Whether you are assigning your first student video project or teaching students in a media or journalism class, you will want to take note of these storyboarding tips for better video production.
When students are asked to create a video project, many instinctively start thinking about picking up the camera and recording. It’s a natural reflex because they have grown up in a point and shoot world. However, what they really should think about is picking up a pencil and paper to “storyboard” their ideas first, before committing to recording video.
To help teach this concept, SchoolTube University teamed up with Don Goble, an in-class media expert and media instructor at Ladue High School, to create the webinar: Storyboarding Tips for Better Student Video Projects. You can watch this webinar FREE, and all SchoolTube U’s webinars on Teachable.com on Sch
As Don shares in the webinar, Storyboarding is a graphic or visual process of detailing the main actions and settings in a video, shot by a shot, before the recording process takes place. A storyboard shows how a video evolves from beginning to end and for each shot or segment, includes ideas for setting, characters, design, narration/script, and shot selection.
Before the Storyboard – Ideation Phase. Before beginning the storyboarding phase of a project encourage students to start by writing down ideas for their project. As Don suggests in the webinar, he encourages his students “to not edit their brain” in this phase. The goal is to capture many thoughts and ideas, the big picture so to speak, of what the project will convey and to then reference those notes or outline during the storyboard phase.
Storyboard Resources. As shown in the webinar, storyboards can be as simple as squares drawn on paper or Post-it notes stuck on the wall. What matters is the forced organization and process. Storyboarding apps and other online tools can make the process easier, but the key is to not skip the storyboarding step. Even programs like PowerPoint and Excel can be used to create an effective storyboard template. One of Don’s regular projects is a six-word story video and he provides his students with a pre-formatted template which you can find here.
Elements of Storyboard Segments. First, it’s important to note that students do not need to be trained artists for effective storyboarding. The ability to draw a simple stick figure is sufficient! Each storyboard square should represent a major scene change or transition point in the story. Using a pen, pencil or clip art, the student should minimally depict the scene as they envision it. Writing notes on direction, action below or in the margins as needed. The student should also detail the shot type (wide angle, close up, bird’s eye, etc) to be used and describe on-screen graphics or text for each segment. In between each segment, the student should describe their plans for transition, quick cut, fade, or dissolve, etc. The goal is to create a road map for themselves and others to follow. The clearer that roadmap, the easier to get to the final destination.
Revise, Revise, Revise. The main benefit of storyboarding that it allows for fast, inexpensive revision. It is far easier to make changes on paper before committing them to video. Students can visualize their production and seek feedback on creative elements well before the final product takes shape. This review and revision process helps develop the student’s critical thinking process and will save time when creating the final product.
That’s a Wrap!. Because the video production process is being guided by the storyboard, a great deal of time is saved both during and after shooting – especially after. Since the student can visualize the whole project before recording, they have the luxury to make edits and changes as needed. This does not mean that a student must strictly follow the storyboard. Many videographers and filmmakers find that something designed on paper just does not work when it comes to shooting the real thing and they should respond accordingly. By following these tips on storyboarding, your students will have a much more enjoyable project and higher quality outcome.