Storyboards: The Fusionfarm Method

POSTED BY Michael Zydzik - 08.13.15 - Creative

StoryboardPhotoCreating effective videos that tell our clients’ unique stories is a rewarding journey that involves careful planning and numerous steps. At Fusionfarm, we ensure that the client and creative team share a unified vision before the cameras ever start rolling.

One of the vital techniques we use to communicate that vision is storyboarding. A storyboard allows clients to pre-visualize and agree on a concept early in the creative process.

Every video project is about storytelling, and a storyboard helps organize the imagination in order to bring that story to life. Storyboards can range from quick stick-figure sketches that depict the basics of a scene to more elaborate designs that convey complex actions and emotions. The type of storyboard we create is typically based on the individual project and the intended audience.

Why Use a Storyboard?

From commercial spots to web videos, animations and documentaries, the storyboard is instrumental in bringing form to vision. The storyboarding process actuates the brain in order to bring clarity to ideas derived from our lateral ideation sessions. The result is a ‘big picture’ view for the project stakeholders and a guide for the creative team to move forward with their ideas.

Storyboarding is also useful for preproduction planning, as it allows the creative team to understand needs and unknowns prior to shooting. Some key points storyboards help account for include:

  • Scene compositions and camera framing
  • Locations
  • Casting
  • Props
  • Lighting and equipment
  • Special effects
  • Scene transitions
  • Audio cues

Due to their flexibility storyboards save time and cost – it’s far easier, faster, and cheaper to make an adjustment on paper early in the process than it is to re-schedule, re-shoot, and re-edit later on when deadlines are approaching.

Storyboarding For Clients

When storyboarding for a client we focus on key scenes, narrative beats and emotional touchstones that demonstrate the plot development and flow of the story. We can easily make revisions to the storyboard based on client feedback. This collaborative process ensures that we stay focused on delivering the most effective message.

Storyboarding For the Creative Team

Storyboarding helps the creative team shape ideas and develop the story by tying visuals and audio to a script. Storyboards also allow the team to pre-edit a video, quickly reorganize scenes, and plan for unknown gaps and transitions. When using flashbacks or shifting perspectives, storyboards keep the timeline defined and organized.

Storyboarding Techniques at Fusionfarm

Keyframes

Most of our video projects begin with a concept keyframe. A keyframe utilizes a single image, simple outline and key creative points to summarize the story and tone of a concept at a glance. This high-level view allows the client and creative team to understand and sign off on a direction before more details are fleshed out.

Traditional Storyboard

Once the client has signed off on a concept keyframe, the creative team may then develop a traditional storyboard to depict the action of each scene as seen from the audience perspective. The details of the storyboard depend on the complexity of the ideas that must be conveyed to the client and the rest of the creative team. 

Thumbnails

Thumbnails are very simple sketches shared among the creative team to quickly convey or test basic ideas. Thumbnails are efficient for a team that understands the shorthand of storytelling through video.

Test Shots

Some ideas require testing to see if they are viable to effectively communicate a story. Test shots may be only a few seconds long, such as a quick 3D animation to illustrate a special effect or a complex transition technique.

Having a storyboard planned ahead of time makes for an efficient shoot and production. A great storyboard also serves as a time- and cost-savings measure that’s good for both us and our clients. From the client to the art directors to the editor, a storyboard is a collaborative effort that builds a shared visualization and a strong creative team. Call us today to get started on your business' next great video.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Zydzik

Michael Zydzik

As Fusionfarm's creative director, Michael directs his team creatively. He also leads branding and marketing strategy efforts, multi-media advertising campaigns, client pitches and presentations. He has two rescue dogs he refers to as his "kids" named Noodles and Monroe.

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