If you are working with Black Tent Productions on a video project, or plan to in the near future, one of the first things you can expect to see from our creative team is a storyboard. Not familiar with a storyboard? Legend has it the storyboarding process that we know today was first implemented by Walt Disney in the early 1930’s. Created for short productions, such as commercials, promotional videos, and animations, a storyboard is a common format used in the industry to visually represent a scene in relation to dialogue. At Black Tent Productions, we also use storyboards as a format to share video concepts with clients, as well as in the creative and production planning processes.

Once a client approves a concept and script for a video, we begin combining a series of images, scene descriptions, and the script into a storyboard. Photographs, graphics, and illustrations are all common visuals used when creating a storyboard, and the type we use may depend on the project, or the client’s preference. Depending on the project, a storyboard can be created for every scene or just critical scenes in a piece. As a visualization tool for the client, the storyboard allows for changes to the script and scene descriptions early in the process, eliminating costly production changes down the road.

Once finalized, storyboards are also used during the preplanning stages of video production, allowing creative and art direction to align with the director of photography­—insuring that the outcome is what the client is expecting. We also use them to organize the shooting sequence of scenes in an efficient manner to assure production runs smoothly on-location. Few videos are shot in chronological order; instead they are pieced together in production using the final storyboard as a guide. During a video shoot, a storyboard also works as a visual shot list for the production crew, allowing us to keep track of the scenes shot and make notes on scene variations captured.

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An integral part of the video production process, storyboarding is worth the time and effort. One of my favorite parts of a project is looking back through the storyboards of a project and comparing them to the final product. Seeing all the planning and hard work come to together brings a smile every time.