Advanced Storyboards - How to Create Detailed and Useful Storyboards during Pre-Production for Your Digital Video Film

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Digital Video Storyboard

The pre-production phase does not just refer to the overall planning for your film production shoots, but also the vision that you really have for the project. For narrative projects, and really any film or digital video project that has a storyline through it, you are going to need to imagine exactly how you translate the script to the screen. When you look at the screenplay you have an interesting job ahead on figuring out exactly what types of shots you want to use to convey that scene, and how they are going to be framed and imaged. Storyboards are the way that most producers, directors, and cinematographers deal with this and allow them to really imagine what is going to end up on the big screen.

Creating a Storyboard

In general basic storyboarding is relatively self explanatory. Each shot that you have will be reflected in the image in the storyboard. For more advanced storyboards you are going to have to get more organized and specific. You are going to need to create a storyboard panel for absolutely every shot that you want for your scene. This will include cutaways and pickups as well, so make sure that they are included. You are also going to need to get these in order, so make sure that each panel is numbered.


When putting together your panels you need to creatively think about everything that you are going to want to see. This also includes the kind of visual motifs you are trying to achieve in your film, so keep your general vision in line. Focus in on the characters you want, what you need the audience to see, and the general angles that you want. This does not have to be absolutely identical to what you end up with in your digital video image, but it should be close.


To ensure that you get accuracy in your storyboard the director and producer should put this together with the director of photography. The DP will be the one that composes the image so they should be there to help give suggestions and to see what you are trying to achieve. Since they are the video artist in terms of aesthetics they will be crucial in establishing visual style in the storyboard.


An fully accurate advanced storyboard you are going to want to have a general line of text for each panel giving a small statement about what is going on. This should not be to supplement or comment on what is obviously seen in the frame, but instead what would not be able to be inferred without the text. This will again help you keep better organization when planning your scene and will allow you to visualize what is in the script better.

Shot List and Breakdown Sheet

The shot list should really be created in compliments with the storyboard. Look at the shots that are needed of the storyboard and begin to note them down. Now you will know the shots you will need in a particular scene and you can then list all the shots in proper order for filming. The breakdown sheet should also be created before the storyboard so as to organize the vision of what you need.

Storyboard Artist

Truly high level storyboards utilize an independent storyboard artists. This storyboard artist is used so that the images are rendered accurately to the vision and so everyone can get the communicated information. Pre-art can be prepared with a basic plan, but if you want the storyboard to be a clear road map then you are going to want to get a real artist for this. You may want to utilize someone from the production design department.