A storyboard is a shot by shot blueprint for your film or video production. Typically contains some directions and dialogue, representing the shots planned. It’s meant to be a high level view of the project created by mapping out individual boards/panels/frames. This process which looks similar to a comic strip, maps out a production and outlines the flow for:
- live action films or video productions from screenplays
- animation projects
- explainer videos
- documentary reenactment segments/scenes
- elearning projects
Where to Start Storyboarding
Once a script is approved, determine who will see your boards.
Is the audience for your storyboards
- Investors/finance agent
This choice will influence the style and complexity of boards. Here are some “types” of storyboards creatives use.
(Film production/Video production/Explainer videos/Documentary reenactment segments):
These storyboards are rough sketches that clearly illustrate the camera setups (shot composition) and main elements of each scene. These boards can serve as a shot list when in production.
Quick and clear boards speed up camera and lighting setup time. They also reduce questions from crew members about what comes next. [Captions hold slug lines and beginning dialogue text; camera and lighting notes; or prop and scenery notes.]
GOOD for: Self, Crew, brainstorming shot ideas
(Film production/Video production/Animations):
These boards are “more detailed” and are used to “sell” a concept and serve as a proof concept. They may start as simple storyboards then progress to presentation storyboards [also called storyreels, animatics or leica reel)].
Large, well-funded video/film productions use hand-drawn detailed images. Story artists and art directors are hired for this job.
Digital storyboard creation can use photos of locations, 3D models and/or pre-rendered storyboard art as a substitute for hand drawn panels.
With PowerProduction’s StoryBoard Artist digital storyboard software, you can use digital photos of actual locations. Then layer in characters, props and other elements over the background location. Captions can hold character dialogue or use the Timeline feature to add sound tracks to place voice over along with music and/or special effects (creating an animatic).
Although production notes/info can be made when storyboarding, they don’t necessarily need to be presented in these type of boards. You can choose to show or hide information as needed.
Meanwhile, many animation projects lay down the sound tracks to the project first and build out their animation (key frame style) around the sound.
GOOD for: Producers, Clients, Studios, brainstorming ideas, editing scenes and frame durations
Other storyboard types
For instance, key frames* are used to show script ideas/concepts and product placement. The boards are detailed to persuade clients to buy into the ad agency’s concept for their client’s product. Since commercials are typically short, a lot of info needs to be communicated quickly. Captions or sound tracks can give Voice Over (announcer) dialogue and music cues.
Furthermore, ad agencies and commercial production houses use printed boards as well as animatics to help sell clients their ideas and help them visualize the tempo of events. Agencies also distribute storyboards to production houses to facilitate the bidding process.
Elearning and Games: Linking project development can start with mock-ups of the idea. Refining details prior to rendering or coding can save
programming time, money and allows for creative input idea expansion at a stage when input can be helpful.
*Key frames are shots that show plot points or turning points and flow and direction of the story.
What is the purpose of storyboard frames (a/k/a cell or panel)
Of course, to visualize the story and action of your script! To start, first make a list of the shots you need to show when:
- Introducing a character or location
- Characters and action
- Change of character
- Change of location or time of day
- Condense time
- Major plot points of story that grab attention
- Emotional highlights
- Caption of frame can hold camera notes, visual effect notes, sound notes along with key dialogue.
How to storyboard a frame
Next, after determining what elements (characters, props, locations) are in each frame, decide the best shot type to communicate the emotion: Long Shot, Medium Shot, Close Up, POV. For more information about shots read this article
When using storyboard software to create storyboards, placement, re-positioning, resizing, reordering is much quicker than drawing by hand on paper.
Similarly, if you want to more information about how to create shots that make better video, read this article on creating powerful opening shots
So grab a pencil -if you can draw- and use one of our Free Storyboard Templates.
But, if you can’t draw, or simply want to storyboard fast and efficiently shooting boards, Storyboard Quick is the app to use to start. With the built-in storyboard artwork and built-in choices of professional storyboard template layouts included, you will quickly be able to communicate your story idea in style.