The Most Effective Way to Start Storyboarding . . .with Shooting Boards, of course!

Use StoryBoard Quick Stand-In characters for basic shooting boards Use StoryBoard Quick Stand-In characters for basic shooting boards Use StoryBoard Quick Stand-In characters for basic shooting boards.


Last time we talked about the types of storyboards. Now let's talk about the best storyboarding for you. Like directing, storyboarding is about making decisions. If you make the choices in preproduction, both your shooting and editing will go much smoother. There is no one right way to tell the story just as there is no one right way to storyboard a project. The purpose is to show your vision of the story to the people involved. It's the most valuable part of communicating your plan.


For most projects students can use shooting boards. This basic type of storyboard shows where key elements of your shot should be placed. Just the major pieces are important. They don't need to be fancy, they just need to communicate your idea. Shooting boards like this can be used for broadcast and documentary projects too.

1. How close are the characters in the shot?Storboard02

2. What will the next shot be?

These are the basic minimums you'll need to be sure to get all the shots you need to tell the best version of your story. And to make your editing go so much more smoothly. Even the simpliest picture will put you in the league of professionals when it comes to communicating with everyone involved about your ideas for the story.

Every shot tells a story.

To start storyboarding, decide on key elements of the scene and the size you want your characters to be in the shot during the main part of the action. It's helpful to make notes in the caption area. Add the scene slugline to indicate where you are in the script. This will act as your shot list.

Begin to visualize a scene: One straightforward way to start is to compose a wide/full shot or establishing shot (to orient your audience: "where," "when", "what" and "who"). Next shot - make a new storyboard frame and move closer to reveal more information: medium shot (MS) to closeup shot (CU). This is a simple formula which can help you to begin to visually laying out your storyboards. After storyboarding a few shots and scenes it will become easier to decided what needs to be shown.

Remember: just show the key elements


The character's clothing or exact position isn't that important. Just the basics. How big will they be in the frame will tell the crew where the camera will be in relation to your on-screen talent. Lengthy or complex action scenes will require multiple frames to communicate complex ideas and special effects. Other things to think about when creating your first storyboards are:

Which characters are in the frame?
- How are they moving? Use arrows to show character movement

What are the characters saying to each other?
- Medium or CU shots help to emphasize emotional dialog.
- (use the caption area to note key dialog)

Has time passed since the last frame?
- Do you need to indicate in text or can it be accomplished visually?

How close or far away are the elements?
Shot types will indicate camera placement.

More about shot type shortcuts and their storytelling meanings next time!

All types of storyboards are easy to create with StoryBoard Software from PowerProduction

Brought to you by the makers of StoryBoard Quick & StoryBoard Artist,