How do I storyboard a video?

Answer: You Have Multiple Options

The purpose of storyboarding is to let everyone involved know how the video is supposed to unfold from beginning to end. So, keeping a logical order of progression that matches the order of events in the video is important. Beyond that, you have a lot of leeway.

People who are somewhat familiar with storyboarding may experience a moment of panic when they have to do it, because they assume it means they’ll have to draw pictures to illustrate the point. You may have a clear idea of what the video will look like, but if your artistic skills would make cave paintings look like they should be hanging in the Louvre, you may balk at trying your hand at storyboarding. Worry not.

PowerPoints & Keynotes

For example, you can use PowerPoint or Keynotes, making individual slides that represent key scenes of the video. You can even find pictures on the Internet to help illustrate each scene, perhaps choosing people who look close to the type you want to have in your video. If you or your staff are included in that list, it’s no problem to use the photos. However, to avoid possible complications with copyright issues, we strongly urge you to use royalty-free pictures if you need to present your storyboard in a corporate environment. If you hand out copies, you don’t know where they may end up, and it will not look good for you if people think you’re just ripping off any old picture from the Internet. You can pay low prices for access to some royalty-free pictures on sites like Shutterstock, and you can even find free pics that are cleared for commercial use on several sites. You can either show the Powerpoint/Keynotes as a presentation, and ensure everyone gets a copy so they have access to it, or you can export these presentations in PDF form to give people a hard copy.

Verbally

Pre ProductionIf a polished, artistic presentation isn’t required, you can do the storyboard verbally, using written descriptions to identify what will happen, what will be shown, and what will be said in key scenes. You can do these on separate sheets of paper, which you can either clip together in order to create packets for everyone involved, or post on a wall or bulletin board. The benefit of this method is that you can rearrange or replace the elements one at a time, without having to re-do the entire presentation. That also applies to the PowerPoint/Keynotes technique, since you can simply insert replacement slides and easily re-order slides by selecting and dragging them in the display menu.

If you absolutely must have a very polished storyboard and cannot draw so much as a straight line, we suggest you hire someone with artistic ability to help you. There are also some storyboarding software options available. A basic search for “storyboarding software” or “storyboarding program” should yield the results you need.

The most important thing to remember about storyboarding is that clarity is the top objective. Everyone should have a clear idea of what the finished video will look like so there are no surprises when the final product is unveiled.