Filmmaking Basics/Thumbnail Storyboard/Eye direction

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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)

Crystal Clear app kuser.png More technical worries!!!!
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Eye direction?

Left, right, center?
In general, thumbnail storyboards are very quick sketches. The exception is the eyeballs. You must clearly show the direction that the eyes are pointing.
Storyboard eyes none.png
no eyeballs
Draw the circle of the eyeball
Always draw the circle of the eyeball to start with. Then add a dot for the pupil to show the eye direction.
Storyboard eyes right.png
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Passive vs. Active

Who is the camera?
Another concern is "who is the camera?" You have to decide "Who is the camera?"
This can change with each shot. Therefore, you have to decide for each shot what is the purpose of the camera.
The big question
Is the camera a passive observer or is the camera taking the viewpoint of one of the actors? Is the camera just the view of the audience acting as a passive observer? Or does the camera show us what one of the actors sees? (That is, does the camera show us the point-of-view of an actor?)
This makes a difference and the difference is seen in the eyeballs of the actors.
Storyboard eyes right.png
eyes right - passive camera
Storyboard eyes center.png
eyes at camera - the camera is an actor in the scene
Storyboard eyes left.png
eyes left - passive camera
Look at the eyes. Which way do they point?
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Follow the eyes

Worrying about eyeballs
Now it gets even more complicated.
Case 1 - The camera is passive
In most cases, the camera is only a passive observer of the conversation. In that case, DRAW THE EYEBALLS!!! Where do the eyes of the actors point?
By that, I mean that the eyeballs of the actors will point to either on one side of the actor's face or the other. ALWAYS!!!!
The rule
Unless the camera crosses the line while the camera is filming, an actor's eyes will always appear to look either to the left or to the right CONSTANTLY throughout the scene. It never changes. (If it does, you have made a mistake.)
To repeat
When the camera is a passive observer, the eyeballs of the actor will not point into the camera but rather the pupil of the eye will point to one side or to the other side of the camera... AND WILL REMAIN ON THAT SIDE FOR THE ENTIRE SCENE.
This is a side effect of the "Don't cross the line" rule. If you do not cross the line (which is good), then each actor's eyes will ALWAYS point to the same side for the entire scene. If this changes, the audience will be come


When things go wrong
If you accidently "cross the line" between the shots of a scene then, not only does the positions of the actors change (the actor on the left is now the actor on the right), but also the eyes of the actor will be pointed in a different direction. (Not good!)

The exception

The actor's point of view

The exception is when the camera sees what the actor is seeing. Then the other actor's eyes will look directly into the camera. Then the eyeballs are straight forward. Perfectly centered. Not left and not right.

Therefore, this is the exception to the rule that the actor's eyes will continually point to just one side of his face for the entire scene.

Storyboard eyes center.png
The actor looks at the camera therefore the camera represents one of the actors in the scene.
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Always draw the eyes

Eyeball and pupil
To determine the answers to these questions, you must draw not just a circle for the eyes but also clearly draw a dot to indicate the actual direction that the eyes are pointing.
Is the older person always looking over the audience's right shoulder (or simply toward the right) in ALL the shots?
And when does the camera become the viewpoint of one of the actors.
The answer is shown in the direction of the eyes.
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The next lesson

Once you have quickly created your thumbnail storyboards, you can begin the course on 3D Storyboarding. Crystal Clear action forward.png

Contact your instructor