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The Coey Communicator

Yes BC Storyboarding Handout


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 a Storyboard?


Script – the written text used in production or performance

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

Some considerations:


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)

Create storyboard

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.


Assign Roles:


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 the subject.
: A transition between two shots, where one shot fades away and simultaneously another shot fades in.
: 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.
:  A camera angle which looks down on its subject making it look small, weak or unimportant.
: 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.
:  A camera angle which is even with the subject; it may be used as a neutral shot.
:  A long range of distance between the camera and the subject, often providing a broader range of the setting.
:  A camera angle which looks up at its subject; it makes the subject seem important and powerful.
:  A steady, sweeping movement from one point in a scene to another.
(point of view shot): A shot which is understood to be seen from the point of view of a character within the scene.
- 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.
:  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 throughout production

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 shotsyour 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 headachesavoid 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.

Overproductionstay 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)






Storyboard notes:

 Audio (the script or music)