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What is a Shot or Scene and what is a Panel?

Learn the difference between Shots or Scenes, and Panels.

About the Author

Shabana Ali

Shabana Ali

Multimedia Artist

Montreal, Canada

Toon Boom Animation

Video Transcript

Let's talk about the structure of a storyboard. I'm going to do this in relation to storyboard pro but this actually applies to story-boarding in general.

Specifically let's talk about shots, scenes and panels. So shots and scenes are the same thing, it's just that the terminology of shots are used in film whereas the terminology of a scene is used in animation and a shot or scene is defined when the camera angle changes. And the camera angle could also include whether the camera is showing wide shot, whether showing a close up shot or an actual angle change such as an overhead shot. It does not include however, camera moves which is when the camera pans or zooms in. That could still be considered the same scene or shot.

So here in Storyboard Pro you can see that the scenes and I'm going to call them scenes not shots because this is an animated production. You can see that they're delineated by a gray background and they alternate between light grey and dark gray so that you can see a differentiation. So these two panels are in a single scene and these three panels are in a single scene. And if we move down here we can also see these three panels are in a single scene and so they change because the camera angle has changed. Here we go from a wide shot to a close up. We frame again for two characters and then we go to a long shot.

A panel however is one of these white squares and in traditional storyboarding it would be also a, you know, white rectangle or square and what that delineates is an action and there can be multiple actions in a scene or shot. So in this example here, the character changes expression. So that is an action or different acting you could also say. So these two actions are in the same scene, the camera angle doesn't change what we need to put into panels because there's an action that occurs within that scene.