This is the last in my short review series on storyboarding apps. I saved it for last because it is by far my favorite.
Cinemek Storyboard Composer has nearly everything you’d ever need from a storyboarding app. It has been around for a while and still proceeds to outshine every other app I’ve seen.
Not only is it worth far beyond its price tag, but it demonstrates what app designers can really achieve with the iOS platform. Relatively unchanged since its release, Storyboard Composer is still one of the more ground-breaking apps in my filmmaking arsenal, and it’s definitely number one in the “whoa” factor.
How it works
Import photos or drawings (Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro is a worthy companion) from your photo album, or take pictures directly within the app. Arrange boards effortlessly with your finger. Double-tap for panel options. Add all kinds of storyboard markup — arrows, dolly/pan frames, scene/shot numbers, text notes. Record audio to a panel.
Don’t have anyone with you as you take location-specific storyboard photos? Add a silhouette — male, female; front, right, left. Markup is controlled by familiar pinch to scale, rotate, and touch to drag gestures.
Back in board mode, click watch to see your board played back with all your markup. Set a board for a zoom? Playback zooms. Set a board for a pan? Playback pans. You end up with an animatic of your scene. Export your Storyboards to Cinemek’s PDF or QuickTime service and receive an email link to shareable versions of your storyboard or animatic.
This app is so incredible that, after the initial amazement, you suddenly find yourself launched into finding scenes to construct. It’s hard enough for an app to be transparent to your work. This is one that actually throws you into it.
Please do not be underwhelmed by the shortness of this section. It simply must be used to understand how truly awesome it is.
There’s little not to like about Storyboard Composer. The only thing that is really a drawback is that there is currently no iPad-optimized version. The iPhone version works on the iPad just fine, and I have used it to Storyboard an entire short film before, so it’s not at all lacking, practically speaking. But, I would still love an iPad UI.
Also, the app only works in one landscape mode (i.e., it does not turn upside-down with the device, but remains locked in one position). Again, not really a huge deal, but, especially on my iPad with the Apple case, orientation can matter.
What I’d love to see
I have a lot of hope for future features. For instance, I’d love the ability to group storyboards as scenes to help with organization. Another plus would be a proprietary format for saving out, so I could share the storyboard with other members of my team.
Since the animatics are so good, maybe some video out options, AirPlay, etc. Maybe a sketch look for the PDFs in addition to the full-color photos. I’m really just dreaming things at this point. As I said, the app is great as is.
Cinemek Storyboard Composer is one of my faves. If you are a filmmaker, this one is a MUST HAVE. Period. Go. Get it. Now.