Who Watches the Watchmen? (I Did!)

This weekend I went to see Watchmen in IMAX. We got there 20 minutes before the show started, which means the only available seats were in the front row. It wasn’t too bad, a little hard to follow certain action sequences, but overall we were still able to see it most of the time.

One thing that struck me about Watchmen was its stylization. Unlike other Zack Snyder films, though, it was very subtle here. I think that it was due to David Gibbons’ art style in the comic — he went for a more realistic style then, although it did still fall victim to the 80s comic book color scheme of pastel blues and pinks. But rather than playing with color (or lack thereof; see “Sin City”), this film uses a lot of moody lighting, interesting camera angles, and stunning compositions (many of which are straight from the comic.) That’s one of the areas I suppose that making comic book movies could be pretty easy; you already have a very detailed storyboard set out for you in comic book form.

When you can’t appropriate a comic book to use as a guide though, a storyboard really becomes the point at which the piece is created. Whether a live action movie, a TV commercial, a medical information animation, or any other piece of visual media, it all starts with a storyboard. Not all storyboards are of comic book quality, either. Many times it starts as a series of simple, rough sketches doodled on a pad. Other times it is a more professional affair, being a “pitch”of sorts to see whether the movie or animation will make sense sequentially. Regardless, from the sketchiest panels that only make sense to the director/animator, to a full-colored sequence that looks like it could be a comic book itself, storyboards add structure and composition to movies, animations, and visual media of all sorts.