Microsoft Superhero Video Storyboards and Stills

So, after Microsoft decided on a format change from an 8-page comic book to a semi-animated video, I had to rethink the storytelling and change gears. Either format was fine with me; I just had to disregard the comic page layouts I had already begun to formulate in my head and think instead how to tell the story in a fixed widescreen format, with zooms, pans, fades and simple movements and effects. Instead, then, of doing comic book page layouts of varying panel sizes and shapes, I needed to do a series of what amounted to 35-40 "shooting storyboards" to figure and convey the action frame by frame. These were drawn quickly and small, 2" x 3", taking maybe 3-10 minutes each, depending on the degree of complexity. They're not much to look at, they're supposed to be just enough to form the plan to tell the story, a guide for effects and movements, and figure shot compositions. Below is a sampling of the boards alongside the finished color shots. The story begins with the four heroes meeting at their...meeting place, Justice League of America-style:

Nova (kinda like Charlie did with his Angels) speaks to them via intercom, informing them of the situation and and their task. Then, my fave, Affinity affords her mates a glimpse into the Dark World of the Workers they're to aid:

The Workers' World is filled with shadow and devoid of color, as they toil away chained to their desks at their desktops, limited and hampered in their prison-like workplace:

Affinity peers into that Gray World and transports herself and her colorful clan there to perform their task:

But despite their best efforts, the evil force, Pernicious fights back and begins to drain color and energy from the heroes!

Harmony turns on her charm, spreading enthusiasm and sweet color to the workers, freeing them from their sorry state:

The above shots of Harmony leaving her feet we determined to be superfluous, slowing down the action. I'd hoped to see her lower into frame from above, but that action was cut from the final video.

Harmony and the heroes celebrate before returning to their headquarters for kudos from Nova.

In the end, I lost only a few effects and motions I'd planned and hoped to see, and was pleased the animator added effects I hadn't thought of or expected. To view the video for the rest of the story, visit the GXS Facebook page. And now in benediction, Harmony wishes you peace and happiness: