The Importance of Storyboards

In the previous post we discussed how scriptwriting was important and how it transforms a story into a workable script. Along those lines, this post will deal with storyboards, what they are, how they are beneficial in the movie making process and how they will help you create a perfect video for you business.

In simple English, a storyboard is something that looks like a set of panels, sometimes hand drawn to show how the scene will play out. It will be drawn from the point of view of the audience, as in, the storyboard will emulate the way a scene will play out on screen. It will be drawn in panels that look like a comic strip. You can say that the storyboard will be a comic version of the script, but without most dialogues. It will show exactly how the video will unfold on screen, shot for shot. Sometimes, detailed storyboards will even have cuts, edits, and will actually show how the scene will progress. So if you go through the storyboard with the script in one hand, you will get a detailed idea of how the final product will come up. 

The storyboard is a device that was first used for cinema, for video, by Walt Disney in the 1920s. When presented with a scene that needs to be animated, his team would create rough mock ups of the frames that have to be animated, they acted as guides for the animators who used it as a point of reference. 

Why it is needed

While it seems to make sense for a large production like a feature film, it just seems all just a bit unnecessary for a quick 5 minute training video, or explainer video right? Not really. Here are a few reasons why it is better to have a storyboard for your video than not have it before going in for the shoot. 

•    Sharing ideas

If you have a certain vision regarding how the video should come out, an idea that you would like to see on screen, the script alone may not be enough. The storyboard will show you exactly how it will be shot, from the director's point of view. By that, the camera, lighting, angle, how each actor will enter and exit scene, and in some cases, where the other cameras will be placed and all such information will be on it. When you need changes to be made before the shoot, it can be done. Once the footage is shot, it may not be possible to make major changes unless you are open for a reshoot. 
Image credits - Flickr

•    Eases production

The crew that handles light and sound may not each be given a copy of the script. In most cases, that is unnecessary, but just by looking at the storyboard, it is possible for sound, lighting, and camera operating teams to set up and be ready for the shot. It removes any doubts for the crew on most things, keeping the production moving at a brisk pace. 

•    Saves time

Storyboard creation is part of pre-production. All of the scenes will have to be put together well before the shoot starts. Any changes that need be made can and should be made before shooting, all of this keeps the production on track. There are a number of film makers who swear by storyboards, Alfred Hitchcock, for example, believed in detailed storyboarding, this helped him wrap up when he intended to, right on schedule. 

•    Works as a pitch

A video for your business is going to cost some amount of money and you need to get the best value out of it. When deciding on a tone and style for the video, you can ask the production team for a storyboard of the proposed script and take a long, critical look at it. If satisfied with, you can go ahead with the rest of the project. Storyboards make for excellent pitch opportunities. 

How to create an effective storyboard?

There are many ways to go about creating a storyboard, but the most important thing to remember is that you are better off making one than not. Few people believe in making detailed storyboards, including all the environmental aspects, even specific lighting cues, facial expressions of the actors and  other props that need to be in the scene will be part of it. That is one way to do it and directors like Cohen brothers are known to do this. 

For an explainer video or a campaign video, you need not have so much detail, in fact, your video may not have that many scenes to begin with, so you can take it easy with the detail and make it a bit more simple. A storyboard can simply have stick figures entering and exiting the frames. They are low tech, but they may be enough to give you a general idea of it is going to work before getting down to it. 

If your director is a capable person, they may create the storyboards on their own, which can be a good thing. In some cases, they may not be able to bring out what they want in the form of visual artwork on paper. In such cases, you might want to think getting the help of professional storyboard artists. An effective storyboard should require minimal explanation, it should be readily apparent as soon as it is seen.