A storyboard is essential for developing the structure for your video content (what you are going to show and say, and how) and helping the creative team to understand and get the content right.
A conventional storyboard is a visual representation in the form of hand drawn or computer generated images of how a film/video or television commercial story unfolds – scene by scene or, depending on the complexity of a scene, shot by shot – and with action notes and dialogue or voice-over written under each frame. Some businesses use storyboards for other purposes, such as explaining a step-by-step process to colleagues, delivering training or brainstorming ideas. It’s a great visual device.
In the corporate video world we often use storyboards – especially to demonstrate how visual action integrates with animated graphics. But if the story is straightforward, a written storyboard is utilized; basically it’s the script. The story’s arc is described scene by scene with action notes, dialogue and voice-over, and details of how one scene moves into the next. It can be emailed back and forth with each party pitching in to hone the story and messages.
Your video producer should lead and guide this development and come up with a concept that works.
Storyboarding and Storytelling
In a previous blog we shared the importance of storytelling in a corporate video. People engage with stories; and if you can tell a good story through your video, it will resonant strongly with your target audience and compel them to take action.
It is essential to plan out a narrative for your video production. What is the story you want to tell? What are the visual elements that will convey this effectively? How will you get from A to B in terms of your storyline? That’s where the storyboard comes in.
Typically most narratives work along these lines in order to build the story’s arc:
- Trigger: what is the problem, challenge, need or desire that your story / video will address?
- Action: what happens to resolve this issue, what is the journey like?
- Reward: what is the outcome or reward, what are the benefits that the action delivered?
The trick is to create a story that resonates with your target audience and engages them so they want to engage with your organisation.
Storyboarding from scratch
This is usually the responsibility of the video producer – but you may want to have a crack at some of it yourself. For example, you understand your business better than anyone and you may have a very clear idea of how you want to put certain visual messages across. You don’t need to be able to draw, stick men sketches will suffice. Storyboarding in the first instance should be seen as a brainstorming exercise, allowing you to convey in visual or written terms your concept and core message, and then refine and tweak it for maximum effect.
If you want to have some fun visually storyboarding your video content ideas, here are some top tips for getting started.
You can download a storyboard template off the Internet. It’s essentially a print out with boxes for each scene and a few lines of text underneath.
You don’t have to sketch out every shot in each sequence/scene; just the key ones – so that you can show the progression from one part of the scene to the next, and show any captions or graphic ideas.
Underneath each sketch add some explanatory notes about the action. This is especially useful for explaining things that are difficult to sketch. For example, if you plan a crowd scene with 100 people, you don’t need to sketch 100 stickmen. Instead, sketch a handful of people and add the specifics to the notes. Movements and emotions can also be difficult to sketch – so just write an explanation.
Add any outline ideas for dialogue or voice-over. The full version will be developed and written in the script.
Estimate the scene durations so you can calculate the total length of the video. This helps to evaluate the structure of your video and how much time each scene should get. You’ll want a good balance between your introduction, main content and core message or Call To Action (CTA).