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How Video Scripts and Storyboards Work

For me, cinema is essentially emotion. It is pieces of film joined together that create an idea, which in turn creates an emotion in the mind of the audience. Not through spoken words, but through the visuals. It’s a visual medium. Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock, who was trained as a draughtsman and had worked as a commercial illustrator, was known for storyboarding every detail of his films. But his process began with the script. North by Northwest screenwriter Ernest Lehman said that Hitchcock insisted that the script should describe exactly what is going to be on the screen. “Hitch says it’s a bore for him to get the picture on the screen, because it has all been done already in his office.”

Scripts vs Storyboards for Technology Videos

Whether in the script or the storyboards, directors want to know exactly what a scene will look like before they set it up. So should you.

When I talk with clients about the look and feel they want in a video, their answer often includes the expression “not cartoon-y.” It’s hard to pin down what cartoon-y means in the context of an animated video that tells a story about how people use technology, but it probably has something to do with appealing to reason, not emotion. Or maybe just not “cute.”

Either way, before you see any moving pictures, you should be clear on the look of each scene and how the video will get from one scene to the next.

This can be difficult to do in product videos when the product itself, or the branding guidelines, may be not be fully developed. Still, pay attention to the visual details described in the script — it can save a lot of production time. Revising the instructions given to the storyboard artists is much quicker and easier than revising the work they create.

Storyboard Types

Some animators like to go directly from the script to motion graphics. This is another reason to be sure your script does a good job of communicating — in the visuals — what you want to say.

There are lots of different ways to present storyboards. Pencil sketches can be detailed or loose. Color design frames will probably appear as key frames in the finished video.

More often, you’ll see sketches that show how on-screen action is supported by the words being spoken. This is the best time to make adjustments to the words that will be spoken and the action on-screen.

The next step is usually “design frames” — color illustrations that depict your characters and environments. Often, these illustrations will be used as key frames in the animation. Here it’s not too difficult to make cosmetic changes, but it would be very time-consuming to come up with a whole new visual approach.

Full Animation

Assuming your video is narrated, as most animated technology videos are, the animator will need the recorded narration to sync up words and actions. While creating the finished video is usually the most expensive part of the video production process, it isn’t necessarily the most time-consuming, especially if you’ve put in the time and effort to make sure both the script the storyboards show exactly what you want the audience to see.

Bruce McKenzie

A writer with a background in public broadcasting and corporate marketing communications, Bruce McKenzie pioneered the “2-Minute Explainer®” brand video for technology businesses in 2004. Customers have included numerous enterprise technology companies (Cisco, IBM, BMC, Brocade/Broadcom, Software AG, CA Technologies, CompuCom) as well as B2B startups. Rebranded “Technology Business Video” in 2017, the company today produces a variety of “tactical” videos to reach buying team members throughout the sales cycle. We take everything marketers want to say and transform it into short videos that communicate stuff buyers want to know. It’s basically what good writers do, made visual. Visit to learn more or set up a chat about tactical videos with the Technology Business Video professionals.

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  1. sambhav aggarwal

    No doubt about it video marketing is very important for all the business.

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