21st June 2012

From Disney to Mad Men: Storyboarding Uses and Evolution

You’ve probably heard the term ‘storyboard’ before, and it probably evokes an image of cartoon pictures on a large white board. So what is it? And does anyone still use it? Well, storyboards are illustrations or images put in sequential order for the purpose of pre-visualizing a movie, motion graphic picture, animation video or any sort of online video content. And yes, it is still widely used. Wow, you ask a lot of questions.

Guess who developed the storyboarding process? I’ll give you a hint…

Story Board

Not the mouse, but his creator. That’s right, Walt Disney developed the storyboarding method that has been used in many animation videos and live action videos since, including a fan favorite, Gone with the Wind. Storyboarding is used in film, theater, animation, comic books and, perhaps most popularly, advertising campaigns. If you’re a Mad Men fan like me, you have surely seen their storyboards, sometimes being ripped apart, other times being praised.

The advantage of storyboards is that they allow a visual thinking and group planning. Creative employees can brainstorm and put their ideas on storyboards and rearrange them, fostering more ideas and eventual consensus. In terms of online video ads, storyboards allow clients to see what the video will look like pre-production. And let’s face it, the last thing you want is a dissatisfied client post-production….really in general, but especially not at the end. Storyboarding shows the visual style of the video and how the video will process, minimizing disconnect between the client and the production company.

So, if you’re going to create online videos, and you want to get it just right, try using storyboarding to pre-empt the process. There are numerous sites that give you blank storyboards such as this one:

That way you don’t even have to create your own template, just pop in your animation and get the process rolling. Now that you know what storyboarding is, check back next week for advice on how to storyboard!

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About the Author

Anish hails from London and holds a degree in software engineering from the University of Manchester. Following his education, he worked for several years in the financial industry as a platform administrator before founding Revolution Productions in 2008. In addition to over seven years of video production, Anish is seen as an industry professional, adding his insight in publications such as VentureBeat, ReelSEO and Wistia.

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