Preparation is essential when planning your next film, storyboarding and storyboarding software must be at the forefront of this. The storyboard is essentially a roadmap that will guide you through the story and visualize your script shot by shot.
The storyboard is an essential factor that produces creativity and allows the script to be expressed visually. This saves time and allows the director and cinematographer to plan and capture the scene’s overall feel before production day.
It allows the shoot to run smoothly. Any spontaneous ideas can be catered for due to the efficiency of having a storyboard. The storyboard will free up time for any additional changes as the base of the shoot is already set in stone.
We have reviewed and prepared the storyboard apps for you to do the legwork, and all of Hollywood’s top Directors and Producers use these frequently.
Storyboarding paired with a shot list breakdown is an underrated partnership but one that must happen!
In today’s article, we will look at why storyboarding is incredibly important and the top storyboarding software, apps, and platforms out there.
We’ve reviewed them, so you don’t need to! Scroll below to get started on your storyboarding adventure.
What is Storyboarding?
Storyboarding is a representation of your script that is visual. It is a series of drawings that show how your story will play out, shot by shot. Included in the storyboard are camera direction, the dialogue, and any core movement you wish to add.
The storyboard is paired well with the shot list – this allows you to give a visual aid to the shot list to help everyone envisage your story and bring it to life.
What’s included in the storyboard?
Included in the storyboard are multiple aspects ranging from descriptions to shot specs. Below are the key elements of a storyboard:
- A description of the shot. This includes any relevant information, including movement, action, and dialogue.
- Add arrows to show the direction of the cameras and any movement in each shot.
- Sketches, drawings, or visual references to represent each shot.
- Shot specifications: Lens type, how many cameras are needed? What shot size? What shot angle will be used?
Read More: The fundamentals of storyboarding.
Why should I use a storyboard?
Storyboarding is an essential part of the pre-production process and helps with film production as a whole.
There are many reasons for using a storyboard in the pre-production process, but two reasons stick out immediately. These are efficiency and preparation.
The storyboard allows you to plan out each shot in detail. When it comes to the shoot day, you know exactly how you want to shoot it and what you need to shoot to tell your story in a unique and gripping way.
Ultimately, it saves time and money as you know exactly what you need to bring where everything needs to go and allows the actors to block in rehearsals to know their routine.
Next, it helps with creativity. Creativity, yep kind of the polar opposite of the first two factors, but funnily enough, they complement each other exceptionally well.
The storyboarding process allows you to be more creative on the day of the shoot. As you will have the storyboard and shot list as a reference, you can shoot the planned shots, but due to the storyboard’s efficiency, it frees up time to add additional shots if you see something you like.
Maybe midway through the shot, an actor does something spontaneous in a wide shot, but you feel like a close up of the action will resonate with your audience and take the emotion to the next level.
With time efficiency, you can set that shot up immediately and capture it for your audience to enjoy.
Read More: What is a storyboard?
The Best Storyboarding Software and Apps
Here we have it, the list you have been waiting for. Here are the best storyboarding software and storyboarding apps out there.
ShotPro is a pretty coll storyboarding app. You can scan objects and have them placed within the software as a 3D render. Can help with your storyboard, especially if you’re not the strongest artist (like myself).
It’s easy to use and helps create smooth storyboards to take your scenes from notepad to screen in minutes.
This is one of the pricier pieces of storyboarding software out there, but there is a reason for the price tag. It offers multiple bundles to fit each skill level and price point.
We definitely recommend this software if you have the budget and will be making a lot of content throughout the year to make the price worth it.
It provides you with the most intimate details, including the sun’s positioning for an outdoor shot. This is incredible detail that will help you plan your shoot day to the minute. This detail, combined with a well thought out shot list, will allow you to capture incredibly accurate shots – see the screenshot below.
Cost: $399-$899 – dependent on the package.
StoryBoard Pro by Atomic Learning
StoryBoard Pro is a web-based application that is free of charge. Yep, you heard it – it’s free to use, and it’s one of the best out there.
This is the perfect app for any budding filmmakers or filmmakers looking to produce a short, feature, or commercial. It’s pretty basic but allows you to bring in your images, creating programs like Pixlr or Canva (Free edition).
Worth checking out and will help you build out your film shot to shot.
Storyboard Composer relies on already created imagery. It doesn’t rely on new drawing or crafting any sketches. You can add imagery created on Canva or similar, or you can categorise it using photos you’ve taken to inspire you.
Once you’ve added your images, you have the freedom to add arrows to show movement, animate them, and also any other notes you feel will help.
We liked using this as a mood board as it’s a change from the usual Photoshop mood board we usually produce.
Boords is cool, and the subscription setup is a little different from a lot of storyboarding software out there currently.
