In preparation for the ongoing collaborative project with Joanna Nawn, I came to the conclusion that I needed to learn some basic cinematography techniques and a plan for the first scene. It was tempting to just dive right into Maya and start animating away, but I knew that I’d likely find myself either stuck deciding what to do or getting lost in some direction outside of my vision. To order keep myself grounded and to emulate the professional planning process, I knew that I had to draw up some storyboards.
The storyboards were a helpful tool that allowed me to get my ideas on paper and make some creative decisions that would ultimately save me time in production.
Coming into the project I had very little background knowledge with using the camera as a storytelling device besides some basic still photography techniques, so I had to refer to a few sources to educate myself. The best sources that I was able to utilize was a tutorial on Lynda.com, an extremely helpful video on Vimeo, A Guide to Basic Cinematography, and a wonderful YouTube channel, Every Frame a Painting. Below is a video from that channel that inspired me with the first scene.
The Lateral Tracking Shot was instrumental in the conception of my first scene.
With the knowledge I gained, I proceeded to tackle the test shot for the first scene:
As you can see, I utilized a renderable camera to create the tracking shot while having some secondary animations occur in the background. As the camera stops and centers on the picture above the bed, I used a Push-In, simultaneously changing the focal length from 55 mm to 2.5 mm to achieve the vertigo effect, kinda opposite of the famous Hitchcock Pull. The final intent of the shot is to have the girl literally fly into the scene, transitioning to the dream state.