5 Steps to Storyboarding
Author: Michelle Abdon
You have a great video idea, your favorite equipment, and some brewing excitement — now what? One of the very first steps in starting your video project is storyboarding.
What is a storyboard?
A storyboard is basically a visual outline or plan for what your finished video will look like. This takes the form of a scene-by-scene timeline that includes drawings or reference images of what you’re planning to film. These images are often paired with a brief description of the dialogue you might pair with the shot, the duration of the clip, or any relevant information regarding movement that might occur within each frame.
The storyboard can also include technical details like the shot size (wide, medium, close up), lens length, or the distance of the camera from the subject.
Why do you need a storyboard?
A storyboard is like a road map for you while you’re making your video. It helps you keep both the big picture and the details in mind both when you’re filming and editing.
How to Create a Storyboard
Start with a written outline for the sequences in your video. This should include a basic storyline or timeline. If you’re doing interviews and the majority of your film is unscripted, you can write down what questions you want answered from first to last so that there’s a linear flow in your video. (Since a lot of unscripted videos rely on the questions you ask, it’s important to have an arsenal of questions ready to achieve the main message you’re trying to share.) For more scripted videos with narration, mark up your script. Identify key scenes. Include notes for where the scene transitions, when and where there’s movement throughout the scene and dialogue, and any other helpful notes such as location, sounds, or soundtracks you want to include and where.
Create a template. We’ve created this free Storyboard template for you to use.
Start your storyboard with the basics (subject & background). It’s helpful to draw a quick sketch of the angle you want your subject(s) to be facing in each frame. This will help during the shoot process, so you can easily maneuver your camera into position and maximize time. This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to shoot the video in the same order that the storyboard.
Add shot numbers. If you’re filming with a team, this will help all of you know which scene you’re referencing as you record each scene. By adding shot numbers, you can also cut up each frame and re-order it to see if a better timeline would work and then re-name the shot number. If you end up liking your original timeline better, you’ll have the shots numbered so you can re-order them to its original timeline!
Film. As mentioned earlier, you do not need to shoot the video in the same order as your storyboard. Instead, your storyboard is a helpful tool to be able to strategize which scenes you will shoot first to last. Storyboards help maximize your time in a shoot, and effectively and efficiently guide your time during post-production.