There are multiple ways to create storyboards and videos in Storykit. Two of the more exciting ones is using the "Text to Storyboard" or "URL to Storyboard." These functions let you create complete storyboards from a written script or a public URL within seconds using Storykit's AI methods. We are calling these different AI parts "Creation Of Efficient Narrative" – in short, "Coen," and any name similarity with two of the world's greatest scriptwriters is, of course, completely unintentional.
(No, actually – we just wanted a cool name that reminded us of scriptwriting.)
In this chapter, we will move through how to use Coen – and what Coen is doing to arrive at a complete storyboard. And with a complete storyboard, we mean everything except choosing the assets: Slide choices, duration settings, styling, behavior, and background music.
Let's start with the most important thing: How to use Coen and what you can expect it to do.
When you choose "Add Storyboard" from the Storykit Video Studio start-view, you have five ways to begin your storyboard. After giving it a name, you can do the following:
- Hit "Save" to create an empty storyboard and start building it from scratch.
- Choose "Storyboard" and paste the id from another storyboard to use that as the basis for your new storyboard.
- Choose "Template" to choose from the available template storyboards that you have can access.
- Choose "Text" for one of the two Coen options. More on this below.
- Choose "URL" for the other Coen option. More on this, also below.
Creating a storyboard from text
One of the fundamental principles within Storykit is that we are very focused on the script – we want to be the video creation solution for text people. Going from a finished script or a rough draft to a storyboard within seconds is both revolutionary and completely natural in our world.
When choosing "Text" as the starting point, you will get a text field to paste your script – or write directly into if you wish. (We would suggest that you write your script in an external text editor, though.) The Coen AI will then interpret the text's structure and return the script laid out over a complete storyboard after a few seconds.
You have one initial option – and that is if you want Coen AI to also apply styling rules to the storyboard's slides and groups. We also encourage you to do this; it will suggest ways to pre-apply styling, even further maximizing your video creation efficiency.
More on what Coen AI is doing below.
Creating a storyboard from a URL
You can use an open link to a webpage and let Storykit create a storyboard from a pre-existing article, blog post, or press release. In essence, this is not that different from using the Text option – but you only have to provide the link.
When choosing "URL," you get a field in which to paste the link.
When using links, Coen AI also looks at the URL's markup to create the storyboard structure, which works great when the HTML code is well-formed. But you should also be aware that there can be a lot of "extra" content within the article body of a webpage that Coen may include in the storyboard. So the best way of going about using links is to try them. Either you get perfect results or something that you can tweak with minimal effort or get non-expected results. In that case: Copy the text from the webpage and use the Text option instead.
Sometimes, the URL function won't work and throws an error. That is because something on that page is not formed according to our specifications. In that case, just copy the text from the page and use the Text option. You can't use links that are behind paywalls or other blocking mechanisms, either, of course. In those cases you should always revert back to the Text option.
So, Coen is easy to use – to see it in action, give it some text to consume, or a link to chew on. But what does it do? And can you control it? Well, "a lot" and "yes" are the answers to those questions. So let's get into it.
Coen and the text
So, the primary function for Coen is to interpret the text input that you feed it. So regardless if it's a URL that it scrapes and extracts text from, a raw text that you input in the text field, or an enhanced text that you input (more on this below) – Coen will try and make sense of the structure and disposition of your text.
Coen uses a mixture of standard ways of interpreting the text, and a lot of proprietary Storykit rules that combined are tailored to output a high-quality storyboard. The Coen AI will recognize patterns in the text and classify different parts of it in a way that makes dramaturgical sense – and that will be part of determining how the script should be handled in the storyboard.
Coen looks through the text and classifies the types of text by paragraph. It will try to recognize common types – such as headlines and sub-headlines, identify quotes and lists, and so on. Apart from this classification intelligence, you have additional markdown options that you can use for some really powerful control of the storyboard. Read more on that below.
When using a link with the "URL" option, Coen AI also uses the page's HTML markup when classifying the text.
Coen and the storyboard layout
The classification then controls how the storyboard is constructed by applying different rules for different text types – therefore being able to generate a vast amount of different combinations from the same script. So you can generate a new storyboard from the same text and expect a different – but equally functional result.
Each paragraph's text is split up and balanced over the number of slides necessary for the content. One strict rule for Coen is to use the same slide-type within a paragraph to create cohesion and a professional look. The paragraph is then grouped in the storyboard.
Coen and duration
One of the coolest and most useful things with Coen AI is setting your slides' duration based on the text input. And not just in a simple manner, but based on a well-crafted velocity algorithm grounded in the text's verbal reading on the slide. When building storyboards and looking at the videos' previews, we tend to read the content too fast since we already know what is coming. For a first-time viewer, the case is quite different, and we may need to slow it down a bit.
The Coen AI gives you a duration suggestion based on the average reading speed for voice synthesis tech, and it accounts for how the text is read – not written. This means that for slides containing many digits, which have few written characters but many more read-out characters, the AI will expand the duration to account for that.
So – in short – the Coen AI brings you close to the optimum duration and reading speed for a text-driven video. Try it by reading your script out loud while the video is playing.
Coen, asset styling and behavior
When the group comprising the slides for a paragraph is finalized, the Coen AI applies asset styling and behavior. This means that the main asset will have styling parameters set – even before inserting the actual asset. This is a great way to speed up workflow and ensure consistent and high-quality styling to your storyboards and the resulting videos.
Working with the styling of your video can enhance the outcome – so it might be well worth letting Coen suggest different options.
Coen and background music
Of course, the Coen AI also suggests a music track for your video by choosing from the built-in library – from the tracks that have sufficient length.
