Sound and Silence Spice up Storyboards

January 16, 2021 - Storyboarding
Sound and Silence Spice up Storyboards

Storyboards are usually static images until you take them to the next level: animatics. This means putting them into motion, using transition between the still images and adding sound: V/O, dialog, music, sound effects and, yes, even silence. But this could take a lot of time and work.

Sound Timeline

When using StoryBoard Artist storyboard software, each frame is created and placed onto the Timeline. As a result, your project is immediately ready for sound to be added. Stretch the length of time (duration) the image plays on screen and accompany the frame with music, SFX or V/O dialog. Doing this in a digital storyboard software app, you get an immediate feel for your vision of the project. Studios use digital storyboards to time out their projects and look for lulls in tension and emotion.

Silence at Work

But when all is said and done, an often overlooked element of sound is “silence.”  Silence isn’t usually identified as an element of sound but it is. And silence can be used as a dramatic punctuation. Consequently, when a sound track is filled with non-stop sound FX, music or dialog, a sudden lack of sound shocks the audience. It grabs their attention. Most of all it can heighten tension and anticipation in the viewer.

Our brain is able to ignore wall to wall sound when the sound is consistent in both volume and pitch. However, when either changes, our brain kicks into paying attention. Therefore, the next time you add sound to your storyboards, add silence at just the right moment. Then watch the reaction.

The Art of Silence

Finally, we’ve attached an interview with Martin Scorsese. He talks about the Art of Silence in film and supports the idea with some example to demonstrate its power.  Since silence works well in film, it will work in storyboard animatics too using PowerProduction’s digital storyboard software.

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