Completing the script for your film, commercial, or short video is only the first step toward the start of production. To further streamline your vision for the shoot, you then need to create a shot list. This ensures you’re using your time on set to max efficiency and capturing all the necessary footage. A shot list keeps you organized, but further translating your shot list into a storyboard adds a level of detail that makes your shoot that much more efficient. 

The comic book version of your production

While storyboarding isn’t a required element for a video production shoot, it can be an invaluable tool in helping you realize exactly what you want out of each shot. Just imagine being able to visualize what your entire production will look like before you’re even on set. 

Think of storyboards like the comic book version of your production. Storyboarding is the act of drawing out what each shot will look like. It tells your story shot-by-shot and creates a visual reference to the story. This helps, at the earliest stage possible, to keep shots organized while getting you thinking about how everything will look. 

Most importantly, storyboards help you avoid the dreaded “I don’t like they way this scene looks” comment on set. Once you’re actually on set, changing the way a scene looks can be complicated, expensive, and time-consuming. Getting a sense of the how the project looks before filming begins gives everyone involved the chance to sign off on the concept before investing in the set.

What can storyboards look like?

Varying in complexity, storyboarding can feature any level of artistic skill. Anything from stick figures to detailed computer renders can make for an effective storyboard. They can be hand-drawn, created using 2D or 3D animation, or even cobbled together by dragging and dropping pre-made images. Regardless of the level of detail your storyboard has, it will give you an idea of what the project will look like and how the overall content will flow.

Benefits of storyboarding

Storyboarding doesn’t just help map out your production and give you time to review your visual approach before shooting. It also:

  • Saves time – knowing what needs to happen while on the set before you even arrive saves you from having to experiment with lots of different shots. No extra time is necessary to adjust lighting or move set pieces around. All of that gets figured out during the storyboarding process.
  • Creates an element of predictability on set — this is especially helpful with clients who are new to video production. The storyboard can help them fully understand the technical elements of their production and visualize the final outcome. They’ll worry less on set and not feel like they have to second-guess the choices they’re making.
  • Helps manage expectations — seeing what will take place before the shoot gives people realistic expectations of the process. They’ll understand what the footage will look like, and won’t be surprised or disappointed with how the day goes because they’ve already seen it all laid out in a storyboard.
  • Ensures cohesion with client’s vision — the biggest challenge in helping someone else realize their vision is the possibility of not getting it exactly right the first time around. This can lead to expensive and time-consuming reshoots. Including the storyboarding phase in the pre-production process minimizes that risk. The client is able to visualize the project in advance, and sign-off on the plan when it looks right to them. Making changes at this stage doesn’t interfere with the actual filming.

The right storyboarding partner

Familiar with every type of storyboard, ECG’s staff artists can create storyboards for any and all specific needs. Our vetted team of freelancers help us provide high-quality storyboards tailored to each client. Whether working in-house or signing-on additional talent, ECG can get the right level of detail for your storyboard. With experience storyboarding for narrative productions, documentaries, animations, and more we can give your project visual representation during pre-production to save you time and money once you’re on set.

To learn more about how ECG can help you throughout your entire production process, contact us today.