From movies like Inception to Pacific Rim, storyboard has been used in many well-known movies. It is a method that is used to visualize ideas, before creating a video. While it is alright to start recording without a storyboard, it may not always be a smart choice. The thing about storyboards is it is like a crystal ball for your next video process. It gives you a glimpse into what the video you are planning will look like in the future.
What is a storyboard?
A storyboard is a sequential visual depiction of what your video scene would look like. It contains the shot by the shot depiction of the video in sequence. It contains the sequence of what each frame would look like in front of the camera. Storyboards also contain notes regarding each scene. As we said earlier it is an essential planning tool used by videographers, moviemakers, and content creators.
As you can see below, this storyboard is taken from the movie Transformers, it depicts a confrontation scene. Without it, the shooting and the execution of the scene would be really hard. Storyboard is not only an essential part of film making, it helps with video making of all types – may it be ads,or product videos.
Why is storyboard important?
Some may think ” Ah storyboard! Just a bunch of comic looking images!”. Why is it so important to not skip this process while making videos? Here are a few of the reasons that will show you why storyboards are a crucial step in creating videos, and therefore indispensable.
Not everyone has an overactive brain, that they will be able to remember which scene follows the other. The main motive of storyboards is to visualize the scene running in your mind, and putting it to paper.
Let us give you an example, have you read Macbeth? If not then in a nutshell – Macbeth is told by the three witches that he will be the king, so his blind ambition rises to the surface, and he and his wife kill the ruling king, and both die of guilt.
Imagine, being Shakespeare, and writing Macbeth, If the “Witch Scene / the Prophecy” scene did not occur in the start, but somewhere in the middle, it would not have the same effect on the drama. Macbeth would not kill, where would the lay be?
Each frame in the storyboard is like a scene in a drama, it must follow a sequence and should contribute towards progression. Some videos are harder to visualize than the others, Animation movies require a storyboard. Take for example this scene in Harry Potter.
Working on a story scene by scene will let you know how the story will progress. Sometimes a thing that seems coherent in your mind, may not make sense of paper. Storyboard get rids of all the inconsistencies, and creates a seamless progression of events. That is why it is necessary to use story board, in the pre-production phase.
While big budget movies like the Pacific Rim, Transformers and Harry Potter may not need any backers, new video makers need to pitch their ideas to many. If you are a video marketer, then you know how many times you need to pitch in an idea before it gets accepted. A storyboard is to make sure that your ideas are properly represented. It is like a draft you submit.
Sometimes creating a storyboard is not a one man’s job. Mostly it takes a team to ideate the scenes. It may involve the script writer, a graphic designer, the camera person, the producer, the director and many more people. A storyboard is the prototype of your video, so the entire creative team must be on board for it. So, the reason you need a storyboard is to bring everyone together, while making the video.
Budget and Expenses
The greatest upside of having a storyboard for your videos that you will get an idea about your budget. Where to start? Where to shoot? What you need? A storyboard contains everything you would need in a scene. So drawing up a tentative budget for the video becomes easy. That is why even big movie franchises like Harry Potter use storyboards to get things done.
Now that we know why people use storyboards, it is time we start using it as well. But where to get started?
What are the steps needed to create a storyboard?
1. Video Script
Video script is the breakdown of the story. Before you get into drawing images, and hiring people, you need to focus on “What story you are telling?”. The focus is on the story. The script may be one thing, but in video making you have got the screenplay as well.
- So, break down your story into scenes.
- Where do they happen ( the background)
- What characters are involved?
- What are the props needed? etc.
The first step is to prepare a rough draft of your story, it does not matter whether you are making a movie or a product video for your company. Script is the holy grail!
2. Decide on Frames
Decide on the aspect ratio of the frames before you get into sketching the scenes. Does not matter if you are just a beginner, you know what a storyboard is. You have seen a fair share of it And all of them involved frames. But how to choose the right aspect ratio for your storyboard.
These basics can help you out – For online video or TV use 16:9, for good film dramas and comedies use 1:85:1, and for square videos for Instagram and Facebook use 1:1. Aspect ratios determine the size of the frame you will be using in your storyboard.
