What is a Storyboard?
Storyboards visually depict and describe what
will take place in your video, scene by scene. It is like a picture script for the production of your video.
The earliest storyboards date from the cartoon
and animation industry of the 1920s, including the talented artists at Walt Disney's original California studio.
A storyboard helps you organize and bring focus
to how you will tell your story. They are meant to inspire and not confine –
they are both a starting point and used as a guide throughout the process.
Storyboards need to be constructed as part of
good planning to show what you and/or your team has agreed will take place in each shot. Storyboards number each shot, also
referred to as a "take," and also document camera angles, lighting, timing, and other details The video story will be told
shot by shot on paper as sketches to aid in communication of ideas before videotaping begins.
What is the difference between a Script and
Script – the written text used in production
Storyboard – a visual script or plan of
the camera shots that will tell your story
Why use storyboards?
1. provide a means for brainstorming ideas
2. help visualize what the finished product will look like before you shoot
3. help use time and resources to the best advantage
4. make it easier to plan how and what to edit for the final project – remember, it’s easier to
change the storyboard than to edit the videotape
5. cut down on editing time required
6. keep everyone on the same page during production
7. help avoid missed opportunities for camera shots that should have been taken
8. help ensure that your audience understands what you are trying to communicate to them
What do Storyboards look like?
Often, storyboards are drawn in pen or pencil. Keep in mind that your drawings don't have to be fancy! In fact, you want to spend
just a few minutes drawing each one. Use basic shapes, stick figures, and simple backgrounds. If you draw your storyboard
frames on index cards, you can rearrange them to move parts of the story around. Every
scene contained in the storyboard should contribute to the message and purpose of the video.
Getting Started on Your Video
1. Who is the audience? Who will you be “talking to” through the video?
2. What is the message? What is its purpose?
3. What method of delivery works best for presenting that message to that audience, eg what types of camera shots:
close-ups – used to show detail, expressions/emotions; medium-range – usually involve one or two people at fairly
close range; used to show interaction; Long-shots – used to set the scene and let the audience know where the action
is taking place; shooting from above – makes the person or object being filmed seem weak; shooting from below and looking
up – makes the person or object being filmed seem dominant; shooting from behind the person – makes the audience
view things as that person might view them.
4. Who will appear in each scene? Any special lighting or other techniques?
What transitions will work best between scenes? Should music or other sound effects be used?
Checklist/Tips to help you prepare for production
Get materials for storyboarding (flip chart paper works fine or start with recipe cards)
Get props and costumes
Secure equipment you need
Make sure the equipment works – remember batteries!
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Choose talented people
Assign people roles in the video (see suggestions below)
Scout out sites
Use a video camera tripod
BEFORE any videotaping, make sure media release forms are signed by parents (these
forms will be provided to you)
Watch short segments of television programs on the news or go on Youtube and determine
what you don’t like and like about the various video segments.
Recording Secretary – a very organized person who will keep track of ideas while
brainstorming, storyboarding and all things throughout production
Storyboard writer (s)– to create the outline
of the video
Script writer(s) – to create the dialogue
Producer (s) - gathers all equipment, props, scouts
sites and has everything ready for each scene
Script Prompters- people that write out the dialogue
on a script prompter (cardboard with dialogue written on it)
Acting coaches –help the actors rehearse their scenes
Videographer(s) – shoots the scenes
Actor(s), commentator (s) and voiceover persons –
the people and voices on your video
Video editor(s)- assembles the scenes on the computer
Foley editor (s) – creates and adds audio to
the final video
directs the scenes and supervises all aspects of the video
Some Video Language
BLACK: a second or two of “black” can help provide a distinct
break between scenes.
CLOSE-UP SHOT: A close range of distance between the camera and
DISSOVLE: A transition between two shots, where one
shot fades away and simultaneously another shot fades in.
FADE: A transition
from a shot to black where the image gradually becomes darker is a Fade Out; or from black where the image gradually becomes
brighter is a Fade In. Use videocamera for this or use video editing program.
CAMERA ANGLE: A camera angle which looks down on its subject making it look
small, weak or unimportant.
JUMP CUT: A rapid, jerky transition
from one frame to the next, either disrupting the flow of time or movement within a scene or making an abrupt transition from
one scene to another.
LEVEL CAMERA ANGLE: A camera angle
which is even with the subject; it may be used as a neutral shot.
LONG SHOT: A long range of distance between the camera and the subject, often providing a broader range of the
LOW CAMERA ANGLE: A camera angle which looks
up at its subject; it makes the subject seem important and powerful.
PAN: A steady, sweeping movement from one point in a scene to another.
POV (point of view shot): A shot which is understood to be seen from the point of view of a character within
REACTION SHOT- 1.: A shot of someone looking off screen.
2.: A reaction shot can also be a shot of someone in a conversation where they are not given a line of dialogue but are just
listening to the other person speak.
SIMPLE CUT: stop and restart the next scene where it is most convenient. Good for quick transitions:
TILT: Using a camera on a tripod, the camera moves up or down
to follow the action.
ZOOM: Use of the camera lens
to move closely towards the subject.
What are some common problems with videos?
Audio level too loud/soft on final product – check audio
Background noise - use mikes and minimize background noises. Be aware of your surroundings.
Video segment too long/Audio segment
too short - A well defined storyboard should prevent this from happening.
Lack of transitions - don't jump from
one idea to the next.
Lack of varying shots – your video will be short be still need to vary the shots.
Improper Pacing –fast transitions
to create excitement and slow pacing for creating a relaxed atmosphere.
Poor plan/inadequate storyboard –
don’t let this happen to you.
Poor use of editing time – with a good storyboard you will save time in the end
Editing headaches – avoid editing headaches by making sure you
have enough leading or trailing images to compensate between to scenes. To make things easier for your editing team, you might
want to also put about 5 seconds of black between each shot that you record.
Image shaking – use a tripod.
Overproduction – stay focused on your message.
Let’s Talk Science (2009) Science
with Impact: Strategies for Engaging Youth, Published by Let’s Talk Science, Laurentian University
Storyboarding Video Projects –
Success is in the Planning (2006) C-R-E-A-T-E for Mississippi (Challenging
Regional Educators to Advance Technology in Education)
Audio (the script or music)