Blog

How to Create A Video Storyboard for Seamless Recordings

Content

How to Create A Video Storyboard for Seamless Recordings

Planning to make a storyboard for your next video or film project? Want to create high-quality storyboards that make your video shoot so much easier?

In this article, we’ll describe how to make a storyboard from scratch. We’ll also share some of the best video storyboard examples we’ve come across – so you can craft a solid one. 

Last but not least, we'll share our favorite storyboard software that simplifies the process of making one.

Let's get started!

What is a video storyboard?

A video storyboard is a shot-by-shot sketch representation of all the scenes (or at least the most important ones) in a video. 

These are mainly used by video creators and filmmakers for planning and outlining the video narrative before filming. 

You can think of a storyboard as a comic book version of the script. Check out the examples later on in the article to see what we mean. 

Element of a storyboard

Story

A storyboard is a visual version of the script, and so the most important thing about it is the story it tells. It helps the director and crew see if the flow of the story makes sense or if it’s missing important scenes.  

Another key benefit is that it allows the team to organize scenes and add them later if needed. 

Characters

A storyboard contains all the key characters in the story and illustrates their key actions.

These characters can either be sketched in a rough, stick-like way, or they can be more detailed, depending on how the production house wants it. 

Dialogue

Storyboards often include the dialogue spoken by different characters.  Characters' specific emotions or tone of voice are also written down.

Time frames

To keep track of the time, storyboards can include details like the length of a scene and the time between each frame. This helps the team manage time during filming.

Camera details

Camera position, movement, and shot type are crucial components of a good storyboard. 

Titles and captions

Titles, captions, and numbering help keep track of each panel. 

Why use a storyboard?

Storyboards can really help you while shooting a video, and here are the main reasons why you should use one:  

It improves production efficiency

A storyboard makes it easy to plan and organize the video shoot. Knowing what props need to be used, the environment, camera angles, etc., makes production extremely efficient.

It makes it easy to share your vision

It makes it easier to share your vision with other people beforehand – without having to create a whole video or movie and then realizing it isn’t that great. 

Saves time

It can save you time as everything is all organized. This may remove the need for costly reshoots or revisions, as critical elements of the shoot are pre-planned. 

What would you use a storyboard for?

Video production

When done right, storyboards make video production easier and more efficient, which is why TV shows and movies use them. 

Theatre

Storyboarding is a massive help to different members of a theatre group. 

It helps directors and playwrights understand scene layout, actors understand scene structure, and stage managers understand how to arrange props and background details.  

Business and advertising video marketing

With a continuous increase in video marketing, businesses can use storyboards for planning commercials, campaigns, presentations, events, and more. 

The best storyboard ideas and examples

To give you an idea of how storyboards look like, below are some examples of movie storyboards:

There Will Be Blood

(Image Source)

This storyboard for There Will Be Blood not only includes background sketches that’ll be used in the actual shoot, but also has camera positioning and shot size information. 

Gone with the Wind

Gone With the Wind Storyboard
(Image Source)

The colors used inform the lighting scheme for the actual movie. There are even shot notes added in one of the sketches. 

This is how the same scene looked like in the actual movie. Notice the similar color scheme.

Salt

(Image Source)

This storyboard from the movie Salt, featuring Angelina Jolie, explains what's happening in the scene and shows camera movements and angles to be used. 

Ant-Man

Antman storyboard
(Image Source)

Wonder how all those Marvel movies that you’ve watched start off?

Well, you have your answer now. 

The storyboard here not only informs the video shoot, but it also informs the animation department on what to animate in the shot. 

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2

Spiderman storyboard
(Image Source)

The above storyboard is the iconic train fight scene from the original Spiderman trilogy. Notice how the artist uses directional arrows to point out the motion of different characters. These become a great help to the director during filming. 

How to create a video storyboard in 4 easy steps

Step 1: Plan your video and write the script

Before creating the storyboard, figure out the kind of video you’d like to make and its objective. 

