Creating a storyboard supports your team to ’see’ the shots in your film. We recommend you create a digital storyboard from photos. A quick and effective method is to take photos to represent each shot and create a digital storyboard in Comic Life.

Storyboarding tips
Example videos


Storyboarding tips

Storyboarding helps to visualize the story and the running order of each scene of your film.
Once you have your 5 point plan, make a shot list
. Shoot several stills for each of your story scenes with a digital photo camera
. Upload to computer and arrange photos in sequence.
In Ngarrindjeri Ruwe – Working On Country the team used a very clear storyboard to build their nursery and greenhouse sequences.

Prepare your storyboard before you start shooting, it helps to decide the running order beforehand and how shots can fit best next to each other.
Drawing skills are not essential; you can draw stick figures to show if the scene is a wide shot, close up or mid shot.

For the binge-drinking awareness project Don’t be That Guy, we used very simple whiteboard drawings to set up our storyboard with the community participants. Make sure to take photos of your whiteboards so you can easily access them later.

Storyboard example from Don't Be That Guy - see also final storyboard example download below:





This is also a great chance to try out how your location and characters come across on screen.
You may want to mock-up some of the scenes, it is often difficult to plan ahead in documentary, so try to take photos of possible scenarios.
 Include as many interesting angles as possible.
It is very helpful for your camera team on the real shoot, when they can see a close up and wide shot of your character – with a note underneath the 2 photos, you can indicate a pull-out motion or a push in camera movement. Have a look at the video below on tips how to upload photos and use ComicLife to set up your own storyboard using digital photos.


Shot sizes:
Wide shot
In a wide shot you see your subjects’ entire body.


Mid shot. 
In a mid shot you get closer with the camera and so you only see the top or bottom of the person in the shot.


Close up
Cutting to a close-up helps show the emotion of your subject.


Extreme close up
. Extreme close ups show details.


Cut-away shot
. Cut-aways are often used to cover up edit points of the same shot.
They add extra details and dramatic effect. Cut-Aways offer further details you don’t see in your main shot. In an interview for instance, they may show what the person is talking about.


Cut-In shot
. Cut-Ins are detailed, tighter shots of something that is already in the frame – and that give more information about the scene you are presenting, such as a clock or photo in the room. It also directs attention to details, like clues in a ‘whodunit’.


Point of view or POV shot
. Point of View shots are used to show what the subject in the shot would see from their position. This can include part of their head as an ‘over-the- shoulder-shot’ or simply be shot as seeing through their eyes. Use handheld techniques to make it more life like.


Example videos

Jen demonstrates how to create a storyboard in ComicLife. She creates a folder system to store his media, uploads stills from a digital camera to computer and arranges the images and text to create a storyboard to print and take on location.

How to convert your story to film.
 Johanis demonstrates the basics on how to convert your story into film language.

Johanis explains screen language essentials.
This tutorial covers lighting, camera angles, 3-D of space, depth of field, rule of thirds, breathing space and other screen-language basics.

Owen discusses storyboarding.

Don't Be That Guy storyboard example.


Find other useful web resources here:
Wikipedia Definition and history of a story board.

Advanced computing center for the arts and designs website shows a good process for storyboarding coupled with visual examples.

Preproduction with professor Monkey shows and encourages the use of storyboards.
Story board artist Josh Sheppards website, with archives and examples of his professional storyboard work.

Knight Digital Media Center explains use of storyboards.
Developing a storyboard by John Lycette , from the ABC website





Recent Project: The Loop

Auteur Lorcan Hopper is a proud disabled man who will stop at nothing to see his semi-autobiographical soap opera brought to life.

The Loop is an absurd journey into disability, authorship and representation. First-time television director Lorcan Hopper twists the world of soap operas to share his experience of disability. But with a documentary team filming Lorcan’s every move, can the cast and crew match the intensity and professionalism he demands? Heartfelt, hilarious, and always unexpected, The Loop is soap opera like you’ve never seen it.


Developed during a series of disability rights awareness and digita... read more


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