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Why you need a storyboard. 

Once you’ve written a basic script for your microlearning video, it’s time to create a storyboard.

A storyboard is a graphic representation of how your video will unfold, shot by shot. At first, this may seem like overkill — after all, microlearning videos are often less than a minute long, and the whole point is to keep them tightly focused on one objective. Do you really have to plot out each moment?

In fact, storyboarding is crucial for exactly these reasons. Mapping your video out visually will help you refine your ideas to ensure every video element is doing the work you need it to in the brief span of time you have.

 

Storyboarding can also help you:

  • Get buy-in from stakeholders: While a script can help others conceptualize your video, the visual nature of a storyboard is often a more effective way to bring it to life pre-production. Sharing your storyboard early on in the process will ensure collaborators and decision-makers understand your vision — and make them much less likely to put up a fight down the line.
  • Streamline production: Creating a storyboard forces you to work out a lot of the details of your video ahead of time — what shots you want, what order they’ll go in, what props or tools you need, etc. Storyboarding might also help you realize that you’re missing a key piece of logic or dialogue in your script, or that your visuals don’t tie together as cohesively as you thought. Identifying and working through these problems before you start creating your video will prevent wasted effort later on.  
  • Save time: It’s much easier and less time-consuming to make revisions to a storyboard than a video.

How to Create a Storyboard

Ultimately, a storyboard is a series of images representing each frame of your video. How you put the storyboard together, and how much detail you add, is up you — you can do it on paper, in a word processing program, or using specialized software.

If you prefer pen and paper, here are some templates to help organize your frames. Don’t worry about your drawing skills — stick figures will suffice. Just make sure to leave room to jot down the accompanying text (whether it appears on the screen or is spoken by your characters or narrator) for each visual.

Creating a PowerPoint deck or simple word processing document on the computer is another easy option. For animated videos, you can easily copy and paste screenshots from GoAnimate into a document, accompanied by the text of your script. Specialized software is also available if you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution (check out a few of the most popular storyboarding software here).

At GoAnimate, we put most of our scripts into a two column “audio/visual” table in google doc. The script goes on the left and descriptions of the visuals (or screenshots from GoAnimate), are added to the right. The bigger the project, or greater the number of people involved, the more time we spend on the visuals.

Our talented animation team creates storyboards and animatics (video drafts) like this one:

Not everyone has the time or skill for such storyboards, but this level of detail is especially helpful for complex projects with a variety of stakeholders.

Whatever method you choose, be sure that your storyboard conveys what’s happening in the frame, the setting, which characters are present, any essential props, and what text (if any) will appear on screen and where. You can also include important notes about camera angles and movements, transitions between shots, and any other production or post-production details.

If you’re creating an extensive training program with multiple microlearning videos, consider completing the scripts and storyboards for each unit before beginning production on your videos. This will ensure that all the major topics you want to hit are covered, and that the videos fit together logically with minimal repetition.  

As you storyboard, keep each video’s objective top of mind, and don’t be afraid to make revisions. This early stage of the process is the best time to tweak your visuals and script in order to create the most compelling and effective microlearning video possible.

Once your storyboard is approved, you’re finally ready to create a video! Read on for tips to creating an animated microlearning video.


Read Next: Tips for Creating Animated Microlearning Videos

And don’t miss the previous articles in this series:

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