User Guide > Introduction > About Storyboarding

About Storyboarding

Storyboarding is one of the most crucial steps in any production. It is when you plan and build your scenes in accordance with the script, actions, and limitations. The storyboard is like the blueprint of your production.

How to Prepare for Storyboarding
Storyboard Basics - Recommended Steps

How to Prepare for Storyboarding

Planning ahead can save you time and effort. While storyboarding will save you considerable time during production, some additional planning of your storyboard project will further streamline your workflow.

Including storyboarding in your project planning will allow you to meet a number of production goals, such as:

Providing a common visual road map to which a team can refer
Reducing overall production time
Reducing the likelihood that production resources are not used on scenes that will eventually be deleted

Using the same logic, taking steps to plan how you will storyboard also eases this early part of production.

Before you begin storyboarding, consider the factors that will affect your storyboard project and your final production.

The Script
The Structure
The Delivery

The Script

Create a complete or well-developed script. The more complete your screenplay is, the easier your ideas will be to storyboard. Storyboarding is also beneficial for completing a script that is in the last stages of development, as it can often help to resolve remaining storytelling issues. For example, storyboarding can highlight the need for modifications to transitions between scenes, or for scenes you did not realize were missing, but need to be inserted to enhance the flow of action.

The Structure

Consult your script, try to visualize it as a series of scenes, and decide which ones can be placed into panels in your future storyboard. You still do not need to draw anything at this point; you just want to assess if there is a smooth, logical visual flow to the story, and get an idea of the type of scenes that will work in your production.

Breaking down your script into smaller components produces a more manageable structure to work with.

The Delivery

How will your final production be broadcast? Is it designed for television, HDTV, or widescreen film? Will it be watched on an iPad, tablet, or mobile device? All of these factors determine the aspect ratio of the final production. The size and dimensions of your production will determine the level of detail and how your scenes are composed.

Assume the viewer’s role for a moment, and try to determine how your project will be best viewed in its final medium.

Storyboard Basics - Recommended Steps

There are three recommended steps when preparing your storyboard project:

Script Analysis and Breakdown
Scene Evaluation
Creating Scene Lists

Following these steps will help you develop a clear vision of how you want your production to look, feel, and flow. Anyone viewing your storyboard should be able to follow its story in a clear, logical manner by looking at the visual and textual information.

Script Analysis and Breakdown

Break down your script into a series of scenes. The action in a panel is usually composed of the action, dialogue, and effects that occur between a camera being turned on until it is turned off. Typically, a scene can be expressed in a single panel, but more elaborate or complex scenes may require multiple panels.

Before beginning your storyboard, you should analyse your script to find out if it is possible to produce a storyboard using the current structure. You will already have an idea of some of the scenes you will want to use based on the script, structure, and delivery requirements.

Taking into consideration these factors early on will make this step even easier and more productive. Using the information from your analysis, determine the scenes that you will require for the production. At this stage, you may not necessarily have information on every detail of the scene, like the camera angle, composition, lighting or type of scene, but if you have some of this information, you can include it. What is more important is the development of the sequence of the scenes. Create a unique panel or write notes for each scene that you intend to use in your production.

Dividing your script into smaller parts will make the job of determining scenes easier.

Scene Evaluation

Determine the important elements of each scene.

The elements you need to determine are:

Camera angles and movements
The direction of movement of objects within a scene
The mood you want to create

Now that you have broken down your script into separate scenes and have laid out the sequence of scenes in separate storyboard panels, you are ready to determine the most effective scene to use in each panel to convey the type of story you are trying to tell. Your storyboard panel should convey the most important aspects of the scene and you should create each scene to maximize its intended impact. You will need to make a number of decisions, independently or with a partner or team.

Some of the issues to determine are:

Which characters are in the scene and their position
Which props are in the scene and their position
Whether or not you need to include certain elements to maintain continuity between other scenes
How objects and characters move during the scene
Where the camera is positioned and expected changes in camera movement during the scene
What type of lighting is required for the scene
What type of special effects may be required for the scene
How accompanying dialogue or narration will be integrated into the scene

Creating Scene Lists

Create an itemized list of each scene used in key sequences or your entire story. With a clearer idea of the sequence and composition of your scenes, you can plan how much you want to storyboard. You can storyboard your entire production. Alternatively, you can storyboard scenes that are pivotal to the emotional impact of the story or that may require a more complex setup. Create a scene list for your production, which, for each scene, details the important elements you worked out during your evaluation of the scenes. You should include the scene’s type and angle, camera effects, lighting, and accompanying dialogue. Entries in the scene list can then be used to complete storyboard panels. These provide you with a guideline to create an informative visual narrative for your production.