Video Storyboarding Secrets

By Warren Lutz – Contributing Writer

Video storyboarding is a time-tested method for bringing your video script to life. But what is a storyboard, exactly? And why does it matter?

Sample Video Storyboard 1

A video storyboard is a series of pictures or boxes that represent, shot by shot, what the finished video will look like from beginning to end. Underneath or next to each box is usually the script, or what the narrator or the people on screen are saying in that particular shot. In fact, a storyboard is a little like a comic book that way.

Why are storyboards important?

Video storyboarding brings your script to life. Trying to describe the video you want to create using only words is difficult. The storyboard helps everyone involved understand the concept, so it can be discussed and fine tuned long before the camera starts rolling. Think of it like the set of blueprints an architect creates before building a new home or skyscraper. A storyboard works in the same way for film and video.

Another benefit of creating a storyboard is that it provides a rough idea of how much your video will cost and how long it will take to produce. For example, if your video will include multiple locations, people, animation or graphics, that information will be included in the storyboard, as well as how all these elements fit together.

Lastly, the storyboard helps ensure a smooth production process. While a script cannot “show” precisely what sort of shot you have in mind for a particular scene, the storyboard will, so you don’t forget anything.

How are storyboards created?

Video Production Storyboard Sample 2

Anyone can create a storyboard. They can be done on PowerPoint, with computer illustration software, or simply sketched out on a piece of paper. Free storyboard templates are also available online – just search Google.

If you’re in a real rush to get your idea down, a simple piece of paper will do. Take out a blank sheet draw some boxes, maybe six boxes to a page. In each square or shot, sketch out what the viewer will see in your video. It doesn’t matter how good it looks; it’s the concept that counts. Stick figures are fine!

Then, beneath each shot, explain what is happening and what is being said on or off camera.

What goes into the storyboard?

A storyboard could include many different elements, among them:

  • Type of camera shots, whether close-ups or long shots, and zoom shots
  • Text and graphics
  • Location, background and scene
  • People in the video, how they move, what they’re wearing
  • Screen cuts and transitions
  • Music and other audio direction

Keep in mind that you don’t have to know all the technical details of your video to create a storyboard. Your vendor can help sort these details out. For now, just focus what you think the video should look like.

Parting shots

A storyboard has the added benefit of validating your video project to others who may be on the fence about whether it’s a good idea or not. Once they see everything has been thought out and scripted, it’s easier to give the go-ahead. It also makes the project fun and gets others involved.

Not sure how to get started? A professional video production/marketing services vendor can create a storyboard using your script, as well as take over as much of the process as you like. There’s no real “wrong” way to make a storyboard, but simply creating one is always the right move.

Further Reading and Resources

The Real Power of Video Marketing

Bringing Your Video Message to Life

The Future of Multimedia and Visual Storytelling [INFOGRAPHIC]

Book Review – How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck


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