Storyboarding Tips: How to Plan & Visualize Your Next Video

Storyboarding Tips: How to Plan & Visualize Your Next Video

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I want you to think of one of the best videos you’ve ever seen. It could be a full-length movie, an episode of a TV series, or even a commercial. Now, once you have one I want you to try to remember what the background looked like. Chances are that most of you won’t be able to, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important! Many hours of planning go into making any successful cinematic piece, and an integral part of that process is storyboarding.

This week, Stephen walks through the importance of storyboards and pre-planning for video production as well as provides some basic rules and tips for how to get started.

Pre-Production Planning: Storyboards as Blueprints

Storyboarding is a visual representation, using drawings and illustrations to map out the flow of your video. This should always be done before you film anything. This is your chance to create a blueprint, a solid plan that everyone on your development team can follow and agree on. This is also the chance to hash out details, specific shots, and get rid of any ideas that will end up being horrible on film. If you don’t do this first, any mistakes or changes to the continuity of the film have to be edited out. That will lower the quality of the film, possibly drastically, as well as make your editor your worst enemy. Do the storyboard first.

Don’t Worry About Being Artistic

If you’re worried that you don’t have a real artistic talent, don’t be. Big studios may be rich enough to hire professional illustrators for their storyboards, but it’s really not necessary. Outside of your production team no one needs to see the storyboards, so if you can draw a stick figure you can do this. If you can’t draw well enough to even outline the concept of your video, then you might want to just let someone else do it for you. There are also apps available that can help you complete your storyboard.

Visualize First!

As I said before, this is the time to hash out all of your ideas. The storyboard will change, probably drastically, as the process goes on. This is a good thing. You want to get a consensus on any possible changes before you start filming, or things will start to degrade really fast. You will not be pleased with the results if you try to make these changes later in the process.

Once you finally get a final draft completed, it should contain several components.  The following are ll fairly basic things that are always useful to include:

  • Technical details
  • Content
  • Verbal delivery
  • Set location
  • Time of day

Think of a storyboard as your grocery list/dinner plan for the film. Forgetting one ingredient can ruin the whole thing, and though it’s wise to have a backup plan, we both know it won’t be as good.

Question: Do you plan out and storyboard your videos in advance?

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Hey, I’m Stephen schweikhart with Vscreen where we make company videos and today we’re going to talk about pre-planning your video.

If you think of some of the best videos you’ve seen, whether it’s one of the Harry Potter series….or a kick ass superbowl commercial that was so entertaining and captivating you just HAD to watch it again… may not realize how much planning actually went into the concepts.  While I hate to admit that all 38 Harry Potter films and all 25 Twilight movies have been topping the charts—they did require some impressive forethought.  I’m referring to…..Storyboarding.


Every successful video, even if it’s only a 30 second commercial has a much more detailed shot list and vision hidden behind it.  A storyboard is a visual representation using drawings and illustrations to map out the flow of your video.  To make sure the kids sitting in the back of the class hear me—let me be clear:  you make a storyboard BEFORE you even film!!  It’s your blueprint.  Your map.  Your chance to weasel out all your crap ideas before you waste people’s time with an ill thought through marketing piece. 


Your storyboard doesn’t need to be a visual masterpiece worthy of awards, simply enough to convey the concept of who or what will be on camera, how and where each shot will be filmed, the order and feel of events, and so on.  If you’re capable of drawing a stick figure, you stand a chance.  If you can’t draw enough to even outline the concept of your video—well clearly you’re not creative and you might as well find someone else to do the whole bit for you.  Or, you can use one of the popular online apps to save your day.


Your storyboard will probably undergo many changes along the way as you and your entourage collaborate.   It’s better to make changes and revamp the concept in these planning stages than after filming has started.  That can result in an editing nightmare, sections being forgotten, continuity errors and more.  The final draft however, should clearly convey technical details, content (written and/or verbal delivery), details regarding set location, time of day, background appearance and more.  Your storyboard is the video world’s version your grocery shopping list and the dinner recipe combined.  Forget one item, leave out an ingredient, or don’t bake it long enough—and you’ve just thrown your money, time and dinner-slash video out the window.   In both cases you’re left scrounging for something to make do…and we both know…the back up plan is never Filet Mignon.


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