Storyboard – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Film Production Glossary Terms

What is a Storyboard?

A storyboard is a visual representation of a film, TV show, commercial, or any other visual project. It is a series of illustrations or images that depict the sequence of events in a story, shot by shot. Storyboards are essential tools in the pre-production phase of a project as they help filmmakers, directors, and other creatives visualize the scenes and shots before they are actually filmed.

Why are Storyboards Important in Film Production?

Storyboards are crucial in film production for several reasons. Firstly, they help filmmakers plan and organize their shots, ensuring that every scene is visually coherent and effectively communicates the story. By creating a storyboard, filmmakers can experiment with different camera angles, compositions, and pacing to find the most effective way to tell their story.

Additionally, storyboards are valuable communication tools that allow filmmakers to convey their vision to the rest of the production team. By sharing the storyboard with the cinematographer, production designer, and other key crew members, everyone can be on the same page about how the film will look and feel.

Finally, storyboards can also help filmmakers save time and money during production. By having a clear roadmap of the shots they need, filmmakers can streamline the filming process and avoid costly reshoots or revisions.

How are Storyboards Created?

Storyboards are typically created by a storyboard artist or director who translates the script into a series of visual images. The process usually begins with a script or screenplay, which is broken down into individual scenes and shots. The storyboard artist then sketches out each shot, including details such as camera angles, character positions, and key actions.

Storyboard artists may use traditional pen and paper or digital drawing tools to create their illustrations. They often work closely with the director or cinematographer to ensure that the storyboard accurately reflects the director’s vision for the film.

What Elements are Typically Included in a Storyboard?

A storyboard typically includes several key elements to help visualize the scene:

1. Shot Number: Each shot in the storyboard is assigned a number to indicate its sequence in the scene.

2. Shot Description: A brief description of the action taking place in the shot.

3. Camera Angle: The angle at which the shot will be filmed, such as a close-up, medium shot, or wide shot.

4. Camera Movement: Any camera movements, such as pans, tilts, or zooms, that will be used in the shot.

5. Character Positions: The positions of the characters in the frame, including their movements and interactions.

6. Dialogue: Any dialogue or voiceover that will be spoken during the shot.

7. Props and Set Design: Details of any props or set pieces that will be included in the shot.

How are Storyboards Used on Set?

Once the storyboard is complete, it becomes a valuable reference tool for the director and cinematographer on set. During filming, the storyboard is used to ensure that each shot matches the planned visual style and composition. The director can refer to the storyboard to guide the actors and crew on how to position themselves and move within the frame.

Storyboard artists may also create additional notes or annotations on the storyboard to provide further guidance on lighting, camera movements, or other technical details. This helps ensure that the director’s vision is accurately translated onto the screen.

What Software Tools are Available for Creating Storyboards?

There are several software tools available for creating storyboards, ranging from simple drawing programs to specialized storyboard software. Some popular options include:

1. Storyboard That: A web-based platform that allows users to create storyboards using a library of pre-made characters, props, and backgrounds.

2. Toon Boom Storyboard Pro: A professional-grade software used by many animation studios and filmmakers to create detailed storyboards with advanced features.

3. Adobe Photoshop: While not specifically designed for storyboarding, Photoshop can be used to create detailed and customizable storyboards.

4. Celtx: A comprehensive pre-production tool that includes storyboard features along with scriptwriting and scheduling capabilities.

These software tools offer a range of features to help storyboard artists create professional-looking storyboards quickly and efficiently. Whether working on a small independent film or a big-budget production, having the right tools can make the storyboard creation process smoother and more effective.