ever had a problem we could not sort out.

You need to really consider that the course you went on was totally distanced from real life. If you have been told storey boards are how it's done, you're very wrong. They are great for quickly making a lot of people understand the basics - but then it moves on. Audio people do not want visual sketches, they never have any information. They want practical things. Is the space noisy or quiet, is it reverberant, is not on the flightpath to the local airport? They have no interest in wasting their time in advance on things that they know will change.

Technical folk rarely read scripts apart from maybe the synopsis page. They don't need story boards and don't want any information that will be pointless.
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