Shot Lists and Storyboards
Using shot lists and storyboards can be very beneficial during a video production shoot. Shot lists and storyboards are money-saving ways to up the quality and efficiency of your videos. Even legendary directors, like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas use storyboards to communicate the visions they have for their projects. With a storyboard, your subjects, actors and crew will have a better idea of your vision, which then improves the likeliness of everything running smoothly.
What is a Storyboard?
A storyboard is a series of sketches that represent each scene that must be shot for the video. Each frame or panel shows an angle and composition of that specific shot. The sequence of events on the storyboard shows how the scene will be displayed on screen.
What is a Shot List?
A shot list is simpler than a storyboard. With a shot list, you are only listing, in order, the shots that will take place within each scene.
Together, shot lists and storyboards can help the videographer and crew get everything needed before the shoot begins.
Creating a Storyboard
If you are directing the video shoot, it is important that you are able to successfully translate the written word of a script into stunning images that tell the story effectively. Do this by focusing the attention of the audience on the important moments of each scene.
Say you’re shooting a scene where a man is sitting in a bar alone. The only other person in the bar is a woman shooting pool. Then, another woman walks into the bar and sits with the man and hands him something. He then passes her a book. She begins to smile as she flips through its pages. The man leaves immediately and a moment later, so does the woman that was playing pool.
Unless you use the camera to show the audience what happened step-by-step, they would be stumped. This indeed should be done instead of shooting it in one master shot, as it will also increase dramatic tension as they figure out what’s going on.
How to Get Started
Create a shot list of what’s going on in that scene:
1. Full shot of the bar. This is sometimes called the establishing shot. The man is sitting alone at a table. There is another woman in the bar playing pool.
2. Medium shot. The man looks at his watch.
3. Close up of the watch. It shows the second hand moving past the 12. It’s midnight on the dot. The camera tilts up and focuses on the bar’s door as a woman enters into the bar.
4. Medium shot. The woman sees the man at the table. The camera tracks as she walks over to the table to join him.
5. Medium shot of the woman at the pool table. She is racking the balls and begins shooting them in one by one. She discreetly looks over at the man and woman at the table.
6. Two shot. The man and woman sit on opposite sides of the table. The woman removes a coin from her purse and hands it to him.
7. Medium shot. The man picks up the coin and plays around with it.
8. Close shot of the coin. Zoom in. It has Chinese writing. Whether or not you’d like to reveal what was in the book is up to you.
And so it goes. This example of a shot list makes your video shoot more organized, revealing and understandable to your audience.