Then create the script for the video. Also, identify: 

  • Key sequences
  • Key characters and props
  • Theme of the video
  • Sequence of scenes

Step 2: Create a storyboard video template

To create a standard storyboard template, draw a series of rectangles on a piece of paper – like a comic strip. 

And leave space below each rectangle for writing notes. Or, instead, you can add lines where you can add comments, dialogues, camera details, general notes, etc. 

Step 3: Add the script

Below the rectangle, insert relevant script elements like dialogue, action, or effects.

Step 4: Sketch the story

Sketch the key scene. 

Keep in mind that you don’t need detailed sketches. They should just provide enough detail to let a reader know what’s happening in the scene. Ideally, it should include: 

  • Camera angle, shot type, movement
  • Background
  • Props 
  • Character action, expression, and movement
  • Character clothing

Below the sketch, in the empty space, or on the lines, you can add the dialogue, action sequence, and any other important point. 

The sketch and the notes/dialogue should make it easy for a reader to understand what’s happening in the scene.

Tips for an effective video storyboard

Here are some additional tips for creating a really good storyboard:

Gradually work up towards an effective sketch

In the beginning, start with a bare-bone sketch that uses basic shapes. This helps you focus on the flow of the overall narrative.  

Once that’s done, you can add in more intricate character poses, movements, facial expressions, background, etc. 

This brings us to the next tip…

Add all the necessary details

The main purpose of a story board is to make the video shoot easy and efficient. So don’t shy away from adding the important visual details in a shot, like lighting, camera movement, etc.

Think spatially

The final video takes place in a 3D environment, so it’s important to think spatially while storyboarding. 

You’ll also need to consider how each shot is spatially connected to the ones before and after it. 

A good idea that will help you in the exercise is to visit the set where the filming will take place and take a few shots to get a better idea of it.

Number every shot

Numbering every shot makes it easy for your team members to reference it – rather than having to rely on describing the panel to find the shot.

Use the storyboard as a master shot list

Ideally, you should use the storyboard as a master shot list that’ll be used as the main reference throughout the video creation process. 

Add whatever details are necessary, including any sound effects or special effects that’ll be used. The last thing you’d want to happen in post-production is to find out you’ve missed crucial elements during filming. 

Keep your storyboard simple

Our previous tips may make it seem that a storyboard should be extremely detailed. 

But there’s a fine line between providing enough detail and going overboard with it. So just keep the most important technical and narrative elements. Remember – the storyboard is a rough sketch, not a full presentation. 

The best video storyboard template websites and software

Storyboarding doesn't have to be done with traditional pen and paper methods. Many apps today allow you to create a storyboard digitally – which is far faster and more efficient than the old method. 

And some of these sites have great storyboard templates that you can use. 

So let’s look at some of the best storyboarding software on the market:

Plot

Price: Free 14-day trial / $10/month for a single user / $15 per month for the pro package 

Plot is a storyboard platform that was designed by a former video animator. It uses a minimalistic interface which helps you focus on the storyboard without having to deal with overly complicated options and features. 

Key features

  • Add images from anywhere on the web
  • Collaborate with colleagues within the software
  • Access customizable drawing tools like Text, Pencil, Eraser, Shape/Line tools, etc. 
  • Download graphical elements to spruce up your project

Canva

Price: Free / $10 per month for premium features

Canva is an excellent site to find storyboard templates that’ll fit any theme. Some of the templates are free, whereas others may be locked behind a pro-version paywall. 

FrameForge Storyboard Studio

Price: Free trial / $12.99 per month for the FrameForge 4 Core Plan / $24.99 per month for the Frameforge 4 Pro plan. 

FrameForge is used by major companies like Netflix, HBO, and BBC. 

Oh, and it won an Emmy award for Technical Achievement.

