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How to Create a Great Video Storyboard


Great ideas need to be articulated well so that they can happen. In the world of video production, it’s the same story and video storyboards are one of our favourite tools for exploring and sharing ideas. Our role, at Fresh Cut, as creative video experts is to take a brief from a client and turn it into an amazing video that ticks all of the boxes on that brief and helps them to deliver their video marketing campaign goals.

There are many steps in the video production process to take us from that initial project brief to saving the final video edit. One of the first steps is concepting our ideas as a team and evolving the best of them into video storyboards which we can present to the client in a clear, yet visually compelling way. Creating a video storyboard is vital to a successful video production process.

What is a video storyboard

“A video storyboard is a graphic representation of how your video will unfold, shot by shot. They look very similar to a comic strip.”

Every storyboard is made up of a sequence of sketches to illustrate what the camera is going to see in each shot. Beneath each picture are notes about the shot style, what is going in that scene, what is being said as per the script etc. 

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When to create a video storyboard

A storyboard should happen pre-production during the early planning stages of a video project, any later than this and you can expect chaos on-set and a video that is far what you had in mind! Shooting a professional looking video successfully is much more likely with a video storyboard.

A storyboard is a valuable tool to present to clients so that they can understand, contribute towards and share your creative vision. From the production crew’s perspective, they will clearly understand what they need to capture during the shoot and be empowered to plan how each scene in the storyboard will work with the script. Basically, your storyboard is going to get everybody involved in the video project on the same page before you even start shooting.

The benefits of video storyboards

A storyboard is one of the most important stages of planning out a video and here’s why:

Creating, communicating and sharing a vision - Video is great for telling stories so it feels inevitable that the video production process begins with a storyboard. A video storyboard is the most effective visual aid for explaining your creative vision for an upcoming video. It enables you to take your client and colleagues step-by-step through your idea and it enables them to visualise exactly what you mean, much more effectively than just looking at a script.

A good video storyboard is created collaboratively between the client and the video production team. Always make time for feedback and welcome input from all players so that together you can define your shared vision and ensure that it’s articulated perfectly in the video storyboard.

Organisation and planning - Once the storyboard is approved the team focus can shift to production and making the vision happen. A good storyboard provides the framework for your production plan. It shows all the shots that need to be captured, the order that they’ll work together and how they interact with the script.

Planning production around your storyboard means that no shots should be forgotten and everybody on the shoot has a visual reference of what they need to achieve. The secret to a successful video shoot lies in the organisation, don’t ever conduct a video shoot without an important storyboard!

Efficient time management and teamwork - When a team is focused and motivated towards the same goal, they tend to collaborate with each other better and work more efficiently. Your video storyboard acts as your team goal and clearly shows everybody what we must achieve together aka our shared vision agreed as above. With a clear video storyboard you can expect a well-structured shoot with no time or budget wasted because of confusion.

An empowered post-production team - During post-production the video storyboard is a great reference point for editing the final video into the envisioned story that will wow your client. A well organised and executed production shoot will produce fantastic footage to delight the post-production team and enable them to work their magic to enhance the video content rather than salvage it. At Fresh Cut, all our videos are made with a distinctive fresh cut, hence our name! Take a look at the creative video services we are proud to offer.

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A winning advertising storyboard formula

We’ve convinced you a storyboard is an essential step in producing a fantastic video. Now, you’re probably wondering where to start with your story! Framing a challenge or situation can be an effective opening sequence of frames, and then your final frames can conveniently present the perfect solution. This problem vs solution storyboard is very popular in brand advertising and product videos, we’ve also seen it used thousands of times in cheesy yet successful infomercials. The story usually goes something like this:

1. Do you have a problem like this?

2. We understand. This is what is making it worse.

3. Our solution focuses specifically on your big problem.

4. Here’s the proof/customer testimonials

5. Did we mention our amazing benefits?

6. Call to action aka buy our product

It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw

It’s true some video storyboards are a work of art, especially those for blockbuster movies. However, your storyboard doesn’t need to be sequence of intricately beautiful drawings. It’s fine to doodle or draw with stick people. If there is an object in the scene you can even draw a box and label it. The key to success is not in the details of the drawing. The most important aspect of your storyboard is that it is clear and easy for everybody involved to understand, from the brand marketing manager to the videographer.

Let the creative visual story flow

With a video storyboard to hand the videographer and producer can ensure that all shots needed are captured as per the collective creative vision. A storyboard will save you time on your video shoot and ensure that all creative energy is flowing into capturing the perfect look and feel for your brand and create a visually stunning story that flows smoothly rather than a clunky, non-sensical piece of content.

How can you use a video storyboard effectively?

The first rule of a video storyboard is to never keep it to yourself, tell everybody about your storyboard! Well maybe not everybody, just those involved in the video’s production, especially the client. Treat it as a tool for the whole team and ensure that each team member has seen it, loves it and understood it. Always allow time ahead of your video shoot for feedback and questions to minimise confusion and avoid wasting time and budget during the shoot. The video storyboard is the blueprint of your video and anybody who sees it must understand it easily, if they can’t you need to make some tweaks.

How to storyboard

Follow our 11 simple tips to create an effective video storyboard for your next video project:

1. Use a storyboard with boxes/frames that match the aspect ratio of video format. Rectangle (16:9), Square (1:1), Vertical (9:16). 

2. Number each frame for easy reference

3. State the shot style of each frame, E.g. long shot to extreme close up

4. Draw with perspective. E.g. make subjects in the background smaller so they appear far away

5. Add clear, concise notes to describe what’s happening in each frame

6. Cut up your storyboard and combine the frames in new sequences to find the perfect story

7. Ensure your final frame contains a call to action

8. Photograph your final story on your smartphone just in case any pieces get moved

9. Create the final video storyboard using images and language that everybody involved will understand – keep it simple!

10. Present and circulate the final storyboard before the shoot and ensure everybody is on the same page

11. Use the final storyboard to prepare the master shot list for the video shoot to ensure everything is captured as per the team’s creative vision

Let’s tell your story with video

Have you got a creative video brief for your brand or upcoming campaign? Fresh Cut are a leading video production company helping brands tell their stories on TV and online since 2006. With studios in Leeds, Manchester and London we are proud to work with brands and budgets of all sizes. Take a look inside our fantastic portfolio of creative video content and get in touch with our talented team to discuss your next video project.