Planning your shoot: storyboards and floor plans

You’ve got your story, script and contributors. How do you decide on your shots? Garry Paton explains what you should look for when filming.

This series of films is from BBC Fresh online, BBC Three’s space for short documentary films, finding the voices and directors of the future. It is a place to watch, learn and share, providing advice for new documentary filmmakers, as well as the opportunity to have their work shown by the BBC.

Without a good plan you won't know what to shoot and, even worse, may not bring back the footage you need to craft your film in the edit.

Video editor Garry Paton suggests that drawing storyboards and floor plans are a great way to help you plan your filming.

"Ask yourself, 'is this going to cut together in the edit?'"–Garry Paton

Storyboards help to show how the sequence will look and help you to visualize how it will come together in the edit.

Floor plans will help you with where to position the camera to get the shots you want.

Neither of these need to be very detailed - just simple enough to get ideas from your head onto paper to help you visualise the film.

Using storyboards and floor plans will make it easier to see if there are any holes in your sequence and if you need to plan more shots.

When you’re on location it is sometimes easy to get sidetracked and move away from your creative vision. If you’ve got storyboards and floor plans, it is easier to stick to your plan and recover from any problems that may arise on the day.

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