How To Create A Storyboard For Your Next Video

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Pre-production is a significant step in the video and animation making process, but it is often overlooked. Using a storyboard should never be ignored because it creates the blueprint for how you will go about shooting and editing your project. 


After you have written a script for your video, the next step is to make a storyboard. A storyboard mostly takes what you have written in your script and gives it a visual representation for the first time. A storyboard reads a lot like a comic strip in that it is a series of empty blocks filled with drawings that tell your story. Each block should include two or three lines for writing a description. These descriptions are just as important as the image drawn above it to help keep the production organized. Below is an initial sample concept for Rhode Island Blood Center's platelet campaign.

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These descriptions are essential because the image above it only represents the beginning of an individual shot; a shot is an individual visual element in a video. In other words, it is the visual moment captured between the time you press "record" and when you press it again to stop recording. 

Basic film editing jargon:

  • Shot: is a series of frames that run uninterrupted for a period of time. You can describe shots by the angle of the camera (aerial, low angle, behind the shoulder, point of view, etc.)
  • Cut: is how different shots link together. An example of a cut could be dissolving from one shot to another or an invisible cut that joins two similar frames together seamlessly. 
  • Scene: a set of thematically linked shots and cuts.  

There are exceptions to every rule, but a good way to establish different scenes is by looking at the location it is taking place. Most scenes take place in one location. When drawing a storyboard you are only drawing the beginning of a shot, or what the moment looks like when you press "record." This is where the descriptions become important; you can explain how the camera moves during the shot, how long the shot may last, and what the characters will physically be doing. 

As a reminder, include audio and movement in your descriptions. Is there dialogue? If there is a voice-over, signify this by writing "V.O." If there are graphics, be sure to either draw them into the block where you want them or write it beneath the image. Is there action? Follow what you have written in your script; if you need to show action in the drawing, you can draw arrows to show movement. You can also describe the action in the description. Any technical camera movements would also be written here. The trick is to keep all these descriptions brief. 

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If you know what aspect ratio you are filming in, a good trick is to measure the boxes to the same ratio so you can see how it will visually fill the frame. Be sure to number the boxes. Numbered boxes will keep your storyboard organized, and will allow you to shuffle the scenes around to experiment with narrative. Sometimes, a storyboard will show you a weakness in your story line. If you find that something just isn't working visually between shots or scenes, you can shuffle the storyboard around and discover new possibilities in the flow of the story.  

Storyboards are important starting points when it comes to creating your next video because they offer you the first real glimpse into how your film will look. They give you a blueprint of how to film on set, and how to edit the final cut. You don't have to follow a storyboard precisely once you get into production, but it will help guide you into making the right decisions while you are in production and post-production. 

To see the full platelet animation, click here

Inventive Marketing and Communications can help you develop your marketing video strategy, Download our free storyboard template to help you get started

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