storyboardStoryboards, as we know them today, were developed at the Walt Disney Studio during the early 1930s and are used in many fields including film, theatre and video work. Though you wouldn’t use a storyboard for a talking head video, they are a must for animated and screencast videos.

A storyboard is a document that matches visuals with text descriptions. It’s the first step in creating and planning your video. Think of it as your video’s visual ‘blueprint’. They can be hand drawn, created with special software, PowerPoint, or MS Word and are laid out vertically in 2 columns OR horizontally in 2 rows (like a comic strip).

Imagine a table where you have 2 columns – one for text and the other for visuals.  Each row would include the script of what will be said at that particular point in the video, matched to an image to illustrate “what” the video will look like and/or a description of what’s happening in that clip.

Why should I care about the storyboarding process?

Storyboarding helps you to plan and brainstorm an idea visually, giving you the opportunity to make edits and changes before the labour-intensive video work has begun.

When planning a video, the work done at the storyboard level is very important. Ignoring this step of the process or taking it lightly can have a negative impact on the entire video project.

Imagine what would happen if someone was building a home, but didn’t bother taking the time to perfect the blueprint. The chances that something will have to be undone and redone are very high, with the results being labour intensive and costly.

The same could happen when creating a video.  It’s important for you to take an active role in the planning process of your video. When you receive the storyboard, review it, make suggestions, ask questions and only approve it when you feel it illustrates how you want the final product to look. If you have specific ideas, a certain type of music, pictures or images that you want to use in the video, this is the time you need to share them – before the video work has begun. Otherwise, a lot of time, effort and research finding the elements that were initially approved will be wasted, as well as the time it will take to completely undo and redo parts of that video.

While minor ‘tweaks’ to a video are part of the normal process, there are certain changes to a video’s ‘structure’ that can cause a major upset. This screencast will show you how even a minor change can have a huge impact on a video project and why it can be so costly and time-consuming.

Advantages of storyboarding

  • it’s a visual way to portray the basic idea or concept of a video
  • helps to illustrate how the final product will look
  • Gives the opportunity to problem solve what will work and what won’t
  • Saves time, because all the planning has been done and finalized before production has begun
  • Saves money.  It’s less expensive to make changes to a storyboard than to make changes to an already produced video

Have you worked with someone on a storyboard for your video project? Do you create your own storyboards before you create your videos? How have they helped?  Please feel free to share your thoughts below.


Debbie Lapointe, owner of Screencast Solutions, is a professional screencast video producer and the first Virtual Assistant in Canada to offer screencast video services exclusively.