How storyboards strengthen video content

Published Jan 20, 2017 | Written by Jeremy Knight

Graphic heavyweight Saul Bass is a design staple - a real class act. The defiant simplicity of his posters and title sequences have inspired swathes of creative activity across the years. With the popularity of vector-based software (like Adobe Illustrator) and a fashionable distaste for fussiness, flat design has been strikingly prevalent online. Its minimalist roots can be traced to Bass.

Saul Bass was an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, yet his involvement in pre-production is understated in the history books. Bass worked extensively on storyboards for the silver screen - take for example, Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’. Incredibly, he can be credited with sketching the infamous shower scene.

Hubspot states that more video content is uploaded to the web in a single month than TV has created in 3 decades. In respect of this, it is crucial that your contributions are exceptional - else they will be drowned out. This article by Dennis Dicloudio prompted me to consider just how integral a good storyboard can be to the success of a video. 

Storyboards are used in film and animation to outline projects and communicate basic structure. They spring to life before any other components have been assembled. The artwork provides a visual target. They encourage you to imagine what is achievable and couple art with basic, useful instruction. 

Frame by frame, storyboards support communication within a team and act as something tangible for clients to base their expectations on. Storyboards are something that can be pointed to mid-conversation - a placeholder and shared vision. This kind of open, visually-supported discussion highlights misunderstandings, rids assumption and provides a solid foundation for the project. 

Storyboards are visual storytelling. They help to clarify objectives, prioritise efforts and, consequently, amplify your message. Video is a powerful way to connect with your audience and storyboards are a great way to keep the work on track.

There are many questions that need answering prior to the shoot, and a good storyboard will force you to consider the more practical elements. I often stumble upon problems quite unwittingly, just trying to draw them. Formal elements, like presentation, content, length and location need ironing out early on. Editing around poor planning is ineffective. Overlooking details can be costly. 

Sketching out your plan is helpful in defining your time frame, and in turn substantiates your budget. It gives you parameters to work to, and after the work is complete you can sign off on your product with confidence. It is visual confirmation that you’ve delivered on the brief.

I also think it’s pretty neat that you end up with beautiful, bespoke artwork to look at, but I would say that, wouldn’t I. 


“Interestingly enough, the storyboard… that I did for Psycho went precisely as I laid it up, and there was no change on that,” Bass explains in a television interview unearthed by Eyes On Cinema. “And frankly, I myself at that point didn’t even really understand the impact that some of these things would have. I thought it was a neat little murder, and I thought it was pure. I liked its purity. I must say that when it appeared, when I saw the thing in the theater, it really scared the hell outta me. And apparently of everybody else.”

Published by Jeremy Knight January 20, 2017
Jeremy Knight