Storyboarding Tips for Marketing Videos & Free Storyboard Template

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The Best Productions Start with Great Preproduction

Have you ever gone grocery shopping without a shopping list? If you have, you know that while you might still end up with a cartful of food, you’ll likely soon realize you forgot several items you badly needed to purchase from the store.

Filming a video is like making a trip to the grocery store. Your grocery shopping is most successful when you sit down, determine what you’d like to eat, research recipes, evaluate what you already have in the fridge, and formulate a carefully organized plan.

Think of a storyboard as your shopping list. With a great storyboard, you’re set up for a successful day of production.

The biggest difference? If you forget an item grocery shopping, you can always run back to the store just a few miles down the road and have a solution in no time. But if you miss a shot in your video, you’ve got location, talent, and crew all on the line that you’ll need to call back in to get the shot.

To avoid such a situation, storyboarding is the best preparation a video creator can do.

Get started now and download our free storyboard template.

What is a storyboard, anyway?

Think of a storyboard as a still, chopped-up version of your video. A storyboard uses just a few crucial frames to convey your video’s basic storyline, while giving a taste of how your video’s shots will be framed and how the camera will move.

Let’s go over a few of the finer details of storyboards. Storyboards include:

  • Camera/Shot Descriptions (Close Up, Handheld Shot, Wide Shot, etc.)
  • Script/Dialogue
  • Location
  • Action (What’s Happening on Screen, Movement, etc.)
  • Transitions
  • Music and sound effect descriptions

Where to Start

Tip #1: Build an Outline

Once you’ve landed on a solid concept, you’ll want to plot out your video in a rough outline. A video outline should articulate your video’s overarching plot. Your outline is a brief synopsis of your video—identifying how your story will move from beginning to end. As you tell your story in its most basic form, start to consider how camera placement and movement will enhance your video.

The three little pigs have recently become homeowners. A local menace, the Big, Bad Wolf, comes to pay them a visit. He blows down the first pig’s home, then the second, but the third pig’s home is made of materials too strong for the Big Bad Wolf to threaten, so all three pigs survive, safely within the third pig’s home. Everyone learns a valuable lesson about investing in strong building materials. The End.

Tip #2: Assemble Your Shot List

Next, build a shot list. While an outline is a flowing, contiguous description of your video, a shot list is a play-by-play plan for every shot you plan to get to accomplish your video’s outline, or overarching story.

  1. Wide shot: PIG ONE is seen in his house made of straw.
  2. BIG BAD WOLF enters frame, stomping threateningly toward PIG ONE’s home.
  3. Tight shot panning out as BIG BAD WOLF takes a large breath in, preparing to blow the house down.
  4. Cut to POV of PIG ONE as he watches BIG BAD WOLF huff and puff from the false security of his straw home.

Tip #3: Your Storyboard

Finally, it’s time to bring your shot list to life with some quick illustrations to help you visualize your video. Use your shot list and your script to guide your storyboard, including a brief description of the frame below your illustration of each shot.

a storyboard example of the three little pigs

Ready to get started? Download our free storyboard template now.

Go Ahead, Shoot Outside Your Storyboard

Just because you have a strict shopping list doesn’t mean you can’t grab a candy bar in the checkout lane. While it’s important to get all the shots your storyboard calls for, don’t ever let a storyboard limit your creativity. If, when it comes time to film, you see another angle or another shot that you like—get it. As long as you get the shots that you absolutely need, you’ll never regret getting bonus footage.

There’s a lot of freedom and creativity that comes with producing marketing videos. If you need help producing videos for your business, reach out or call (231) 922-9977 to see what our team can create for you.

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