Boords is excellent for sharing your work and collaborating with colleagues. You can share your storyboard online or export it with the After Effects plugin. This allows you to collaborate with relative ease, especially if you are all based in different locations.
It’s easy to use and of a high standard. The collaborations are a huge selling point – and the price is incredibly competitive. One we highly recommend.
Cost: Free Trial – then $19/month for Plus version. $24/month for the Team version.
PowerProduction Software offers a wide range of storyboarding tools for filmmakers alike. It has two different subscriptions, StoryBoard Quik and StoryBoard Artist.
StoryBoard Quick offers actual artwork that’s built into the system, so you need absolutely no drawing skills and have already created characters, locations, and props. This allows you to get your storyboards set up and ready to go in a matter of minutes… Well, hours.
StoryBoard Artist offers a detailed, full-featured version of the software. They provide you with 3D characters, frame transitions, and a full feature timeline allowing you to create in-depth, quality storyboards.
PowerProduction Software is typically used by the big named corporations, including Disney, Universal, and 20th Century Fox – it’s an indicator of the quality PowerProduction Software provides.
Cost: $129.99/year for StoryBoard Quick, or $269.99/year for StoryBoard Artist 7.
Studiobinder is up next. They are ideal for collaborating as a team across the pre-production stage. As well as having a solid storyboarding tool, they have additional pre-production tools like call sheets, scriptwriting software, and shot lists that allow you to collaborate with your team.
The storyboarding tool itself allows you to customise every single aspect and visuallise them. You can change aspect ratios, change the order of scenes, as well as being able to add comments across each individual slide in the storyboard.
The collaboration allows you to build a solid storyboard and complement the shot list and any other documents you are building out to make your film.
Cost: Free, or $49/month for Professional or $99/month for Studio.
Yep, we’ve included ourselves. We have set up a free resources area for you to access that includes a storyboard template, as well as other important templates.
At iFilmThings we want to help you improve your filmmaking skills but also provide you with as many free resources as we possibly can to help you achieve your filmmaking goals.
It’s a basic storyboard template, but it does the job!
Clip Studio Paint is a graphic design software primarily used by graphic designers, designers, cartoonists, and comic book creators. However, it’s other use is storyboarding. You can assemble the illustrations into a look book that can be formatted as a storyboard.
The customisation and depth of each image are incredible and will help you develop each shot to the finest detail.
Cost: $49 – $219
Plot is incredibly cost-effective – one of the best-priced storyboard software out there. Plot was actually created out of frustration by Adrian Thompson.
The collaboration aspect is strong, so collaborating with your colleague is easy and setting up each individual storyboard is simple and smooth to set up.
You can easily copy or delete singular scenes without removing notes or having to add text again.
Adrian’s app is definitely built for the user’s benefit, the price is competitive, and the collaboration aspect is brilliant.
Cost: Free, or Premium for $7.50/month
Make Storyboard is a simple piece of storyboarding software but is effective. It allows you to add your images and organise them to fit each scene correctly.
These can be shared with friends and colleagues with the option to comment on each board. Incredibly basic but effective. It gets the job done and perfect for indie filmmakers or filmmakers starting out.
This is a cool, immersive sketch program, ideal for beginning your script to life. You can sketch and draw your storyboard using Paper’s intuitive software. The gesture-based navigation allows you to slide through the software with relative ease and simplicity.
We highly recommend this sketch-based storyboarding software.
Cost: Free-$10 a month.
Artemis Pro storyboarding software is intuitive, feature-packed, and overall pretty cool. We love the fact you can colour grade your imagery in-app. If you have any shots, you wish to include, you can add them to the Artemis Pro app and colour grade to really build out your storyboard. helpful
That’s why it’s an Emmy award-winning piece of software. You’re able to organise your shots one by one and add the finest detail to each scene, including aspect ratios. That’s helopful on set and can save copious amounts of time on the shoot day.
OpenToonz is software primarily for cartoonists creating 2D sketches. You can draw to the finest detail and add notes, as well as adding effects to bring the ideas to life.
It’s perfect for filmmaking on a budget and allows you to create a cool, concise storyboard.
Storyboarding Software – Our Final Thoughts
There are hundreds of storyboarding apps and software out there and deciding what’s right for you can be incredibly hard. One thing to note is when looking to purchase storyboarding software, make sure it fits your budget and the basics of the software suit your needs.
If it’s your first time filming, don’t feel you need to spend hundreds on storyboarding software. A basic sketched storyboard can do the trick. You can build out a great filmmaking pre-production arsenal with free products.
Overall make sure you are happy with the features, and you are comfortable with the price. Then you can get to work on that storyboard and produce the next big hit!
We hope this article on storyboarding software was helpful to you. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this article, and check out our other filmmaking articles and resources on our website.