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How to Create a Storyboard in a Video Production?


Student in Mass Communication with a keen interest in Production process.



Storyboards are visual organizers that depicts what,where and how the story will be like at the "paper" stages.

Its typically a series of illustrations that display the sequences of the video/movie for the purpose of pre-visualizing a video, web-based training or interactive media sequence.

Storyboards as the name suggests, is a "paper" version of the story, its more like a guidance for the production so that the production team understands what and how the story goes from part to part.

The earliest known storyboard was from Walt Disney who started using storyboard for his films and from then on, every film used storyboard as the guidance material for the production.

An example of Spider-man 2's storyboard

Storyboard from Spider-man 2 in 2004

Storyboard from Spider-man 2 in 2004

The types of mediums that use storyboard

  • Film
  • Television
  • Animation
  • Fiction
  • Business
  • Interactive Media
  • Web Development
  • Software design
  • Instructional design and technology

"There is no right or wrong way to storyboard, developers and instructional designers use a variety of different templates and methods"

— Nicole Legault

The Reasons To Use Storyboards


Storyboards help the subject matter expert or SME fill in their expert content. Adding to that, the designer can rearrange the content into an effective sequence, which means drawing out the closest looking design to emulate the film scene. This requires a lot of imagination.

The storyboard can then be given to a developer who will use it as a blueprint to develop the final product, this enhances the storyboard, thus, making it easier for everyone to understand and execute the plan.

Lastly, storyboards are there to assist the instructional designer in sequencing the instruction.

Basically storyboard create a flow, a flow that an instructional designer can understand and tell the rest of the crew how the story should be like when filmed.

What are the elements to be included in a storyboard?


Navigation -Storyboards need to have a navigation, what comes before this part, what comes next after that part, is there a different angle ahead? and etc.

Graphical use interface - Basically, when drawing a storyboard, one needs to be drawing it as precise as possible. This is to spread the imagination of how that particular part should be.

Course contents - This is more like the description of the content, how the camera angle should be?, how the lighting should be? what are the dialogues?

The frame, outline and table of contents - When one is filming a movie, the storyboard is done part by part, therefore, it is important to provide the table of contents and a simple outline for each part.

Quizzes/Testing - This part helps the most with knowing how the scene will go from the storyboard, it is basically the real life version of your imagination, also, its the part where you can fix the part if there is any error.

Audio scripting - Besides the normal script, audio scripting is needed in a storyboard in order to tell what part needs this audio. Audio is crucial to a movie, so its best to make sure that the audio suits the part.

Learning objectives - What can we learn from this story? what can we learn from the movie or video itself. These are the objectives that will need to be added into the storyboard for everyone's reference.

Module name - Last but not least, the most important element to a storyboard, the name. Without the name, nobody knows what are you producing.

Guidelines to a storyboard design


Firstly, to make sure that the media used will support the learning objectives from the story you're making. Its not right to put an Action movie into a sports channel.

For interactive media, you'll need to minimize the text and images occurring at the same time.

Once or twice is still alright, be sure not to be repetitive with your text and images. One example we can take from here is the Info graphics show on you tube.

When it comes to quizzes and testings, its best to make sure they are aligned with the learning objectives.

Lastly, its important to understand what you are planning to produce before producing it, this gives viewers a perception that you have a valid evidence of understanding towards that topic.

Cognitive load theory

The process of Cognitive load theory

The process of Cognitive load theory

Storyboards use the theory of Cognitive load theory, which is a theory that looks at our cognitive reaction to stimuli using the sensory memory, short-term memory and long term memory.

There are 3 types of cognitive loads which are:
Intrisic cognitive load - The effort associated to a certain specific topic.

Extraneous cognitive load - Refers to the way an information or task is presented to a leader.

Germane cognitive load - Refers to the work put into creating a permanent store of knowledge.

For more information on Cognitive Load Theory, check out this site.

Some of the tools to create storyboards


Microsoft Word - You may use Microsoft Word for writing purposes, however, Microsoft word is one good way to create a storyboard.

Normally we'll use Microsoft word if we have a picture of the scene in hand, if you don't have a picture, the next option will be better for you.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Microsoft PowerPoint is commonly used when there is or isn't a picture readily available for you when you make a storyboard.

Using the shapes available in PowerPoint, you can make detailed stick man figures of the storyboard. Also, if you're presenting the storyboard virtually, you can use Microsoft PowerPoint.

Some of the tools to create storyboards for e-learning or info graphic slides:

Powtoon - Powtoon is an app to create info graphic slides for e-learning, you can use it to create storyboards for movies as well but it is best for e-learning.

Canva - Canva is a free-to-use simple graphic design app, you can make and draw your storyboard on this app but to present it and compile it, you'll still need to use your good old friend, Microsoft PowerPoint.


To conclude, there is not a doubt that storyboards are important to a media production and its crew.

This is one way a person can communicate with their crew-mates on what and how to create a particular part.

When we make a storyboard, it tells the story from the paper before making it a real-life story when the rest of the production gets involved.

The next time you watch a movie, just remember that a story started from a storyboard.

© 2020 Nigel Koay

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