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  • Writer's pictureDenis Ankrah

Do You Need a Storyboard

In today's "ADD" society It can be tempting to do without the pre-visualization process, especially when considering the evolution of digital filmmaking. You can edit in camera, you’re working with smaller crews, so why not shoot and experiment until you find something that works?

No matter how cheap the technology makes the production process, time will always equal money. When extras don't show up or an unexpected rain shower can derail an entire day, the last thing you want when you location time is running out debate about the best way to set the next shot.

This is where storyboards come in. A storyboard doesn’t necessarily have to be a professionally illustrated breakdown of every frame of your project (although that certainly doesn’t hurt). An effective storyboard can be as simple as stick figures drawn on a napkin, as long as you have a few basic principles:


You need to keep a cinematic approach in mind. Try to add as much depth and dimension to your storyboards as you can. Separate the foreground from the background and create a sense of space. You want to avoid flat, parallel imagery unless the shot calls for it.


Being able to visualize what the camera itself sees is so important to creating a storyboard. If you’re picking your own shots, you’ll be able to understand the implications and limitations of each kind, and be able to draw your storyboards accordingly.

You should also familiarize yourself with basics of editing, as while each sequence of your storyboard doesn’t need to cover every second in a scene, it should cover the cuts. Make sure you think carefully about pacing where you plan to move from one shot to the next, and ensuring that those cuts are properly motivated visually within the storyboard.


Finally, when making your storyboard, try to remain true to the source material (script, shot list etc..) Remember that you’re taking the action off the page it turning it into a visual blueprint. By the time you’ve entered the storyboarding phase you should be dealing with a final shooting script, which will have gone through multiple revisions to get it as close to the final vision.

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