If you’re a business owner, you might want to consider stepping up your brand’s online video strategy. A recent study showed that 80% of consumer traffic comes from video content—and it’s about more than just traffic, too. Video is a powerful medium for connecting with audiences, building a brand, and crafting a robust marketing strategy.

But creating a video isn’t as simple as picking up a camera and pressing the record button. The best videos require a thorough planning and storyboarding process that maps out dialogue, visualizes camera angles, and anticipates all the little details in advance.

Storyboards 101 

A storyboard is the graphic shot-for-shot plan of a video. They look similar to comic strips, with each box showing a different shot. Each sequence box has a corresponding audio cue, whether that’s a line of dialogue or sound effect.

It should feel as though you’re watching a video in slow motion when you read through a storyboard. The boxes won’t just outline the overarching plot—they should plan out every different camera angle, spoken dialogue line, and sound effect.

A storyboard is crucial for mission success. If you start trying to film a video without a detailed plan, you risk wasting time and money. Storyboarding allows you to play with shot and script ideas before the shoot in an organized structure—and make sure the ideas in your head can actually become reality.

Another key reason you should learn how to make a storyboard is to help you convey your idea to other people. Whether it’s other members of your team or an agency professional, storyboards force creators to focus on how to visually convey a brand’s message. It’s the best way to share your vision and make sure that everyone is on the same page (literally) before the cameras start rolling.  

How To Make A Storyboard

Learning how to make a storyboard isn’t difficult; you just need to practice and learn the craft. 

Our team at Slice has broken the process down into four easy steps so you can start planning your marketing video today. 

Step 1: Plan Your Template

A blank storyboard template can be made with a simple pencil and paper or with any number of free storyboard makers you can find online. 

Before getting started, you need to define a few things:

  • What’s your purpose and who’s your audience? Knowing your purpose and key message beforehand will help you in evaluating if your storyboard is effective. Make sure you have answers to these questions you need to ask before starting a video project.
  • What elements do you need to identify in each shot? Typical elements of a storyboard will include the shot number, extra space for descriptions of sound effects, visual effects, and any details that are important to know but can’t be conveyed through a rough sketch. Knowing what you need to define beforehand will keep you from forgetting important details.
  • Length of video. Are you storyboarding a 15 second commercial or a 2 minute training video? This will inform how many shots your commercial should have and how long the dialogue should be.

Now that you know what will be included in your storyboard, you can draw each box or use an online template maker. If you’re going to draw your own, here are some tips:

  • Start by drawing a series of boxes onto your paper. (If you know which camera you’ll be using to create your video, these boxes should ideally have the same aspect ratio).
  • Each box will show a different camera shot. If you’re not sure how many boxes you’re likely to need yet, start off with 8-10. You can always draw more later if you decide you need them. 
  • Always make sure that there is enough white space around your boxes. You will need some space above to write any captions or dialogue and the shot number, and any other information. 

Step 2: Add Your Captions or Dialogue 

Does your marketing video contain spoken dialogue? A voice-over? Captions that will pop  up on the screen? Some combination of all of these?

You’ll need to know how your marketing video’s visual elements will correspond to the audio – even if you’re planning to dub the sound later. 

Above each box, write down everything that your audience will hear while they are watching. This will give you an idea of how your video’s visual elements will fit together once it’s produced. 

Remember that if a line of dialogue is split over more than one shot, you will need to show this in your storyboard. Write the first half of the line above the first box and the second half above the next (and so on if necessary). 

Step 3: Draw in Your Action

Now that you’ve drawn your boxes and written your dialogue, it’s time to fill in the gaps! The next step of learning how to make a storyboard is to sketch the action of your video. 

In each box, draw a rough idea of each shot as it would appear in a video. Don’t worry about having perfect drawings; it’s completely fine to use stick figures, vague shapes, and arrows to show movement if you’re not a natural artist. You may want to use arrows and comments in the margins to indicate what’s what.

Step 4: Include Extra Details

Around the edge of your boxes, you can add in any extra details. This could be comments about the lighting, ideas for visual effects, or anything that you’ve been unable to convey through pictures. 

Don’t worry about getting every last detail figured out at this stage. A storyboard is designed to be an aid to your creative process, so you’ll probably draw up several different drafts before you’re happy with your completed storyboard and make changes during filming.

A storyboard is a planning tool, not a set-in-stone deal. But having one—or many drafts—is important before filming begins.

We’ll Help Bring Your Storyboard to Life 

Whether you’ve got your storyboard and need a video production team to make it a reality or you’re stuck in the planning stage, Slice is here to help.

We know how to produce video content that conveys a brand’s unique qualities and message. We can work with you to develop a shoot that sells your products and connects you with a larger audience—and we’ll handle the storyboards, too.

Contact us today to find out how we can create a marketing video that will boost your brand.