Storyboarding Alternatives

Before the word ‘storyboard’ scares you off: first and foremost, you don’t necessarily need to produce a storyboard in the traditional sense i.e. with an illustrator and pencil sketches and the whole shebang all the time. Here are a few alternatives:

Audio-Visual Script: For Those Going Solo

If you’re doing more straight-to-camera type of content i.e. tutorial videos, vlogs, reviews, a full-fledged storyboard might seem like overkill, though it still helps to at least break down all the different cutaways you need to tell your story or make your point. For this purpose, you can even just go with something called an Audio-Visual Script: essentially breaking down your whole video into 2 columns, one for the visuals, and the other for your script. This will guide the flow of your content, as well as dictate all the different shots that you need to fill up your video.

Director’s Notes: For Those with a Crew

If you’re aspiring to do something more elaborate with higher production value and bigger scale i.e. comedy sketches or short film type of content, then it would help to fill out your Director’s Notes with as much details as possible, i.e. the mise-en-scene (composition of your shot), placement of your camera, actors and background elements. The idea is to paint as clearly as possible the space where you will be shooting and the spatial relation between all the various components of your scenes. Having your video visualized in front of you this way will pay off in a big way during your shoot and in the editing room.

Time Tags: For Both Cases

As much as possible, try to have a rough idea of how long you want your video to be, and subsequently how long each segment should be in your storyboard. This will enforce an approximate time scheme of what scene will happen at what time and for how long, and then plan your script and content according to that. The timings will most likely be subject to changes during post-production, but this is good practice as it forces you to trim as much fat from your video as possible before you even start shooting, and you’re left with only the most crucial and concise when you’re editing.