Storyboarding has been around a long time. It was first used in film production by Walt Disney in the 1930's and now it is everywhere. Today, in a world where businesses of all sizes and from every industry can profit from video investment, it is vital that you choose a videographer who can make your vision come to life. BEN HEMMINGS MEDIA believes that it is important that (almost) all commercial productions have a storyboard, no matter the length or budget of the video.
What is a Storyboard?
A storyboard is like a visual map of what we intend to produce before we shoot the video. It should have a clear flow and the storyline should contain classic elements of narrative development. It is comparable to the writing process. A book is just an idea until the storyline has been fleshed out. By storyboarding, we are imagining the visual development of your brand's story.
Step 1 - Visualization
Perhaps the most important reason to storyboard videos is to visualize the content to ensure that the final production meets the needs of ours clients. The video is just an idea until it is pictured, storyboarded and visualized.
When imagining and sketching the storyboard, shot-by-shot, we begin to formulate ideas about how to tell the story of your brand and what shots will help us achieve that: close-up or wide-angle; textures to add sensory depth; will as close-up of an eye, a smile or a hand add a humanizing element to the production; will an aerial drone shot be needed to provide a dynamic and revealing perspectives.
When viewing the storyboard as a finished video, we re-order the clips to establish the best possible way to tell your story and to create an emotional connection with the audience. After our initial consultation with the client, we have a good idea about your brand and your video marketing objectives. We understand the answers to the key questions of the video: How does the story begin? What were the challenges? How did they overcome the challenges? Where are they now? What comes next? In doing so, we are able to picture key shots that will progress the narrative visually as well as complimenting the answers to those questions.
2 - Consideration
After going through the process of storyboarding your video. We revisit each shot and decide if they could be improved.
At this point, we're being critical of our compositional ideas for each shot and we're reviewing if the shots support the overall tone and narrative for the video. Thing like: should it be at sunrise, or sunset; should we create a tracking text effect to our opening shot rather than having a static title; should we use a the drone for an establishing shot or should we come closer to the ground to inject some energy into the video.
At the same time, we're looking at the finished product. We are re-considering the order of the shots, the pace of the edit, the length of the finished video and if we should apply transitions between certain shots of the video to help the flow.
Considering these points at this stage is vital to creating a high-quality, professional commercial video. If these decisions are made at this point, filming and editing are much easier. Having a reliable storyboard in place is the most effective way to save time later on AND raise production quality dramatically.
Furthermore, some clients like to know how the video will flow and want to make sure that their brand will be accurately represented. The storyboard can be fed back to the client if they want to be involved in the creative process. Really great things can come out of these meetings and we embrace clients that want to bring their own ideas to the table. After all, they know their brand, product and resources better than anyone!
3 - The Shot List
Once we have drafted our storyboard, we begin to create a shot list from the visualization. This is a printed table with a shot-by-shot list of the material that we need to create the video. We get pretty detailed here: what equipment will be best to use; the focal lengths for each shot; whether the shot is static or dynamic; in-focus or blurry, what time of day the shot should take place. We base this on our understanding of storytelling and on our experience over the years.
When it comes to shooting, the shot list will be our bible.
4 - Shooting Efficiently
Most of our jobs have only one day of shooting. Because of this, planning and organization are vital. We turn up with our shot list, a handbook of what needs to be done. We set up our equipment and begin to tick off each shot and each interview in our plan.
We have prepared diligently and we execute the shoot efficiently. This is absolutely vital for two reasons.
Firstly, any videographer should be prepared for the unexpected: a rain storm, an injury, equipment issues. If your videographer has planned thoroughly, these issues should only end up being minor. 80% of the plan will go smoothly and the majority of the work will be done already. If time is of the essence, a strong plan should always account for the unexpected.
Secondly, if we shoot efficiently, that gives us much more time to create B-roll, to capture unexpected moments and to enjoy the day and the creative process. For us, creating videos is both a passion and a job. By using a shot list, we know what we have to do and how we are progressing. We can then use our time to work with our location, get creative with our shots and capture spontaneous moments that we would never have been able to think up in the story-room. This is one factor that separates a good video from a great one, and our planning and storyboarding help us achieve this through the efficiency of our shoots.
5 - Editing With the Storyboard in Mind
Once we're back in the studio with our RAW files and audio clips, we begin to edit the video. We use our original storyboard as a rough template and make sure that all of our shots are align perfectly. We listen to our audio and interviews and construct a story based on our clients' responses. We then review our B-roll footage and include all the extra, spontaneous and creative clips that we were able to capture. This is where the magic really happens. Preparation and creativity combining to tell your story in a unique and emotionally appealing way that is going to see huge returns on your investment.
That's what we love about video marketing. Storyboarding is simply a tool that helps us translate our imaginations into reality.
BEN HEMMINGS MEDIA is a leading videography company based in Toronto. We specialize in creating industry-leading corporate videos, commercial videography, professional photography, travel and tourism videography, real estate videography and building strategic video marketing campaigns for our clients.