The Importance of Creating a Storyboard Before Filming
August 23, 2018
You know you want to use video to increase SEO, increase conversion or get employees excited about a new initiative. But if this is your first video rodeo, you may not know where to start.
Obviously, before you move forward with any sort of production, you’ve got to have a vision for your end product. You’ll need to identify your audience and determine an ultimate outcome for the project. You’ll also need to set a realistic budget.
Once you’ve done all of that— and you’re serious about creating a sleek, professional video— you’ll need to hire an experienced video production company to take you through the process from start to finish.
Any reputable production company will tell you the crucial next step in creating an effective piece is creating something called a storyboard. Let’s dive in.
What is the pre-production process?
Before you can understand what storyboarding is, it’s helpful to understand its place in the pre-production process.
Pre-production is just a term to describe all the important steps leading up to the production itself. Technically, you’re already in this stage if you’ve completed the above-mentioned steps. Good work!
Next, you’ve got to write a well-constructed script and select the right performers to execute it. That means spending the necessary time crafting a way to tell your story that’s compelling both narratively and visually. Then you’ve got to decide whether a company employee is the best person to deliver the message, or if a professional performer is the best choice.
When the script and cast is set, that’s when the storyboarding process begins.
What is a storyboard?
Here’s the simple answer: it’s a way to map out, scene by scene and shot by shot, how your final video will look. In fact, many storyboards end up looking like what you’d see in a comic book, with colorful frames illustrating each part of the narrative. In its most basic form, a storyboard is a visual summary of your project.
This crucial tool in the pre-production process allows you to get a glimpse of what your project will look like when it’s completed. A well-constructed storyboard should provide your whole team with an effective, external manifestation of your vision. When everyone’s on the same page, and everyone knows what the end goal is, you can go into production with clarity and confidence.
Why is storyboarding so important?
You wouldn’t write a novel without first outlining the plot and the chapters, right? So why would you spend the time, effort, and money to produce a video without first creating a blueprint for achieving your vision?
There are a number of reasons it’s crucial to create a storyboard before entering into production. Here are just a few:
Efficiency— Storyboarding is an efficient way to lay out the overall concept as well as each supporting vignette so you can reveal your vision to your entire team all at once without having to explain in words what can really only be told in a visual format.
Generate enthusiasm— Your storyboard should breathe life into your narrative and get your whole team excited about the project. If your organization isn’t pumped about your video, there’s a good chance it’s going to come off as flat and uninteresting. And if your video doesn’t excite your team, how can you expect it to excite a potential customer?
Create a roadmap— A storyboard should flesh out how the production is going to come together so that it gives your team a logical, coherent roadmap to follow from start to finish.
Many novelists conceive the last chapter of their book first so they know where the story should end up. The same is true for a video; your team should know the ultimate takeaway message so they understand the importance of each preceding segment within that context.
Improve efficiency— A storyboard also helps make the whole production more efficient. It should show the kinds of shots you want and in what order, so the crew can plan for logistics and equipment ahead of time.
Save time and money— A storyboard will save you time and money. Having one avoids confusion on the set and prevents diffusion of your message as the result of a meandering, unorganized production.
You’ll also avoid having to extend the timeline as a result of the same disorganization and unnecessary trips down convoluted rabbit holes. Plus, presenting a storyboard allows your team to give feedback and make adjustments well in advance of production day.
In the end, by investing time up front, you’ll have saved yourself countless dollars (and headaches), and you’ll end up with a tight, professional end product.
To make an excellent video, you’ve got to have an excellent process. Storyboarding is a crucial step in this process. If you’ve got a vision but don’t yet have a plan for getting there, give us a call. We’re experts in everything from design and scriptwriting to storyboarding and from production to post.
Next Thought Studios can take you through the whole process from initial conceptualization to the moment the director yells, “That’s a wrap, people!”
Janelle Bevan, M.A.
Janelle has produced and project-managed a wide array of videos ranging from corporate commercials to long-form documentaries. While completing her Master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma, she served as the graduate assistant to the department chair for Creative Media. Janelle has worked with many nationally recognized organizations, creating documentaries for the National Association of Broadcasters, designing and editing instructional videos for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and producing the 2015 Broadcast Education Association awards show in Las Vegas. Janelle is a six-time Telly Award winner and won a 2016 Emmy for her documentary featuring a collaboration from three executive producers of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Janelle served as NextThought’s Director of Post-Production and Media Management and helped facilitate over 1,000 videos during her time at NextThought.