A storyboard is a blueprint for a film. Making a video production without one would be like throwing your money in the bin. The story board is a way of establishing what the viewer will see in each shot. It is something that everyone involved in your video production should be able to understand and is a great way of communicating your vision.
Storyboards are useful for:
- organising the shooting process so that you know what exactly you need
- pre-visualising your video production
- helping you foresee any potential problems
- experimenting with different story line structures
- allowing a team of people to think and plan together because they have a visual representation to look at as a group
- keeping to your budget or making savings because you know exactly what you need to shoot
The story boarding process as it is known today was first developed by Walt Disney in the 1930’s. These days, the process can be carried out digitally or can be hand drawn. If you hand draw your story board, you need a story board template which can look something like the following image:
You can take the concept from this template and adapt it to suit your needs. If working on the story board as a team, you can use post its on a white board, for example. This technique means that the post its can be moved about as the team discusses different ordering options.
Top tips for storyboarding
1 Number your shots
This will prevent any confusion later on. Also, use a secondary numbering system when a shot requires multiple boards to depict some motion. For example, 2a, 2b, 2c etc.
2 Label the location of your sequences and shots
This will mean that you can shoot all shots for one location at one time – rather than wasting time and going back and forth between locations.
3 Draw motion
You can draw motion using arrows, motion lines or multiple frames. You can also make notes about the motion you are hoping to achieve. It is important that motion is featured in your storyboard so that the crew know what they are trying to achieve.
4 Types of shots
It is important to have an idea of what types of shots you are trying to capture e.g. long shot (LS), medium shot (MS) and close up (CU) – label your images in your story board.
5 Camera angles
Camera angles and lighting may be depicted perfectly in your storyboard drawings… but if not, be sure to make a note of the angles and light set up you want in each shot.
6 Include post-production information
This includes any special effects that might be added later on and any graphics that will feature in the final edit.
Birds eye view story boarding
You also have the option of producing birds eye view story boards. These allow the team to visualise how a shot or scene will be set up ‘from above’.
Remember: You don’t need to be an artist to produce a story board. Stick people can be just as effective!
You are producing a corporate video, not a blockbuster animation. You therefore don’t need as much detail as feature films. Some companies will invest and hire professional story boarders (who are artists!) – but you can still reap the rewards of story boarding without paying someone to create a masterpiece.