How to make a storyboard for a video

Before going into the details, let's learn the ropes first. Storyboarding meaning is a visual outline for your future clip, film, or recording. It doesn't mean a classical script is redundant, as these two pre-production documents have different purposes.

While the script describes the action in detail, a video storyboard illustrates it. In a nutshell, it's a set of subsequent frames or drawings, kind of key plot events, the story milestones.

A ready storyboard resembles a comic strip. In the majority of cases, the sketches are no pieces of art, though, but just rough scamps.

Storyboard definition

Making a storyboard may take some time, but the profits are undeniable: you gather your thoughts and have a distinct plan for production. Here are some basic steps to follow.

  1. Decide on the storyboard type

    First, decide whether to draw your storyboard manually or use a special program with ready templates. The second option is more convenient, but such software may be costly and not user-friendly.

  2. Plan your video

    Set your goals, and think of what message you want to convey through your project. The key idea influences the choice of the platform where you'll post the final version, hence, the video's specifications, such as aspect ratio. It's important that you draw frames in the storyboard as they will look in the actual recording.

    At this point, you should also define the key moments of the video.

  3. Draw a first draft

    Remember, you shouldn't spend days and weeks on it, just a rough sketch is enough. Visualize key characters, their locations, props, back- and foreground details. Make the frames recognizable, but don't add too many unnecessary details. Keep them compact and clear.

    Storyboard drawing
  4. Add comments and details

    Now it's time to add some comments below each frame. They may be technical notes, characters' dialogues, or extra information about a frame.

    It's a good idea to describe the camera movements and illustrate your vision to the cameramen. Mark where there should be a zoom or a tilt, for example.

  5. Ask for a review

    The storyboarding process is not over yet! Let other parties involved in the video production have a look at your storyboard and get feedback from them. Make sure everything is clear, and there are no ambiguous moments.

    That's the best time for your team to revise the whole project based on this visualization and change it before the shooting starts. Later all the amendments will be much more expensive and time-consuming.

    When you all find the common solution, you can start shooting and editing your project!

Tips and hints

Creating a storyboard may seem excessive and just a waste of time. Quite the opposite, done properly, it will save you time and money in the production and post-production stages. Just follow a couple of hints.

  • Perfection is not an aim. Even if your sketch looks like a five-year-old's art, it doesn't matter. Most importantly, it gives the idea of your project and all the essential details.
  • Draw with a pencil! No need to explain why.
  • Use arrows and other signs. Motion is not seen in the still picture.
  • Start with a script and create a storyboard next, not vice versa.

Hope this helped! Now it's time to get creative!