5 Crucial Aspects of Video Storyboarding

When you read our blog, you’ll notice we repeatedly mention storyboarding as a critical element to a successful video. The process can be as complex or simple as you like in terms of presentation, but there are some things that cannot be overlooked in this step of the production process. Here are five characteristics of effective storyboarding:

1) Clarity

Storyboarding ensures you and the production company agree on all of the elements of your video

Storyboarding ensures you and the production company agree on all of the elements of your video

The storyboard is presented in timeline fashion, starting with the very first things the viewer will see and hear and ending with the very last thing. While storyboarding is used in a lot of industries, it may seem overwhelming at first if you’re not used to it. The thing to remember as a client is, the storyboard should make you go: “Aha!” instead of “Oh no!”

Each portion of the storyboard should give you a very clear idea of what you’ll be seeing and hearing at every stage of the video. Sometimes there will be illustrations with the storyboard (very helpful when certain camera angles or backgrounds are called for, to ensure the client knows what’s going to be seen in that shot), other times it will just be a verbal description. Either way, the end result should be a clear understanding of how the video will unfold. If you don’t understand how your video will look after reviewing the storyboard, you need to ask questions. This is your opportunity to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for before production begins.

2) Flexibility

A storyboard doesn’t have to be a static presentation, such as a series of scenes sketched out on a single sheet of paper. One of the most effective ways of storyboarding is to have every major shot described on a small piece of paper, with the papers tacked up in order on a bulletin board. This way you can shuffle, delete, and insert the papers however you like until you’re satisfied with the final presentation. This is especially important for you, the client, because it allows tweaks to individual elements without requiring the entire storyboard be changed.

The storyboard is an evolving entity, and it can still evolve after the shoot starts. Depending on the complexity of the project, you may find a new approach to some portions will feel more natural after you see how everything is starting to fall into place. If you’re heavily involved with the production process, you can ask the production company to use different colors of paper or find some other clear way to highlight any changes to the storyboard so that you’ll be able to give extra attention to those elements.

3) Clear Delineations

Many videos are created in steps, whether over a single day or multiple days of shoots. A good storyboard will help everyone involved identify each step so they can meet expectations for that particular portion of the shoot. When does the camera start shooting, and when does it stop, in each step? This is important to a lot of key players including on-air talent, especially if scenes are being shot out of sequence. Of course since you’re paying for the video, you automatically get “key player” status. Even if you’re not appearing in every scene, or even any scene, it’s important for you to have a sense of ownership in the process.

4) Participation

Following up on the previous point, the storyboard process allows you to take as much ownership of the project as you like. It’s not just about fixing errors, but making enhancements. Perhaps, when you see the storyboard for the first time, inspiration will strike and you’ll see that a scene could be presented in a more effective way than either you or the production company envisioned. Or, after getting a sense of how the project is playing out, and maybe getting a chance to see some of the scenes that have already been recorded, you get a better sense of how the things depicted on paper are being translated into actuality on the video. You may decide to change things for a presentation that’s more in line with what you want. While it can be tricky doing this in mid-production, it’s far better to catch these things at this point than to have the entire project complete and realize it’s less than you hoped to get.

5) Accountability

Finally, storyboarding gives you the opportunity to hold a production company accountable. If the final product is missing key elements or produced in a way that differs from the storyboard presentation, then the production company has some explaining to do. If they didn’t alert you to changes they made, whether necessary or not, you have a right to go back to the storyboard and say: “This is what we agreed to do.” By the same token, if you just gave a cursory glance to the storyboard and signed off on it, you have a lot less leeway for making complaints if the final product isn’t what you envisioned. Accountability goes both ways. Remember, storyboarding is included in the pre-production stage when you can refine, refine, and refine some more, until you’re satisfied with how the plan is shaping up.

While it may sometimes be confusing if you’re not used to the process, you’ll find that storyboarding protects your interests and the final product. At Hencar we take pride in ensuring that everyone is satisfied with the plan before we put it into action.