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Storyboard Templates Aid Creativity and Communication to Filmmaking

Experienced animators, hobbyist filmmakers and cutting-edge Web developers have one common tool in their creative toolboxes: storyboard templates.

The storyboarding process, essentially resulting a series of sketches, makes any type of live action or animated production run more smoothly, since the script is visually interpreted before film begins to roll (literally or figuratively). Besides the creative advantages, this ultimately saves time and money.

Also, with a clear vision down on paper, there are much fewer chances for miscommunication on the set or in the editing room, which means a happier production crew and a near-seamless end product.

The storyboarding process starts with a basic template – often a sheet of letter- or legal-sized paper with a series of boxes or “panels” on it. Each frame is proportionately sized to the production’s needs. For example: widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio), full screen (4:3) or 35mm. Beneath each of these panels is a boxed area for “action notes”: written instructions such as camera angles, perspective, panning, lighting, special shots and so on.

Filmmakers and others can purchase storyboard templates or even download them for free online. These templates are especially popular among student filmmakers, as multiple storyboards are required as part of film school portfolios.

Be sure to consider the aspect ratio when choosing to download a printable template. A 4:3 ratio is appropriate for full-screen projects, including television, but if you’re shooting for widescreen or HDTV, you’ll need 16:9 panel templates.

Even less-serious home videographers or Web site owners can make use of storyboarding when preparing their projects. Once the creative vision is down on paper, new ideas may come to light as the storyboards are viewed and even shuffled around to look at new ways of interpreting the script or goals of the production.

Once the message of a scene is mentally organized with the help of storyboard templates, the storyboard is presented to other members of the production team. Or, aspiring filmmakers may use detailed storyboards in their quest to secure funding for their project. (These are referred to as presentation boards, and prove that “showing” vs. “telling” is often the best way to get one’s story across.) Ad agencies may also use storyboards in pitching commercial concepts to their clients.

Professional storyboard artists may spend untold hours blocking out every scene of a major motion picture, while a hobbyist may get the inspiration he or she needs with just one page full of stick figures and notes.

The storyboarding process is said to date to the Walt Disney Studios of the 1930s and it is still commonplace to sketch out scenes on paper, despite the availability of computer-based storyboards. There’s something special and effective about the tangibility of planning out scenes with paper and pen or pencil, whether it’s 2D or 3D animation, television, the “big screen,” or even stage plays that won’t be filmed at all.

Author by Kevin Savetz

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