Today, video can help marketers do a lot of things – it can help explain your product or service, it can increase traffic to your website, and it can even convince people to buy a product.
94% of people watch explanatory videos to learn more about a product or service. Even if you have a strong written content strategy in place and not using video, you will lose traffic to more video-heavy competitors.
Your company is likely already using video marketing. However, using storyboarding software to schedule your videos for optimal success? Or do you draw recordings with your hands or write a script and inspire the rest?
In this post, we’ll dive into storyboarding and cover some of the best storyboarding tools that can help you make better marketing videos.
What is storyboarding?
Storyboarding is the process of sketching the course of a marketing video, animation, or movie. A panel is assigned to each scene or shot, and each panel contains a visual sketch or photo of the concept. You can insert dialogs, notes, audio, and more into each panel.
Storyboarding isn’t just for filmmakers and animators. Marketers can use storyboards to create engaging marketing campaigns and ads.
The best part is that you don’t have to do this manually. A storyboarding software tool usually offers pre-made images and characters that you can use to bring your idea to life.
Whether you are using video for training, sales, or demo purposes, storyboarding can reduce the time-consuming nature of video preparation while improving the overall quality of your video and reducing production errors.
If you’re looking for a tool to take your video production process to the next level, check out our list of the best storyboard software – whatever your budget.
Best storyboard software
1. Wonder Unit storyboarder
Storyboarder is open source and free, which makes it one of your best options if you are on a smaller budget. The program has a clear interface with all the necessary tools so that you can draw shapes and characters quickly and easily. You can also write dialogues and enter time information and recording type.
Storyboarder works with Photoshop, which means you can edit your board more precisely in Photoshop and it will automatically update in Storyboarder. With this software, you can export to Premiere, Final Cut, Avid, PDF or animated GIF.
Pricing: Free of charge
Adrian Thompson made animated videos for seven years and “despised the hassle of editing a basic storyboard template.” His frustration led him to create Plot, a free and fast storyboard maker with impressive users like Vistaprint and Workday.
Each function aims to make your process as quick and efficient as possible. You can add and delete scenes without copying and pasting text, embed images from anywhere on the web to visualize scenes faster, and collaborate with colleagues from the software. Plot is a good option if your team often works to tight deadlines and needs software to create storyboards quickly.
Pricing: USD 10 / month
3. FrameForge Storyboard Studio
With impressive users like HBO, Netflix, and the BBC, FrameForge is real business, but your team can still benefit from it even if you don’t have animation, drawing, or high-tech computer skills.
FrameForge offers core and professional versions of their product. With the “Professional” option you can plan where you want to place dollies and cranes (apart from customs). The software allows you to import a script from any script program. Plus, the storyboards include motion arrows, frame notation, angle of view, focal length, and more, so everyone on your video team is on the same page from prep to production.
It works on any mobile device and the export capabilities allow the final product to be downloaded as a PowerPoint presentation. FrameForge is a great option for teams that want to create more full-fledged and lengthy videos for entertainment purposes.
Pricing: $ 498.95 one-time fee or $ 12.99 / month (Core Edition); One-time fee of $ 799 or $ 24.99 / month (Professional Edition)
4. Studio ties
Studiobinder lets you customize every aspect of your visualization, offering tools to filter columns, rearrange the order of your scenes, upload images, change aspect ratios, color code recordings, add notes, and more. Studiobinder also makes it easy to collaborate with project management functions for assigning tasks and adding comments.
If you want to preview your project from the platform to show off to your team, there is also a nifty presentation mode. It touts impressive clients like BuzzFeed, ESPN, and CBS Interactive. This option is suitable for teams who need to collaborate at different stages of the video production process and who prefer customizable tools.
Pricing: $ 29 / month (indie); $ 49 / month (Professional); $ 99 / month (studio)
5. Boords Storyboard Creator
This online storyboarding software makes it easy to collaborate with your team in an easy-to-use web app. You can add pictures to any storyboard card and take short notes for each progressive step of your video. Provide sound, action, lighting and camera details – all without advanced technical knowledge.
