Creating A Storyboard

What is a storyboard?

Storyboards are a representation of your video, illustrated frame by frame with the accompanied description and script. Think of it like a formalized comic that visualizes the final product of your commercial or film piece! Here are some examples of two different storyboards with the final shots that became of them:

Story boards can be basic…

Story boards can be basic…

Or more complex! It whatever makes planning easiest.

Or more complex! It whatever makes planning easiest.

It’s important to note that getting these shots this perfect would likely be impossible without a storyboard! They are extremely important tools for setting goals and expectations in filmmaking.

Why are they important?

Storyboards are fantastic starting point to the production process. Verbal and written communication can only describe so much in a visual medium such as film. Storyboards make sure we’re all visualizing every shot. More importantly, they are a quick way to confirm the story you’re trying to convey makes sense. No missed shots!

What else is included?
Anytime there is a change on screen, you can create a new panel illustration on your storyboard. It can be as detailed as you like. You can also include camera movements, framing directions and other notes to show movement on the still page. Let’s break it all down below.

Terms you can add to your descriptions:

CU = Close Up
This refers to a very close framing of a person or object in your storyboard

ECU = Extreme Close Up
EVEN CLOSER. You get it.

MS = Medium Shot
A medium shot is less close than a close up, but closer than a wide shot. It’s usually a shoulder up shot of your subject or actor, for example.

WS = Wide Shot
A wide shot is just that - a wide shot that establishes a building, landscape or setting like a building most of the time. It can also be called an establishing shot at the beginning of a scene or in a new setting.

Master Shot
Not to be confused with a wide shot or an establishing shot, a master shot is a way of telling your audience visually where the characters are in a setting. It’s a shot that includes all the characters involved, plus a bit of spacial information so that audiences can depict where everything is in their mind’s eye.

Arrows and movement in storyboards
Storyboards should be able succinct communication of your visual ideas. That’s why arrows are used to show any kind of movement that might be pertinent - they’re simple!

Use an arrow next to an actor or performer to show which way they’re moving (for example, a head turn or tilt). The same can be said about objects and props

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Arrows can also show where you want something to enter the frame

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Arrows on the top and bottom at the edge of your frame indicate which way the camera is moving. This is called a pan left or pan right respectively.

Arrows pointing in at all four corners of your frame indicates zooming in for as long as the take it. We call this a pan in. If this is happening to a still image you’ve embedded into your film, it’s called a ken burns effect. The same goes for if the arrows are pointing outwards (like below): pan out.

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Need help making a storyboard and planning a production?