Key features

  • Create 3D storyboards that account for camera height, angle, and more 
  • Control actor and object positions
  • Change character facial expressions
  • Change camera angles as well as change the type of shot (crane, zoom, or dolly)
  • Add background details like streets, sidewalks, and weather conditions

makeStoryboard

Price: Free starter plan / $10 per month for the professional plan / $30 per month for the team plan

makeStoryboard is another software ideal for hobbyists or newbies. Just like Plot, it uses a simple interface that allows you to easily draw or add images. 

Key features

  • Creator-friendly drawing tools
  • Easy-to-use interface to draw stick figures, upload images, change aspect ratio, and more  
  • Stores multiple backups of the storyboard; in case you need to backtrack and change things 
  • Export storyboard to PDF format

Boords

Price: Free trial / $29 per month for 1-3 users 

Boords a user-friendly web-based storyboard that you can use without needing sophisticated technical knowledge. It has fantastic collaboration tools making working with team members easy. 

The software also comes with pre-designed and inbuilt templates where you can adjust the different elements as you see fit. 

Key features

  • Drawing, animation, and script editing features
  • Huge storyboard template collection
  • Animatic tool to turn your storyboard into animations
  • Automatic frame numbering

Studiobinder

Price: $29 per month for solo user / $49 per month for a professional plan / $99 per month for a studio

Studiobinder comes with a rich interface that isn’t overly complicated. It has all the storyboarding must-haves, like image importing, dynamic frame numbering, and the ability to move panels around. It also has a wide range of templates to choose from.

Key features

  • Collaboration features that allow you to share production documents, scripts, shot lists, etc
  • Screenwriting feature 
  • Premium templates
  • Gantt-style production calendar to manage video production

FAQs on Video Storyboards

What are the main styles of storyboards?

There are 3 main types of storyboards:

Traditional storyboard

Traditional storyboards are drawn with pen and paper. Some traditional storyboards are very detailed, whereas others have just rudimentary stick figures and basic labels for different components of the scene. 

Thumbnail storyboards

Thumbnails are small drawings that are loosely sketched and don’t have text added. The scenes drawn don’t need to be very detailed as well. Many a time, these thumbnails are used to create a more fleshed-out storyboard later. 

Digital storyboards

Digital storyboards are made using a computer instead of pen and paper. They are especially great for video creators who aren’t good at drawing. Just like traditional storyboards, these can be detailed or have minimal info. 

How do you make a good storyboard for a video?

While it’s not important to make works of art while creating a storyboard, it’s important that each sketch conveys the necessary details accurately. 

So if you’re drawing a two-person scene that requires variation in the shot, just drawing two stick figures together won’t cut it. 

Take the time to sketch out all the important visual details your crew might need, including camera angles, background details, facial expressions, etc.  

Another way to create a great storyboard is to find storyboards that have been used in previous successful projects. We’ve listed some great examples above.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Highly curated content, case studies, Riverside updates, and more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related articles

15

min read

How to Make an Audiobook: 10 Easy Steps for Beginners

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

13

min read

Headliner App Review: A Marketing Tool for Podcasters

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

11

min read

Best Video Recording Apps for iPhone in 2023 (All Skill Levels)

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

Try Riverside today

The next gen podcast and video creation platform for creators.

Get Started
Start recording with Riverside
Easily record high-quality podcasts & videos remotely
Get Started
“YouTube has the infrastructure to introduce audio hosting and origination, and match it to video with all the rich analytics it already provides. A seamless creator experience, plus SEO marketing tools, plus the benefit of being a platform most have been conditioned to equal. Give it a turn-key opportunity to activate a more cohesive strategy around both video and audio, to the benefit of all parties.”
A.J. Feliciano | Head of Podcast Network
“People are working from home more and more. Audio-only is not as in-demand because the need to multitask while commuting is no longer there.”
Stone Roshell | Head of Podcast Production
“Live streaming may become the biggest way to grow using video for your podcast.”
Stone Roshell | Head of Podcast Production
“With major platforms like Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube putting more resources into video podcasts.. now is a uniquely opportune moment for smart creators to harness that energy by investing in video for audience growth.”
Ryan Duffy | Head of Audio Operations