A new app for Apple mobile devices, ShotPro, aims to take storyboarding to the next level, with 3D characters and sets, a simple animation engine and the ability to export your previs video.
Most filmmakers and productions, even at the micro-budget level, employ some form of storyboarding and pre-visualization to better plan their days. Sure, there are those of us who prefer the run-and-gun approach, relying on notes scrawled on the previous night's bar napkin, but the rest of us would likely appreciate more productivity tools that streamline the storyboarding and previs process - and if the tool removes the necessity of drawing storyboards, even better.
Big budget productions have a previs department that works from preproduction through production and even post (for effects-heavy films). A recently released app, available for newer iPads and iPhones, aims to be your own virtual previs department.
ShotPro: Feature rich from start
The main draw of ShotPro is that it replaces traditional storyboarding with a more comprehensive 3D previs system. The app has pre-loaded 3D models, such as characters, sets, props, all of which are at least somewhat able to be animated. In additional, you have the option to control lighting and camera, even depth of field. Users can easily preview their cuts, add effects and music, and export their creations at up to full HD resolution.
More features on the way
As of the time of this writing, ShotPro is close to releasing its next update, which should bring scalable characters and props, animation for lights, new camera models (presumably incorporating presets that replicate the sensor size of popular cameras), improved stability and bug fixes. According to the moderator of the ShotPro forum, here are other features that are in the pipeline:
- Undo button
- Multiple aspect ratios
- Save to cloud
- Item Snapping
- Item Grouping
- More customization options
- More 3D characters, sets and props
The app, which currently has a 4.5 star rating from its early adopters, runs $29.99 on the App Store, which may seem on the pricey side, but it's a small sum compared to the hours saved making less-than-stellar storyboards, or the expense of hiring a real storyboard artist. According to the company, there is a Mac version in the works. Android and PC versions may be developed as well, depending on interest.
Anyone who has tried this app or would care to recommend other pre-visualization tools, let us know in the comments. And if you're the 'notes on last night's bar napkin'-type, we'd love to hear from you too!