During the course Machines of Knowledge, one of the assessments was the creation of an animated video with the online tool PowToon. Our topics? Filter bubbles! Yes, you are right, I already wrote about that once in my post about Eli Pariser’s book: ‘The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You’. So you can imagine I was happy with this topic.

We worked on the animated video as a group of five. For all of us, it was the first time we worked on a project like this, which made it hard, but also very interesting. One of the main elements of the creation process was a day long storyboarding session at university. Wondering why we did that?

A storyboard is a sequence of drawings that represent the shots planned for a video production. (…) The storyboard is a very important part of the pre-production process because it clearly conveys how the story will flow, as you can see how your shots work together
Specs Howard, School of Media Arts

Well, that is why. A storyboard is an element that might not be missing in the creative process of making a video, whether it is an actual movie with actors or an animated video like in this case.

We already wrote a draft of the script before coming to the storyboarding session. Besides that we also had arranged a meeting to talk about the visualizations already. That was very useful, because with this preparation, we could actually be very productive during the storyboarding session. The collaboration within the group was very useful as well: we were able to really complement each other and make use of each others strengths. Creative thoughts and practical considerations were both taken into account, to get a qualitatively good, but also doable result.

Part of our storyboard

The storyboard turned out to be of strong support during the whole creation process following the storyboard session. Even though the tool PowToon did not enable us to create everything the way we had visualized it in the storyboard, it made creating the actual animations easier. This has a few reasons. Because we worked with 5 persons on the video, but mostly individually, it was very good and useful to know how we saw and wanted things as a group. Of course, some things turned out to be different from the storyboard because of practicalities, but in the case PowToon was not able to visualize things the way we wanted, the storyboard helped as an inspiration. And ultimately, seeing our video next to our storyboard, there are many similarities!

When we finished, we all agreed on the fact that the storyboarding session helped us in the creation process of the animated video. Besides that, we were also satisfied with the new skills we gained because of this assignment: not just in the field of animating, but also in the creative process of storyboarding.