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Storyboards for Video: A Behind the Scenes Look

This shot started as just an idea.

Every video starts with an idea.  Pen is put to paper and the idea becomes script. But that’s just the end of the beginning. Ideas on a page have the distinct disadvantage of being unclear. If I write the word “chair”, you likely envision an entirely different chair than someone else. For this reason, storyboards can be essential in planning a video shoot where the look and feel is important. With a clear storyboard the client and production team can agree on what needs to be shown and then plan how to go about it. Let’s take a look at a real world example of how storyboards can help shape results.

The Background

For a recent project a client wanted us to create a dramatic, short introduction video of a new technology and a key person involved. The idea was that this person would be riding this technological marvel. We suggested building a shot sequence that could ramp up intensity. The next question was ‘what exactly should those shots be’?

The Process

We quickly sketched up some (admittedly ugly) sketches that could give a us all an initial sense of what they could be, which are these beauties below.

rough storyboard draft for video

After we worked through which shots would actually make sense, we gave them an initial makeover with an professional artist, who created this storyboard, which is not only prettier, but more clear.

promote_film_pr04.pages

The next step was to add some descriptions and movement arrows to explain what would be happening in each shot.

promote_film_pr04.pages

A further evolution of the storyboards was done to get something client-worthy. This is important because clients need to know what they should expect to end up with. Plus, you need to show that you care!

storyboards for video production

With storyboards approved, we went into production. Working with the production crew, we were able to show them exactly what we had in mind. Every plan evolves but storyboards are a road map and give you confidence that time wont be wasted interpreting the vision.

The Results

Take a look at some of the final shots and compare to the storyboards above, I’ll bet you can basically tell which shots below match to the frames in each storyboard!

hoverboard finalhoverboard final video production oaklandhoverboard final video production silicon valley

Summary

You don’t need to be a professional artist for storyboards to be very helpful, yes, even stick figures work fine - at first. As things get more specific it does become more helpful if you can show what happens in detail so a lot of imagination isn’t required to get it. And free is good: you can find lots of free storyboard templates online. I hope this insight helps you plan out your videos to be more successful.

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