Let’s start at the beginning

It might be pretty daunting setting out to create a video or an animation for your business or company.

The best way I find to start the process is to create a storyboard.

A storyboard is basically a plan for your video, where you sketch it out shot-by-shot and detail what is happening in each shot, and add the script (if you have one).

It’s great to have a storyboard to show people if you need to get the concept approved. But also a storyboard will help you to get your ideas down on paper and will ultimately help the production process as you will give this to your animators or video team to work from.

A storyboard can be very rough, just with hand drawn boxes and loose sketches, or it can be incredibly detailed with scripts, transitions, timings. The level of detail in the storyboard is determined by the budget, the knowledge and ability of the person creating the storyboard, and the detail the producers require.

I always start with a simple hand drawn storyboard.

There’s a heap of storyboard templates on the internet if you would like to download something to work from. I usually just hand draw six boxes on an A4 page and start sketching.

Each box is a shot and I roughly draw it as I think it is going to happen on the video. I then add some words below that describe the shot. I will also note if there are sounds or graphic overlays. If I have a script ready, I will add the words in for the voiceover as well. Sometimes we may include notes for members of the production team.

Usually what happens is you will refine your storyboard based on how long you have for your video. If it is, say, a 30-second ad, you will need to keep the number of screens down to around six to 10 (but this will depend on the detail of your shots and in the storyboard).

But if you are producing an hour-long corporate presentation, you have to adjust accordingly. If it’s a long presentation, I generally allow one minute per slide, so no more than 60 boxes in your storyboard.

As you’re building your storyboard, make sure that you think about the overall effect or concept you are creating, and design the shots to suit. For example, if you want people to get excited about your product which is going on sale, use fast transitions, and an upbeat music track, and close out with a clear call to action such as, ‘Visit our website to buy today’.

If you’re telling people about how reliable your brand is, ensure the voiceover sounds trustworthy and the pace is gentle and feels secure, ensure you include all your contact details and a real person your customer can speak to, that way they feel you are reliable and not hiding anything.

Here are some examples of some actual storyboards I’ve created for various projects.

You can view the finished products – this is the top one and this is the bottom one.

3 key things to remember:

  1. The video must flow, so make sure you consider how each shot transitions into the next.
  2. You don’t need to be an artist to do this, you’re just trying to get a concept together so don’t worry too much about how great the drawings are (or aren’t!).
  3. Remember that things like pace, colours, and style of animation will each affect the outcome of the video, so consider that in your storyboard.

Written by Gill  |  3 April 2020