Making Storyboards with Excel and Adobe Premiere

First part of a story board software is an ability to make frames. You can sketch them really easy or painstakingly model every frame in 3 D, which is an overkill.

Once you have all frames collected, then comes the the second part of a story board program and it’s even more important then the first part: Arranging frames in a proper way to get the right rhythm.

Storyboard in Celtx

I want to print the storyboard in different ways. According to locations, or according to time – Day, night shots, or by appearance of actors or even by framing of shots. And this is impossible to do in Celtx. I like to write additional brainstorm notes about the shots and I can do it only in the main frame. Celtx is very basic and a free program but useless for storyboarding.
I can play my storyboard at the end but it is totally basic, just a slide show. You can not control duration of each frame. You can not ad sound to it, so useless again.

Storyboard in Excel

For me the best program for arranging frames is Excel. I can have as many columns as I like and i can rearrange them easily.
The only problem is that Excel doesn’t work well with pictures. But there is an awesome little add-in program which is called Excel Image Assistant which makes Excel ideal for arranging storyboard frames.
First you must arrange the cells in excel so they all have the same hight.
Before you import the frames make sure they are in the same resolution.
All pictures should have the same aspect ratio. 16:9 is the most common of course.
That way you get all pictures aligned in Excel.
After you imported all pictures you should not move or resize them.
if you do it than Excel could act strange.
When you put together your storyboard you want to see how it looks. Instead of a slide show it’s best to use Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects for that.
I just edit all frames there, ad music, transitions and I can see what’s working and what’s not.
In order to finish the story board you should go back and forth from Premiere to Excel until you are not satisfied with the final result.
For production purposes you can print the story board as you like:
  • According to location,
  • Actors appearing in the shot,
  • Exterior interior,
  • By framing,
  • By night or day shots,
  • By location
After you shoot the video the final editing will look different but you would know exactly what you are doing. Very practical.

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