The strength of this tool lies in its ease of use. While Storyboarder and FrameForge have a slight learning curve, Boords is one of those tools that you can easily access and start using right away.
What we love most about this tool are the notes below for each card. If you ever forget what to accomplish scene by scene, Boords gives you a quick and helpful tip on what to accomplish in the recording. It also offers a unique animation tool. When you’re ready to share your animation, you can share it online for feedback or export it to Boords’ After Effects plug-in. You can also share your storyboard with colleagues or customers and have them comment on within the platform.
Pricing: $ 36 / month (studio); $ 60 / month (business); $ 120 / month (Company Plus)
If you’re not exactly interested in the fancier movie-making options in the list, makeStoryboard is a simple, easy-to-use interface for quickly uploading camera footage, drawing stick figures in the built-in drawing tool, and adding text for scene details. The marker, pencil and pen tools respond to any drawing tablet.
You can also add custom text boxes for additional details that are unique to your team and use case. When you’re happy with your storyboard, you can export it as a PDF to showcase your idea. Alternatively, you can send a private link so that stakeholders can review without needing an account. Best of all, it comes with a free subscription tier, which makes it a fantastic option for teams working on a smaller budget.
Pricing: Free; $ 12 / month (Professional); $ 36 / month (team)
7. PowerProduction software
PowerProduction offers a variety of storyboarding tools that range from simple to more robust and all-encompassing. For example, StoryBoard Quick provides a library of graphics for characters, props, and locations, and allows you to easily design and share your ideas. StoryBoard Artist, on the other hand, has a full-featured timeline, frame transitions, and 3D characters, and is better suited for animated video presentations.
PowerProduction also offers iPhone and Android app versions of their products so you can visualize and create them from anywhere. These products are used by big brands like Disney, Universal and 20th Century Fox. So if you choose this software, you are in good company. If your team is interested in creating long, high quality, and even animated videos, this might be a good option.
Pricing: $ 129.99 / year (StoryBoard Quick); $ 169.99 / year (StoryBoard Quick Studio); $ 269.99 / year (StoryBoard Artist); $ 399.99 / year (StoryBoard Artist Studio)
Creating a storyboard doesn’t have to be a burden, and Canva makes it easy: a library of templates to choose from, a million archive images (or the option to upload your own), and grids and frames to organize your scenes. You can choose fonts, customize colors, and add headers and subheadings.
If you’re working on the script or design with someone else, you can grant collaboration access. When you’re done, you can share the design with your team via email or as a PDF file. If your team needs a simple and easy tool for simpler projects or for getting your feet wet while storyboarding, this is a great option.
Pricing: Free of charge
PanelForge offers all-in-one pre-production storyboarding software with drag-and-drop tools and flexible frames. With a free public beta and a number of paid plans, there’s no reason not to give it a try if you want to use storyboarding for animation and more intricate projects.
PanelForge allows you to create both 2D drawings and 3D layouts. You can also create animation, and export and import files from Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. PanelForge is ideal for seasoned storyboarders and marketers who are familiar with complex visualization tools.
Pricing: Free (Public Beta); $ 7.31 / month (Pro); $ 1,411 / year (studio)
10. Storyboard The
Storyboard – This is an intuitive, easy-to-use tool for developers who’d rather not draw (or don’t know how to do it). The tool has hundreds of backgrounds and characters that you can use to create your storyboard.
In the free version, you can create two storyboards per week and choose between storyboards with three or six cells. When you upgrade to the paid versions, you can create unlimited storyboards, access hundreds of different layouts, and record audio.
Pricing: Free; $ 9.99 / month (for fun); $ 8.99 / month (for teachers); $ 14.99 / month (for work)
Use a storyboarding tool to help make better marketing videos
A storyboarding tool allows you to plan out every shot and scene in your marketing video before investing in production. The best part is that you can get started for free – and often you don’t have to draw anything at all. Using a storyboarding tool can improve your marketing videos exponentially and increase the ROI of your video marketing strategy.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for completeness.