Before we get into the amazing possibilities of what pre-visualisation or previs does, let us first put it simply that pre-visualisation is visualising complex scenes in a movie before filming. It is the ability to forecast a finished project before finalising it.
The advantage of Previsualization is that it allows a director, cinematographer or CGI Supervisor to experiment with different stage direction options such as camera placement and movement, choreography and editing without having to face the costs of actual production. This provides a level of clarity and efficiency, shortening development times, and eliminating errors. Due to the ability to see things live, issues that are typically not seen until much later in the post production are identified and corrected before they become a costly problem.
The process flow
Before Previs it’s important to create sketches and storyboards first and then a rough version of the film, called an animatic. Previs comes later after these two and is basically the rough graphics imitating the final outline.
The rough graphics might be edited together along with temporary music and even dialogue. Some previs can look like simple colourless shapes representing the characters or elements in a scene, while some others can be complex enough to look like a video game. Below is a snapshot of the previs for the movie Pacific Rim.
Previsualization is widely recognised and used today in the motion picture industry to facilitate and accelerate communications in the creation multi-million dollar feature films.
The Russo brothers who directed the movie Avengers: Infinity War had all the action scenes pre-visualised by stunt doubles before being attempted by the cast. The first use of 3D computer software to previsualize a scene for a major motion picture was in 1988 by animator Lynda Weinman for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Another effort was for James Cameron’s The Abyss (1989) using gaming technology.
As an indie or freelance animator if you don’t have enough resources for high end previs, you can always opt for alternatives.
Professionals skilled in Previsualization is now in demand. There are courses that can help you get the required training and get hired in film production top studios.
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