Comic Books as Storyboards

Comic Books as Storyboards

With the rise of the Superhero film, more and more movies are being adapted from comic books than ever before. After decades of being regarded as children’s entertainments and not really worthy of Class ‘A’ film treatment, the comic book is now practically a genre

recognized as both a complex art form in and of itself and almost perfectly suited to the film medium. Each year sees the release of a slew?? of new films based on comic books to some extent, and the Top Ten lists of films each year are increasingly dominated by the likes of Iron Man, Superman, and Batman, while television has seized on graphic novels such as The Walking Dead for inspiration.

The majority of, these films treat comics the same way they treat novels-As source materials. They generally eschew any aspect of the comic that doesn’tt seem ideal for transition to the screen, and don’t regard the framing, composition of the comic books as any sort of guide to the framing and composition of the filmed scenes. Most, in fact, have their own bespoke storyboarding – although this may change in the near future, as some films have in fact embraced the concept of the comic book source material being the film’s storyboard.

Sin City

In Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 adaption of Frank Miller’s Sin City, the final movie not only resembles the source material in its color scheme and style, a very stark black and white with punctuations of color, resulting in a surreal reality that often appears divorced from anything solid – but actually is based, shot for shot, on the frames in the comics themselves. In fact, many sequences in the film are exact replicas of the panels from the original film, down to the background details, the angle of the ‘camera,’ and its implied movement from one frame to another.

In fact, it is because of this extensive use of comics as storyboards, that Frank Miller is credited as co-director on the film with Rodriguez. This is only just as he apparently determined the camera angles, blocking, and other aspects of the film’s direction years before the rights were even sold.

Resistance

Sin City still, remains as one of the only films to use the comic original as a storyboard, and resistance to the idea remains strong in Hollywood, for two basic reasons:

  1. Creative Control: Most Directors seek to put their own print on a film adaption and bring their own eye to the screen. Using an artist’s storyboard that they had no hand in creating or influencing, reduces their role in the film and opens up the possibility that their contribution might be denigrated.
  1. Live Action: Sin City was unusual for a modern comic book adaption for its stylistic decision to keep the look and feel of the comic. Most comic book-inspired films, such as the rash of superhero films currently in vogue, opt to bring the comics into a live action setting, making many of the panels from the original unsuitable if not impossible.

Sin City 2 is due for release in 2014, marking another sequel that will use the original comic panels as storyboards – and more will certainly follow.

– Video Caddy

Audio Editing for Podcasts

Audio Editing for Podcasts

The modern day economy is a funny thing. So many things are given away for free (or ‘free’ in the sense that you’re paying with eyeballs on advertising but not literal money) and while there are more jobs for the creative class (such as in audio editing) those jobs tend to pay significantly less than in the ‘old days.’ Plus, there’s a perception that with computer programs anyone can perform a service like audio editing. As many people rushing to jump on the Podcast bandwagon have discovered, though, there’s a lot more to editing audio in a Podcast than meets the eye. And if that Podcast is destined to be uploaded to YouTube with some sort of visual background, professional audio editing becomes even more vital.

Smoothing Things Out

The first issue with Podcasts is that very few people have what’s termed a ‘Radio Voice’ – that smooth delivery, even in impromptu moments, without hems or haws or breath sounds. Most Podcasters are amateur enthusiasts on a subject, and as amateurs they don’t really know how to work with a microphone to avoid breath sounds, clicks, and pops. The first order of business for an audio editor is to remove these little imperfections to create the illusion that the speaker is silver-tongued and never has to use the extended, zen-like ‘Um,’ while collecting their thoughts.

Removing these sorts of pauses and sounds can be time-consuming and a little maddening, and the key is to leave in a natural amount of space – simply deleting every moment a Podcaster says ‘Um’ can leave their presentation sounding unnatural as they jump from one word to the next.

Removing Noise and Increasing Quality

If the Podcast has been recorded using decent hardware and at a decent quality level, the audio editor will have a lot of breathing room to work with. But not all Podcasts are created equally, and even good-quality hardware can be defeated if the recording location is chosen poorly and becomes polluted with ambient noise.

The second order of business for an audio editor then is to identify two types of noise and eliminate it. The first is background hums and hiss, which can usually be eliminated using a simple filter that samples some of the hiss and then removes it automatically. However, care must be taken to ensure that these filters don’t leave the voices sounding flat or distorted if the algorithms are applied too aggressively.

The next step is to scan the recording for intrusions, like traffic noise or people walking by. This can be much more challenging to remove, especially when it steps on the spoken words.

Size Matters

Finally, be sure to trim silence off the beginning and end before adding in intro music or other sound effects, and when outputting the file for upload to YouTube or any other platform consider the bitrate carefully. Many Podcasts are downloaded, so keeping the final file size small is a good idea, but don’t go so lo-fi that the sound quality suffers. Voice is very forgiving, however, so you can dip as low as 160kbps without noticeable distortion.

Podcasts continue to be very popular – so know how to handle them or be left behind!

– VideoCaddy