Creating That (Almost) Perfect Video – Storyboarding

Recently at the college’s convocation we were treated to a very entertaining video from the health and wellness folks (take a look here, if you missed it). This got me thinking about this week’s topic: how does someone make a good video like that? Well, of course the actual filming (can we still call it that, when we don’t really use film?) is important. However, it is just a part of the whole process. Let’s take a step back, and start from the beginning. If you want a sharp video, you need to start with the planning, and that means storyboarding.

What is a storyboard? Well, a quick definition from the fine folks at is “Storyboards are visual organizers, typically a series of illustrations displayed in sequence for the purpose of previsualizing a video, web-based training, or interactive media sequence.”

I hear you asking, “Steve, I am just shooting a little something for my office (or class), why do I need to storyboard it out?” Well, would you build your dream house without blueprints? I hope not, and you shouldn’t begin taping (can we still call it that, when we don’t really use tape?) your video without a storyboard either. It’s really not that difficult, and you will thank yourself (and maybe me, who knows) later when you produce a magnificent masterpiece based off your storyboard.

OK, so how do you storyboard? It’s easy, and you don’t have to be an artist to do it either. Broken down simply, it has three basic parts. They are:

1. Identifying the key scenes you want to capture.
2. Sketching out how you want the scene to play out.
3. Adding notes to each scene (location, participants, action, close-up or wide-angle, etc.).

It could look something like this:


And now you can use your storyboard as a guide to shooting your video, following along its story arc. How easy is that?!

Steve Holsonback
Instructional Media Design Specialist
Center for Academic & Professional Excellence
Ext. 3425


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