Storyboard from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Paramount Pictures, 1981, Lucasfilms.


This pre-production element lets you visualise the various shots of your production before recording it on video. The traditional storyboard involves drawings of key visual and audio information. Some contemporary storyboards are done as computer graphics and others use miniatures shot with consumer camcorders, which are then edited into complete scenes. The storyboard helps the producer and/or director troubleshoot a scene before going into production. 

The storyboard consists of numerous squares filled with drawings that depict wide, medium and tight shots, along with notes or directions about what is happening. In addition, some lines of dialogue might be included for a particular shot. As a pre-production element, storyboards are perhaps one of the most important tools at your disposal. They can help you troubleshoot key scenes to help others see your vision and to simply map out the story visually. The details in the storyboard help solve a number of complex issues to certain production requirements, such as the amount of cutaways, talent actions, set design and props that are used in the scene.

Storyboards are used widely in motion pictures and commercials, but also in documentaries and occasionally even a news reporter might draw a storyboard to help shoot a complex sequence, such as certain creative stand-ups. Many people often compare storyboards to comic books. But comics typically are more nuanced, showing key moments, and they can even be restricted to a certain page count. On the other hand, storyboards might include many more shots, or a specific shot count according to the director's needs.

Don't ignore the power of the storyboard. They ensure that you're not forgetting certain shots to help make the production process run smoother, saving you time and frustration. Editors can also use storyboards as a guide when they start piecing together the shots.

Check out the video below from the Vimeo Blog about Storyboarding Basics

Chapter 2 - Storyboarding from Carleton Torpin on Vimeo.

This How-To explains the gear that is needed to Storyboard your movie project.

To see these techniques utilized in-context, check out Surreality here on Vimeo: