Storyboard in advertising

Our experiences with storyboards in advertising productions

“I can’t see that” and “Make this logo bigger, please” are two of the most often used sentences in the creative biz that you can hear from your client. Of course, the client does not have to see it, because it is the job of the creative team to visualize the story to the best of their abilities. Here is where a storyboard proves irreplaceable. A storyboard with drawings or photographs, depending on the project, is a visual starting point, helpful when talking to the client.

A storyboard is also useful earlier on, before talking to the client. It provides the authors of the concept itself the possibility to decide on the visual side of the project. It’s also a great opportunity to have an overall look at the idea, introduce new observations and corrections, if the result does not meet our expectations. Once the storyboard is prepared, the awareness of what the action shot is supposed to look like – the scale, the expected camera movement or the estimated number of extras needed – increases. It may turn out that we are forced to change the main idea partially or completely, as the production of a film having the assumed may exceed the budget even several times.

Establishing a budget and negotiating may become easier, if the client likes our concept. Without an appropriate justification, it will be a challenge to convince the client to rent unusual scenography elements for the set, which at first glance may seem to only be unnecessary additions. What the client sees as redundant may be key to building a consistent message. A storyboard may turn out to be a great means of persuasion, which will shed some light on the concept for him, convince him and justify the costs, without straining the client’s imagination.

It is crucial to match the storyboard to the type of the project we are working on. At OMI, when working on the newest FIBARO campaign (see the results) we decided to use a photo storyboard. The assumption of this campaign was to create a format based on emotions and closeness. It was key to us to show the expected expressiveness to the client as best we could. Thanks to that, this early on in the process we were able to work on the frame types and choose the necessary equipment, which was supposed to emphasize the actors’ emotions. This improved the entire shooting process, providing us with many additional answers, like information concerning the frame, useful for the production designer. Of course, the less commotion on the set, the less overtime is needed and the less costs incurred. In the case of our project for Schwaiger, we used a standard version of a storyboard – with drawings (see the results). In this case, the final result was an animation with linear action, executed within one mastershot. Here, new, improved solutions were born at the stage of the storyboard, and the entire story took 4 m of card stock and 2 weeks of creative work. It required us to draw the frames precisely and predict the movement of the camera, based on which an animatic was created next.

Each project requires loads of compromises to be reached, so solutions such as a storyboard do come in handy, as they facilitate the process of indicating the common ground between the agency, the client and the crew on the set. At the production stage it serves as a suggestion, to keep the balance between the clarity and attractiveness of the message. Officially it is a document (which is often attached to the agreement), which allows us to follow a production path well-understood by all parties interested.