What Is Storyboarding? (With Importance and How-to Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Planning is important when creating a video for a company, whether it's an instructional, advertising, sales, company culture or any other short online business video. Creating a storyboard, which can visually guide you in the production process, is an important aspect of planning your video. Learning how to develop storyboards might be beneficial if you work in a field that requires the design and generation of videos. In this article, we define storyboarding, explain its importance, outline the steps you can take to create a practical storyboard and give tips for making one.

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What is storyboarding?

Storyboarding is the practice of using a storyboard to create a visual representation of a narrative, concept or screenplay. It's a set of organised drawings containing camera direction, dialogue or other essential information that shows how a video can unfold, shot by shot. Before beginning the production process, producers utilise this tool to plan their material or edit a story by splitting it into consecutive panels. A storyboard includes the following aspects that are important when creating a video plan:

  • Shot: A shot or scene is a continuous sequence of actions that generally consists of a succession of frames. It might include live-action scenes or hand-drawn stick figures.

  • Sequence: A sequence is a collection of shots or scenes. It depicts the pattern or series in which certain events in a narrative or video occur.

  • Panel: A storyboard panel is a simple box that contains images of the activities and characters. It includes drawings that outline the arrangement and movement of each shot.

  • Description: The description panel contains information about the sequence of events. It enables storyboard artists or producers to provide more information about a scene, such as directions on how to capture alternative shots.

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Why is it important to create a storyboard?

Creating a storyboard is an important part of video production because it helps to transfer ideas from words to visuals, which can assist the production crew in determining the setting and action for shooting. As a storyboard artist, you can assist scriptwriters in creating a visual representation of their screenplays, which the director and actors can use to understand the movements and context of a scene. Producing an excellent storyboard can facilitate a better understanding among team members of how to present a screenplay to an audience. This can hasten the production process and help you avoid recording unnecessary scenes.

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How to create a storyboard

If you want to learn how to create storyboards, use the following steps as a guide:

1. Fully understand the script

If you're part of a production team, you might collaborate with authors who wrote the screenplay from which you're going to develop a storyboard. Before you begin drawing, read the script extensively to ensure that you interpret the material accurately and comprehend the writer's intended visuals and action in various scenes. This can give you a more precise visualisation of the plot and save you from making repeated storyboard edits.

It's also important to engage with authors to better understand the emotions they're attempting to communicate in certain scenes. You may also change the script as you draw the scenes since you might discover moments that require more action or consistency.

2. Select your medium

Traditional paper and modern software are two popular mediums for producing storyboards. You can experiment with both types to see which one you prefer. Consider the project your storyboard is for when deciding on a medium since feature films or animation productions may demand more graphics and edits, which can be time-consuming to produce on paper. Acquiring expertise in the usage of both might be beneficial since specific production teams might prefer to work with one medium over the other.

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3. Sketch the essential elements of each scene

Consider the specific theme for each scene before beginning to develop a storyboard. Think about how a particular camera position communicates the story, what it says about the character and how it might add drama to a scene. Consider each scene's staging, movement and emotion and make a rough sketch. Include the most important details so that somebody who hasn't read the screenplay can comprehend what's going on by glancing at your storyboard.

Include as much information as possible without obscuring the important data. Storyboards are preliminary sketches that show how scenes flow and help set the tone for the final production. The goal of storyboarding isn't to generate attractive graphics, so when creating a scene, it's acceptable to use basic shapes as long as you make it easy for the viewer to recognise each object.

4. Incorporate character and camera movement

Although a storyboard is a static graphic, the final output is a video or an animation. For this reason, it's essential to show motion in your storyboard. Consider the characters' mobility and camera angles for shooting when you're designing a scene.

You can use arrows or directional lines to represent the camera's perspective and illustrate the direction in which a person is walking or moving. Using motion indicators can assist a production crew in determining which camera angles to employ. You can also indicate movement speed by adding extra arrows to show, for example, when a character is sprinting.

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5. Review and edit your storyboard

Review and edit your sketches before submitting them as the last step in producing your storyboard. You can evaluate the storyboard and make revisions or seek input from another production team member. It's important that your storyboard serves as a helpful guide with straightforward directions for a team to follow. As it enables you to easily remove, add and modify drawings, digital storyboarding software may simplify the editing process.

Tips for creating a storyboard

The following tips may assist you in creating more interesting and practical storyboards:

Consider the story's continuity

Consider the narrative or plot when creating your storyboard and ensure your drawings retain consistency from one scene to the next. This means that when a viewer sees the scenes in sequence, they make sense and the storyboard tells a cohesive tale. To guarantee consistency, you may reorganise scenes or make modifications to drawings.

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Consider the mood

As you create each scene, consider its tone and use your drawings to define the atmosphere for the final production. This atmosphere might be tense, happy or sorrowful. You might employ lighting, colouring and camera angles to capture the mood in your storyboard. You can also convey the mood of a situation using the characters' emotions and body language.

Consider incorporating colour

Colour may assist in conveying the tone of each scene and make it simpler for your team to comprehend what you're attempting to say. For example, a scene set at night can have blue hues, while a cheerful scene can have bright colours. This kind of detail can help you establish the tone and mood for each scene.

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Keep your illustrations basic

It's not necessary for your storyboard to be artistic. Instead, it's important that it be comprehensible and that it communicates helpful information. This means you can make your designs basic and easy to understand. Sketch each scene using simple shapes and lines, and don't worry about making your drawings flawless. The idea is to provide a guide for your team rather than a piece of art.

Use different shots and camera angles

Directors use storyboards to anticipate how each shot might appear in their production, so strive to incorporate a range of shots and camera angles in your sketches. Planning shots and camera angles can also assist directors in understanding character movement and achieving visual variety in their production. It's also a good idea to include a range of shots in your storyboard so you can choose the best ones for your video.

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Recognise the aspect ratio

In movie and television production, the aspect ratio is the ratio of an image's width to its height. Understanding aspect ratios can assist you in creating more realistic storyboard drawings that represent how the end result may look. Knowing the aspect ratio is also useful when planning shots and angles since it might affect the composition of your sketches.

Keep your explanations simple

The value of a visual guide is that it gives viewers a better understanding of a project without having to read all the background information and research the characters. Try to only include explanations in your drawings when necessary, and let your team interpret the sketches independently. This can assist them in producing a unique adaptation of the storyline and developing fresh ideas for the production of the video.

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