Storyboarding for video production

It’s Storyboarding time

Storyboarding is an important part of pre-production planning. It’s a visual representation of a video using a series of sketches made prior to filming.

What’s the point?

The aim is to show what the video will look like once shot. From looking at the sketches, you will be able to see how the video or animation will unfold. They are also a great tool to make sure you, the client, and the production company are on the same page. Make sure you spend time with your production company to look through the storyboards to create that shared understanding of the video. You can also start to think about other film elements like lighting, camera, and locations.


What does a good storyboard look like?

There are a few elements which make for a good storyboard. Each frame (sketch) needs to be clearly labelled so you’re able to see where it fits within the rest of the video. This can be shown by including details like scene numbers or corresponding script page numbers.

The sketch itself needs to be easy to understand. Don’t over complicate things by going into too much detail if it isn’t needed. Where necessary, use arrows to show movement. This could be camera movement or character movement.

Make it clear how you get from one sketch to the other. They aren’t meant to be a bunch of individual images. They are a series of shots which join together to create a moving image. So make sure you know how to get from one shot, or one sketch, to another.

To help you create effective storyboards, use online resources. We recommend Celtx which offer a number of helpful pre-production tools.

Hand drawn storyboard

Yes, you can use stick figures

Storyboards don’t need to be great works of art. Yes, they are an important step in making your video, but they’re not what people will be seeing as the final product. Keep your sketches neat, easy to understand, and only include information (visual or written) that’s necessary. If you can only string together a few stick figures, as long as what you are trying to show is clear, that’s all that matters.

Man with storyboard

How to setup a storyboard for the shot list

Storyboards and shot lists go hand in hand. To make sure your shoot runs smoothly, they need to work together. Try to match up the two documents. Each shot in your shot list should have a corresponding frame (sketch) in the storyboards. For more complex camera movements and blocking, more than one frame may be needed to visually show the idea. In this case, be sure to clearly label each frame.

Storyboard and camera

Next Steps

Storyboarding is an important part of video pre-production. Continue reading for information on Location Scouting… And to return to the main menu, click here.