Scripts, Storyboards & Shot-Lists: Essential Tools on the Yellow Brick Road to a Successful Production
The pre-production stage of any project is the most integral step in creating a well polished video. It is the catalyst which propels the rest of the production, and truly informs each step afterwards. There are a variety of tasks which need to be accomplished within this stage. Depending on the project this may include; defining the concept, location scouting, scheduling of crews, casting, and of course most importantly, the creation of scripts, storyboards, and shot-lists.
However, not all video productions are created equally. Many of our clients have heard these terms thrown around, and yet aren’t fully aware of their salience, or even the reason for them, depending on their project. Here is some insight into why each of these tools can be a great asset for your production, and when they are needed, or not.
The major component of any script is action and dialogue. They are a way to express what you want to see, and what you want to hear in your video. #Scripts aren’t always necessary for every type of production, but an outline of your video is. For example, if you plan on utilizing interview footage as the main dialogue in your video, it would be pretty difficult to script out exactly what someone you are interviewing is going to say. Although, you can put together an outline, which details the questions you want to ask your interviewees, as well as your expected outcome. Scripts and outlines are thus a way to prepare for what you wish the final product to look like.
#Storyboards can be a great visual to accompany your script, or even by themselves. Most often, scripts are born out of the initial concept, and then storyboards are created afterwards in order to help the production team visualize the desired outcome. In certain instances, you may have a general idea of how you want the visuals to play out in your video, but don’t yet have a definitive script in place. This is okay too. Storyboards can also help mold the story. Once you know how you envision the visual storyline, the script will follow.
Storyboards are often less necessary than scripts or shot-lists. They are a useful tool, however, in some cases a shot-list will suffice in getting the vision across to the production team. Storyboards are important when there is a larger crew involved, or a very specific look that you want to ensure you accomplish.
Shot-lists are an exceptionally important tool for virtually all video projects. Even in their most basic form, they allow the production team to be aware of the scheduling for the day, and provide direction to what they will be filming.
A detailed project requires a more detailed #shot-list. For example, if you have a tight schedule and a lot of shots to get done in a day, then the shot-list will be a guide as to how long you can spend on a certain shot, the action in the shot, the camera movement, and an array of other things. It is also helpful in arranging the shoot based upon location, talent needed, lighting set-ups etc. Therefore, even if you do not have a script or storyboard for your video, a shot-list in of itself can be a very useful tool.