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Home / Design & Architecture / Cinematic Storytelling / Basic Aspects of Storyboarding – 4 : 5 C’s of Cinematography (Part 2 : Continuity & Camera Angles)

Basic Aspects of Storyboarding – 4 : 5 C’s of Cinematography (Part 2 : Continuity & Camera Angles)


Storyboards are a vital tool to maintain continuity in a shooting (you will experience this if you ever going to shoot a video and use storyboards – you have a healthier distinction of things that break continuity when you compare your drawings to the actual shots). Continuity helps to maintain the sense of realism. The storyboard artist must keep an eye on every detail between switching through panels, making sure that every element, every item and action is in a reasonable flow – and the director should be loyal to the details in the storyboards in order to avoid continuity mistakes between different takes (a misplaced prop, wrong detail of the costume, wrong flow of the action etc).

You might wanna take a look at the interrogation scene (around 1.29.00)  in ‘The Dark Knight’ if you wanna see a vital continuity mistake.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 6.34.57 PM

When Batman holds Joker up against the wall, Joker’s hands are holding Batman’s forearms upside down – from underneath.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 6.35.07 PM

When the frame changes his hands are now on top of Batman’s forearms, then it cuts back and his hands are under again.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 6.35.21 PM

Yes, even Christopher Nolan can fail.

Camera Angles

Camera angles are one of the main elements which can make a scene appealing or not. The same scene can be shot in a variety of manners, each with a different feeling – camera angles are the main things responsible for this. Different placements of cameras can make the same action look more dramatic or less dramatic, depending on its placement : flat, angled, eye-level, tilted up, tilted down, bird’s eye, worm’s eye etc. Storyboards are mostly the first visualization process of the script, so the storyboard artist should use the camera angles wisely, depending on the sentiment writer and the director want the audience to have. One should try to avoid monotone by using different angles in a scene, but he should always take into consideration that the flow of the scene would get harder and more confusing if he uses too much angle changes without a point.


See the examples below and notice how the camera angles affect the mood of the scene.


(Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, 2012, Peter Jackson)

High angle shot is used to emphasize how small Bilbo Baggins feels (and is) as compared to the grandeur of his surroundings.


(Matrix, 1999, The Wachowski Brothers)

Remember how weak and desperate Mr. Anderson felt when he was talking to Morpheus on the telephone just before he was captured by the agents? Don’t you feel that claustrophobia and anxiety with this high angle shot?

kane1 kane2 kane3

(Citizen Kane, 1941, Orson Welles)

One of the most important pieces of the cinema history, Citizen Kane, is also famous for its low angle shot scenes. Welles uses these shots during the movie to make the audience feel the change of confidence and power in Kane. These shots are less frequent in the beginning, suggesting him as equal to his peeers. As the movie continues, nearly in every scene we see a low angle shot of him. The example above is taken from his legendary election speech scene, which is an excellent example of the subject. The scene starts with a distant shot of him, picturing him more or less about the same scale with the others. As Kane continues with his enthusiastic and furious speech, the camera pans down to the bottom of the podium, making him seem exaggeratingly tall. Now almost same size with the giant portrait behind him, Kane is a powerful man superior to anyone present in the scene.


(Inglourious Basterds, 2009, Quentin Tarantino)

One of Tarantino’s trademark moves, the guy just loves to show his characters from the bottom. Notice how dominant, powerful and confident they look from the POV of their victim.


(The Dark Knight, 2008, Christopher Nolan)

A low angle shot of The Joker in the famous truck scene. What more to say?

Next article will cover Cutting. Take care until then!

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