“That way you can get really nice sequences with minimum light gear, decor and props, actors, extras and sets/costumes/etc.”
That’s actually my general train of thought as well, don’t get me wrong - I’ve just grown more and more tired of them for simple scenes and setups. Here’s my general experience concerning storyboards and filmmaking in general:
When there is money involved, time IS money. Are you “wasting” time doing unnecessary things, or taking too long for what will end up being useless during any stage of the production? The people with the money (or in control of your paycheck) will not hire you again.
When there is no money (no-budget shorts and features, spec commercials, etc.) time is your reputation. Are you “wasting” time doing unnecessary things, which will waste your rep, (and people will start walking away from any production that has your name on it) during any stage of the production.
Everything that’s been longer than a commercial - if they had storyboards - that I’ve worked on has abandoned the storyboards halfway through, or even at the beginning, usually due to the location, or time (on the set of The Shield they had a saying among the crew for new directors - “Feature film by day, documentary by night”). When it’s been the location, they have found better ways to stage or shoot than were drawn.
I keep bringing up “2 people sitting at a table” because of one particular shoot where that was the entire setup for the whole thing. The director was new and nervous, and the DP was neither (and had a beautiful Aaton XTRProd that he wouldn’t let us touch - bastard…). The director had meticulously storyboarded with photos of 2 people in his living room sitting in chairs. After every “cut” the director pulled him over and half the crew and had little pow-wows that took sometimes 20 minutes an analysis (yes, he was CLEARLY overdoing it, but I’ll get to the 2 points quickly) while the rest of us grips and PAs stood around bored - wasting time, which = money.
About halfway through the shoot, the director called “cut” and the DP didn’t move… He just stood there and asked “where do you want the camera?” The director was stunned, taken aback but tried not to show it (he has a horrible poker-face) and merely walked over to where he wanted the camera and pointed the direction.
It went a LOT faster after that and none of us were standing around except during actual takes. Later, after all was said and done, it was obvious to ALL that there was so much the location had to offer (a small restaraunt back room with a handful of extras and nice decorations) that was never taken advantage of because he stuck completely to his storyboards.
In that particular case the director also ruined his rep with a very lackluster commercial and to my knowledge has only been a producer since.
So, yeah, I hesitate to storybord something akin to 2 people sitting at a table…
If there’s a cohesive line of action, or even remotely cool (or stunts, or FX, etc.) shot I’ll jump right to storyboard it. I merely keep coming across tunnelvision with storyboards and was wondering how others fared, and what their thoughts and experiences were.
For animation you had better storyboard every conceivable shot and play it through to figure out what you need to set up and render.
It seems you’ve had good and valuable experience with them for live action as well. I apologize for being so jaded about them - for simple setups I use them for reference only, and usually divert from them quickly for better shots (which, again, then makes me wonder why I took the time to draw them).