3. Draw it or Scamp it
All the above examples of storyboards, are a work of art. But not all of us are Picassos and Da Vincis, so here is what you can do. If you are in fact a gifted artist, then you can start to make a storyboard by drawing it on a piece of paper. That is the old school way, you can grab a piece of paper and get started. But if you aren’t an artist, then you can hire a professional to do the job for you.
However, not all of us can afford a professional. In the worst case scenario, you can draw stick figures, in the frames, that will be a rough portrayal of characters. It is called scamping. When directors do not know how to draw nicely, then they use the storyboard as a rough sketch. Here are some tips to keep in mind while drawing a video storyboard-
- Focus on the hero of the frame – it may be an actor, or an object.
- Do not waste time on unnecessary details, like drawing a truck in the background. It is just a colossal waste of time.
- You can use cut outs to save you the time of drawing.
Sometimes background of the storyboard may require more attention, like the storyboard template of the movie Birdman. But keep in mind, not every frame needs an elaborate background. Spend time wisely, on what matters most.
Storyboarding process is all about bringing everything together. The things you draw on the storyboard will bring together a story. Be it be stick figures, or cut outs, keep drawing your idea into the board.
4. Add notes
The goal behind making storyboards is to liven up the images inside your head. Every frame in the storyboard needs notes, after you make a storyboard, you can add notes and details at the end of it. You can add it in footnotes, or make a small section in the frame for it. These details will actually give motion, and life to the scenes, so never forget to add notes. It can be arrows, camera movement, anything that gives an idea about what the scene is about.
5. Number it
In the end, when you are done with the drawing and notes, number all the slides. That way is identifying shots or scenes becomes much easier. There are different ways of storyboarding, you can do it on paper, cardboard, or even on software. Those who are professionals use software for storyboarding, as it makes editing it easier. On paper you may have to completely redo it.
What you need
When it comes to implementing the storyboard, then you need to make a list of things – the assets. Where are you shooting the scene? Who are the actors? What are the props needed? Do you need any permits? What is the costume? What equipment do you need to shoot? As yourself these questions, and mention it in the storyboard. As we said earlier, storyboard is a holy grail – it must contain every essential piece of information about your video.
Storyboarding for short videos, like ads, marketing videos or product tutorials makes more sense. If you plan on making a video for your brand, you do not need to go full scale artist. You can only focus on the key moments of the video, and what message you want the video to send across.
When all is done, the storyboard is ready, you share it with everyone on your team. The video production team must have an idea about what they have to create. From your cinematographer to your designer, everyone must have a copy of it.
That is why it is practical to make it on a software so you can share copies. Storyboards are not just planning tools for your video projects they are also communication tools. It communicates your vision to the entire team, and they work to bring it to life.
Famous Movie Storyboards
Here we have shared some storyboards from famous movie to inspire you to use storyboards –
Inception has always been an iconic movie by Nolan for its utter mind boggling brilliance. The movie starts with this spinning, and at the end of it we wonder whether it will stop spinning. The storyboard for this scene contains directions on where the camera should zoom in, and how the scene should unfold.
Superman has, and always been a favourite of many. This movie also used the storyboarding method before shooting, or creating the scenes. You can see in the storyboard how superman has to swoop in and use his heat vision. It is a great scene, but without the notes on the right, the cameraman couldn’t do his job properly.See why storyboard is important?
Another hero who is a huge fan favourite is Spiderman. In this memorable scene spiderman fights Dr.Octopus. The storyboard shows each scene that the camera is going to focus on during the fight. From the train to the people. The visualization of everything is made perfect before shooting it. Even the “bam!”.
Pacific Rim movie is a treat for all the sci-fi fans. Anyone who loves Jurassic Park or end of the world movies, Pacific Rim is a must watch for them. In this movie most of the stuff was green screened. Charlie Hunnam and Idris Alba make this movie memorable. The jaegar robots fight Kaiju ( the alien creatures), who threaten to take over the earth.
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