When Do You Need Storyboards?

Picture this: you have a thriving company with a really cool product, but you need more customers. You decide that the best way to acquire new customers is to invest in video production. You come up with this awesome idea for a video that is going to engage with customers and hopefully lead to a bunch of sales. So, is it time to start filming?

Not quite yet. While coming up with the overall idea for your video is a very important step in the video production process, there is also other important prep work that needs to be done before you should start filming. In addition to writing the script, you should also consider creating a storyboard.

Before we dive into when and why you should create a storyboard, let’s first take a look at what a storyboard actually consists of.

What Is a Storyboard?

Storyboards are the visual telling of a story. They include sequential images (often hand-drawn) that detail how a story will go from start to finish. Essentially, it’s a way for you to get an idea from your head onto paper so that you visually map out how your story will be told.

How detailed a storyboard gets can vary greatly. If you have the ability to create a storyboard that is a more visual representation of the shot list, then you will likely have a very smooth production process. But there are often cases where that detailed of a storyboard isn’t totally possible. The storyboarding process can still be quite useful even if you don’t have every detail completely mapped out.

Are There Different Types of Storyboards?

So now that we know what a storyboard is and how the details included can vary, let’s discuss the different types of storyboards you can utilize. Depending on the story you’re looking to tell (and how specific you can or want to be), there are different ways that you can present your concept in storyboard form.

  • Traditional As the name suggests, the traditional storyboard is the most original form of storyboarding. It usually included hand-drawn sketches that allow you to get your ideas on paper without needing to flesh out the entire concept or shot. 
    Using a traditional storyboard is helpful if you’re tight on budget, but you still want to make sure everything is planned before you start shooting. It’s a great way to plan out your ideas, but just note that it might not be the most effective if you’re going to need buy-in or approval from other parties. Oftentimes the traditional storyboard can look messy, but in reality, it’s actually a really helpful way to bring your story to life!
  • Thumbnail – The thumbnail storyboard is similar to the traditional kind in that it relies heavily on imagery. One main difference is that it is actually only imagery, whereas a traditional storyboard can include written notes or explanations. 
    Another main thing that sets the thumbnail storyboard apart is that it often includes more detailed sketches. While traditional storyboard sketches may look messy or underdeveloped, the sketches on a thumbnail storyboard tend to be a little bit more detailed since they aren’t accompanied by any copy to further explain that portion of the story.
  • Digital Last but not least is the digital storyboard. This type of storyboard is especially useful if all or majority of your video will be animated. Essentially, it’s a way to start on the animations that will be used in the final production while still in the planning phase.
    Because this type of storyboard involves creating graphics, it is typically much more time-consuming. However, it’s important to remember that any time you spend in the planning phase (including storyboarding) is going to save you time (and likely a headache or two) in the production and post-production phases.

When and Why Do You Need a Storyboard?

We are big advocates of the storyboarding process. As we just mentioned, it does take more time in the short term, but you will see massive benefits in the long term! So how do you know if creating a storyboard is right for you?

  • If you’ve got a tight budget or timeframe – if your budget is small and/or you’ve got a quick turnaround on your video, you definitely want to consider creating a storyboard. While this may seem counterintuitive, it’s actually going to save you money and time. How can that possibly be? If you don’t plan out your story, shot list, etc. ahead of time, then you are much more likely to spend a ton of extra time and money shooting. Or it’s also possible that you realize in post-production that you needed a different shot or something is missing, and then you need to spend more time and money re-shooting. Essentially, spend the time and money planning now and we guarantee you’ll be happy about it later.
  • If you’ve got a partial idea – if you have most of the story you want to tell in your head, but there are still a couple of things you need to figure out, then creating a storyboard is the way to go. Storyboards help you to visualize how you will tell your story. It makes it much easier to see where there are holes and allows you to more easily ideate on how to fix those holes. 
  • If you need to present your idea and get buy-in from stakeholders – if you are in the position where you need to present the idea for your video and get buy-in from others, then what better way than with a storyboard? You can explain the idea for your video until you’re blue in the face, but if you use visuals to illustrate the story, stakeholders are more likely to understand and support your endeavor. 
  • If you’ve got an unlimited budget – wait didn’t we just say that you should storyboard when you have a small budget? Why do you need one when you have a huge budget? That’s the thing – storyboards are beneficial no matter what your budget is! Even if you’ve got unending funds for your video, it’s helpful to go into a shoot with a full-fledged idea. You can reduce production time and costs by creating a storyboard, which could allow you to spend your budget in other effective ways.

Now that you know when and how to use storyboards, it’s time to get started on your video. Give us a call at 831-824-9660, and we can help walk you through the ideation, storyboarding, production, and post-production processes.

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