Filmmaking Basics/Thumbnail Storyboard/Crossing the line

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This school is:
Wikiversity Film School - Narrative film production
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This course is:
The basics of narrative filmmaking
This lesson is:
Creating the thumbnail storyboards
The pages of this lesson are:
Introduction - Creating the thumbnail storyboards

If you have problems:
Things to worry about! ("Crossing the line.")
More things to worry about! (Eyeballs & cameras)

CrossingLine.jpg Technical worries!!!!

Crossing the line

Making artistic decisions
When you create a thumbnail storyboard, you make many wonderful artistic decisions. This is the fun of movie making.
You can design the movie the way you want. You are in total control.
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Making technical decisions
However, there are some technical things to worry about that you don't have control over. The most important is "crossing the line".
The "one hundred and eighty degree" rule
When two people are in a conversation, you must draw a line between the two actors and NEVER move the camera across this line (unless the camera is filming as you move across the line so that the audience sees you cross the line.)
There is a good reason for this rule. When you edit two shots together which "Cross the line" then the image looks like the actors suddenly flip from one side to the other. This is not good.
It looks awkward if you move the camera across the line. When you move the camera between shots across the line, the image looks reversed. It looks like the actors jumped from one side to the other for no reason. (Normally, the only acceptable reason is the camera is running when the camera crosses the line so the audience sees ths actors switch positions.)
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It seems only natural

Looking at their faces

When you storyboard, it seems only natural that you look at the faces of the actors.

As you are drawing, it seems perfectly natural to show frame #3 below followed by frame #4.

In the editing

It is only when you begin to edit the two shots together that you will see the problem. It is not evident when you are storyboarding.

An extra effort

That is why you must make a special effort to check your storyboards for "crossing the line". This is a last step that you draw your thumbnail storyboards.

And if you find this problem, you must try again.

An simple example
Deimos 3.png
Shot #3
Thumbnail Storyboard-Deimos 4.png
Shot #4

Notice the eyes

See the head jump and the eye switch
In these two sequential shots, the heads flip to opposite sides of the storyboard and the eyes are now pointing in the opposite directions. This is crossing the line. It will look odd when cut into a movie.

Another example

June 17, 2008 -- Digitaldave80 created this thumbnail storyboard.

Digitaldave80 Thumbnail Storyboard frame.png

Digitaldave80 Thumbnail Storyboard.png
Click on the image to see larger version.


Study this storyboard carefully
Did the camera cross the line? How many times?
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They jumped

The actors switched position
In the example above, see how the tall person seems to jump from one side of the image to the other. This will confuse the audience.
What do you do?
Now you must try to figure out how you can set up the camera in shot #4 on the same side of the line between the two actors in shot #3. This is not easy!
The challenge of filmmaking
Now you begin to see how challenging filmmaking can be!
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The floor plan

Looking down from above
The diagram to the right is a bit confusing at first. It is just the two people standing in front of the movie poster. The people can be facing any direction. Just draw a line between the two people. Then stay on one side of the line or the other (unless you move the camera while the audience is watching.)
Stay on one side or the other
Stay in the pink area or stay in the green area (unless you move across the line while the camera is rolling.)
Follow the eyes
When you stay on one side or the other, the eyes of the actors will point out the same side of their head all the time. This is part of the illusion. Watch the eyes!
The floor plan for the shot
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The next lesson

There is still one more technical detail. You must worry about the direction of the actor's eyes. See Watch the eyeballs!. Crystal Clear action forward.png

Contact your instructor