The Stockholm-based Shotbox team has worked in film and visual effects professionally, but couldn't find storyboarding tool that met their needs for daily production. So like all good startup founding stories, they decided to make their own, targeting filmmakers, animators, game designers, and whoever else needs a handy storyboarding tool. The product is currently free to use in public beta.
As you might imagine, planning and timing every shot is difficult work, no matter if it's a feature length film, or if you only have 30 seconds to squeeze in a full commercial. Traditionally filmmakers and animators have manually created storyboards to plan out their shots, but now Shotbox has put their storyboarding concept in the cloud with the goal of speeding up the development process of storyboarding, all while making their creation more flexible.
Users can quickly upload their images and audio to time their shots for whatever tempo or duration they think will work. Additionally all the versions of the storyboard are saved, so there's no reason not to play around with the timing, and annotations and comments can mark each frame. Shotbox supports shared storyboards, so teams distributed around the world can work on a single concept together, which could open up the world to some new collaborations, or distributed work.
But the main thing they're bringing to the table is speed and simplicity. Co-founder Viktor Björk told us an anecdote of when he was part of a fairly big production where they were storyboarding on Adobe's InDesign. "I decided to upload the content to Shotbox - live in a meeting - and started to shuffle it around with descriptions, hit export PDF, and at the same time they have barely opened InDesign document because you have to shuffle so many stuff. The efficiency in Shotbox is important. We don't want to change how creatives area working, but want to make it more efficient with our tool."
So far they've seen good traction by submitting the link on a few forums, and then watching the product grow from referrals from one person to another. So far users have been creating everything from advertising to animation, and from 30 second projects to full independent artsy projects.
The self-funded product has been in development for two years, so it shows some polish. In the future they'll add the ability for you to add video, as well as the ability to release a more advanced showcase area for you to show off your storyboards, or even brand it for your company. On that note, the monetization will likely be some sort of freemium model, where you need to pay for branding features or for more than two people to work on a project.