BlogHer 2011: Video Storyboarding and Scripting for the Writer

Published in: Just For Fun

BlogHer 2011: Video Storyboarding and Scripting for the Writer
Speakers from the left: Corinne Leigh, Sarah Lane

This class and that one on writing the other day were absolutely my favorites of BlogHer 2011, but I missed the first 30 or so minutes of this one, which, based on the part of the class I actually was present for, I’m assuming was the part that covered storyboarding and scripting. 🙂


LOL! I may have missed the titular topics, but I was present for a really fantastic discussion on video blogging.

The two speakers are very accomplished video bloggers/podcasters, and I think I might try to connect with them again.

Here’s a video from one of the speakers, Corrine. Isn’t it fantastic?

She has a whole bunch of great DIY videos up on her Tumblr page.

The other speaker, Sarah, has a background in professional broadcasting and is a Producer/Host/Writer/Editor at TWiT, where she hosts a show called The Social Hour.

The speakers…

Sarah Lane

Producer/writer/editor at TWiT, co-host of iPad Today, Tech News Today & The Social Hour. Formerly of Current TV, Revision3, G4TV, TechTV. Catwoman.

Corinne Leigh

I am a DIYer by nature. You can check out my past projects on Threadbanger and new projects in my Craft Closet.

Video Workflow Tips

These are just some general tips. There are of course an endless number ways to produce videos and different styles, but I was really interested in doing voiceovers of the style like Michelle Phan.

Once you know what kind of video you want to make, check out some related ones online. You’ll get ideas for lighting setups, what an appropriate duration might be, where to position the camera, what the speaker’s hands are doing, does she use background music, does she have a jazzy intro, how are her on-screen titles handled (are they easy to read?), does she speak clearly? — things like that.

  1. Here’s a time-saving tip for filming how-to’s with a voiceover: Sometimes it helps to do a run through of your project first, before filming, to rehearse what you’re going to do when you film the actual video. Do the project all the way through at least once beforehand. Then, do it again while filming, and it can help to have a friend who can move the camera around for you, because it can be tough to peek through a viewfinder while you’re trying to do something else.
  2. If you know how to use an editing program like Apple Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, shoot more footage than you need, so that you can pick and choose your best stuff later.
  3. After filming, sit down and write out a script describing what you did for the project. When you’re done, read and record what you’ve written. You can use your same video camera, but all you’ll be using from this step is the voiceover (audio) track. In your editing program, extract the audio and lay it over the video you recorded in the previous step.

For voiceovers, it can help to film the entire video first after doing a quick run through. Some people then put the video into their editing program’s timeline as a “rough cut,” which they then watch as they read and record their script into a new track. (NOTE: You can use any video camera to record a voiceover track, so you don’t need a dedicated microphone, although a good mic doesn’t hurt. If you’re using a video camera to record your voiceover, just extract the audio track and delete the video.)


Live, off-camera, conversational — you’ve seen all kinds of different interviews before.

  1. For easy interviews where you’re going to be off camera, ask the person to repeat each question you give them first before answering, like, “How do I find the best beauty bargains? I look through the weekly drugstore ads that I get in the mail, and the ones that come with the Sunday paper.”
  2. Ask the people you interview to sign a simple release form, which protects you in the unlikely event that the person you’re interviewing later says that they never gave you permission to film them. Here’s an example form.
  3. With standard interviews where you’re talking back and forth with someone, you want to be conversational, make good eye contact, and be really engaged with the person. You do want to have your list of questions in mind, and with you in a notebook, but you don’t want to rely on it like a crutch.

Hardware and Software

Lighting and audio are hugely important. As a rule of thumb when it comes to lighting setups, you want to remove any harsh shadows from whatever you’re filming.

A typical pro lighting setup includes three lights. One in front of the subject called the key light, one behind the subject called the back light, and one slightly off to the side of the key called the fill light.

The lights don’t have to be fancy professional ones with umbrellas, though. They can be regular table lamps, open windows, or even bright white walls that will reflect a lot of light back on your subject.

  1. has some great tutorials and sample lighting setups.
  2. Chinese hanging ball lanterns, like the kind they sell at Ikea, are popping up more and more often in professional lighting setups because 1) they’re inexpensive (as low as $8 each) and 2) really work. The lamp shade diffuses the light, cutting down on harsh shadows
  3. If your camera doesn’t have a good built in microphone, you can get an external USB one like the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser USB Microphone ($99) that plugs into your computer (for recording voiceovers). Or, if your camera has a microphone input port and a hot shoe connector, you can get something like the Azden High-performance SMX-10 Stereo Condenser Microphone ($66.23) to give it a major audio upgrade.
  4. Two of the best programs to edit your videos are Apple Final Cut (about $300; available for Mac computers only) and Adobe Premiere Elements (about $80; available for Windows PCs and Mac), but there are many others as well, like Apple iMovie ($15; available for Mac computers only), and YouTube even has its own simple editing program now, too.

And that’s just about it for BlogHer 2011. I hope that even if you aren’t a blogger, you still found something at least a little interesting in these past few conference posts.

Now, it’s BACK TO BEAUTY! And the Bay Area. Talk to you soon. 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. If you do happen to be interested in blogging, don’t miss BlogHer 2011: Perfecting Product Reviews and BlogHer 2011: The Write Brain | Essential Writing and Editing Skills before you go.


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So far, 6 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Nina says:

    another interesting read! thanks, Karen!

  2. Sarahc says:

    GREAT post Karen!!! I’ve been wanting to do a knitting video for the members of my knitter’s club. I tried once, but the audio was terrible. Next time I think I’ll try a voice over. I have an old version of Final Cut Express. Do you know if that’s good enough?

  3. Elaine says:

    I am loving these posts from BlogHer! Super cool!!!

    On a side note: The tagline for Rise of the Planet of the Apes is “Evolution becomes Revolution”!!! I thought of MBB right away 🙂
    Plus it has James Franco <3333

  4. laksh says:

    Thanks a lot for posting these Karen, they are extremely useful for people starting with vlogs & blogs
    laksh recently posted … NOTD & mini Review

  5. Kim says:

    It sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for the tips, particularly the video editors. I’ve been wanting to start fooling around with that, just for fun. 🙂

  6. Kay says:

    Aww I miss Corinne from Threadbanger!

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