Share your creative vision with your crew using this free storyboard template.
When it comes to filmmaking, there’s no better way to share your creative vision than to use a storyboard. While shot lists and detailed scripts are important, storyboards visually tell your crew what you’re trying to accomplish. So, whether you’re looking for a free storyboard (download below) or if you’re interested in learning more about how to use a storyboard to your advantage, we’ve created this post to help you, the filmmaker. Let’s begin with some basics.
What is a storyboard?
In s nutshell, a Storyboard is a document that has most of the information a cinematographer would need to shoot a specific shot for a film or video project. Storyboards are often identified by their thumbnail images. In fact, when it comes to big budget features like Lord of the Rings, there are often teams of artists that work tirelessly to create visually stunning storyboards that can inspire the entire filmmaking crew. However, if your drawing skills are anything like mine, then your thumbnails aren’t going to be “visually stunning.” Nonetheless, they can still help convey important framing information to your cinematographer, lighting director, and set designer.
In addition to visual thumbnails, storyboards often have important camera information like lens option, stabilization preferences, and lighting diagrams. Depending on the size and scope of your video project, a storyboard can be as simple as a collection of thumbnails with numbers, or as advanced as a highly detailed diagram of the production layout. The free storyboard template featured in this article would be categorized as a more detailed storyboard when compared to most found on indie productions.
When it comes to filmmaking, there’s no such thing as too much pre-production. By filling out a storyboard for each and every shot, you will save your crew and yourself a lot of wasted time trying to figure out what to shoot next.
When is a Storyboard Used?
Chances are, if you’re working on a legitimate production (from a narrative feature to corporate video) there will be a storyboard. Practically speaking, you should use a storyboard anytime you are working with a crew on something other than a journalistic style documentary. As a director, producer, or cinematographer, you’ll quickly find that if you fail to put your creative vision on paper (or digital screen), confusion will occur which will cost you time on set and altogether lead to a less-than-awesome end result.
Image from Shutterstock
How is a Storyboard Used?
Storyboards aren’t always easy forms to fill out. This is because a storyboard really forces you to take the ideas in your head and put them on paper. This step can be frustrating because often the ideas in our head don’t transfer well on screen. However, if you work it out before you show up on set, it will definitely pay off.
A lot of times filmmakers (especially new filmmakers) will refuse to fill out a storyboard because they feel like it limits the creative process. In reality, a storyboard does the opposite. By filling out a storyboard, you’ll have a jumping-off point when you get on set so that you can focus on being creative and not simply getting all the shots you need.
To fill out a storyboard, simply fill out all of the appropriate boxes. Each storyboard represents one shot, so to save paper you might want to work in a digital format, which is included in the download below. If you don’t know certain information (like the height of the tripod), don’t worry — just leave the field blank.
Try it for yourself! You can download our free storyboard template by clicking the text below. There are two templates included in the download: One to fill out by hand and another to fill out on a computer. You can use Preview on a Mac or Adobe Acrobat on a PC to edit the computer template.
Interested in learning more about storyboarding? Check out a few of the following posts:
- The Benefits of Storyboarding Your Next Film
- Storyboarding Your Film: Tips for Your Next Project
- 10 Tips for Creating Storyboards from Dreamworks
What’s your favorite way to storyboard? Share your experience with us in the comments below.