When you create a storyboard with Coen AI and the "Text" option, you can control a few more things in the storyboard generation. For instance, you can choose if Coen AI should apply styling and behavior settings via a checkbox in the "Add Storyboard" modal. (This option is also available for the "URL" creation.)
We have applied a stripped-down form av markdown that you can use to ensure that your script is classified the way you want it when using the "Text" option. Doing so is, of course, voluntary. The Coen AI will classify most things correctly, even when fed a raw text. But if you want to make sure that it is picking up stuff the right way, you can use markup like this:
As we've touched on previously, most of the text classification Coen AI will do without the need for further input. But there are some things that you can do to control how the storyboard is created. So here's a bit of Coen AI Markdown that you can use, input them before or around the text you want to control classification for:
Before a single-sentence paragraph, any of these will be classified as a sub-heading and treated that way.
* / or :listitem: [text]
Putting an asterisk (or the shortcode :listitem:) before a paragraph makes it into a list item. So this way, you can create non-numbered lists. (You can add numbers yourself if the slide type allows for it.)
This will ensure that a text paragraph will be classified as a quote. You should try without using this most of the time since the AI quote recognition is quite robust.
This markdown is used to set quote attribution and is extra powerful since it will use this text and deploy it to multiple slides if needed. More on the use of this in the "Prune your quotes" section below. It would be best to use it directly after a paragraph that is either auto-classified as a quote or by a quote markdown.
This one is great since it allows you to write a call-to-action or tagline at the end of your script and auto-create an outro – that uses the available choices for it.
Further shortcodes for controlling Coen AI output
We have added several additional text classes that you can add manually to get more minute control over the Coen AI routines' results. These are not shortcodes that you are very likely to use in your daily scriptwriting. As the basis for what you could incorporate into your workflow, they serve as excellent examples and fully functional.
:insert: [storyboard id]
The insert code lets you insert another storyboard into the Coen AI-generated one, allowing you to re-use previously created storyboards as part of the new one. A simple example would be to have a pre-made outro storyboard that you wanted to include at the end.
Text class commands
The headline recognition is almost fool-proof within Coen. But the short command exists nonetheless. You will rarely have to use it.
A preamble is a more fledged out summary or pretext to the full script. It should be a statement for the rest of the script and not contain information that is not present in other parts of the script. When the headline is very much of an enticing or more creative/artistic/provocative (and so on) form – the preamble carries the weight of giving expectation management for the script.
The text quote is a quote from a written source, such as a book, a newspaper, or some online context. This means that the language in a text quote be of the active "speech" variety but can be whatever.
The source is the attribution for a text quote. This is the "bibliographical" information about where you quoted this text.
The p2 classification delineates a secondary sentence or part of a paragraph. It is the subordinate clause to the ordinate – but contained within the same paragraph in its original shape. We have to see it as a separate paragraph, but its meaning still stands – it's a response to the call of the paragraph. It always follows a regular paragraph and will be technically grouped with that paragraph's ordinate clause.
Depending on the lengths of the respective paragraphs that make up the paragraph/p2 combination, the p2 may or may not end up on the same slide as the paragraph that precedes it.
The question is just that – a question. But this specific text classification also precedes an answer. So it's one part of a rhetorical construction within the script, a way of priming the transfer of information by posing the question that said information is the answer. This is a classic way of making people notice and remember better, both since the Q&A form deviates from just straight telling people but also since it wakes our brain to try and answer the question.
The answer is the actual answer to the actual question classified as the answer. Makes sense? It's the second and mandatory part of the aforementioned rhetorical construction of the Q&A.
The callout is a "shout" – heavily emphasized part of the script used when you want to call attention to a word or a phrase. This word or phrase can both be very "high" in meaning or more like "hype." But their structural role is to create a pop or wow effect and change the tempo up a bit.
The list title is the subheader that proceeds a list. But it's also a bit more than that; it's the "name" of the list. So a list title can be prevalent throughout displaying the list. This is very much the case for many instructions – where the connection for each list item to the list title makes digesting the information a lot easier – it sets the context.
Coen tips and tricks for better results
Even though Coen works great on URLs, it's – quite honestly – the "Text" option that gives you the best output and results. Here are a few things that you can do to kick your Coen AI-generated storyboards into great shape.
1. Do an outline script – for a kickstart.
One way to use the Coen AI routines to create a storyboard is to outline the script you will finish later. Coen AI will use your outline just as it does with a fully-fledged script and try to create a coherent storyboard out of it. So even if you, over time, won't get the more in-depth analysis of a finished script – using an outline will get you going super quick with a new storyboard.
You could even use this as a sort of "dynamic template," where you have your format outlines as text files for re-use. This way, you can create something with a different "layout," other styling, and so on but with the same amount of space for the text.
Since you're doing this with text – it's easy to use the markdown to create specific script parts. Take a look at this example, which is purely made up and perhaps make no sense. But it will create a great looking storyboard every time you use it.
This is the headline
This first part of the script can be used to summarize the whole thing if you need it. Don't make it too long, though.
Here's the first part of the actual story you are going to tell, so make sure that introduce the right actors and give the correct background information.
This is a new paragraph, and that will be a new group in the storyboard, allowing you easily change asset here and get a cool variation. But we're still in the first part of the story.
"Here we should break it off with a quote from someone who says all the right things about the subject in hand and that is someone the viewer will be interested in."
:author: Firstname Lastname-Sur, sayer of things.
## The list of good things
We are introducing a list of really nice things here.
* This is the first item on the list.
* This is the second item on the same list.
* And this is the third item on this list.
From here on in – we should perhaps try and wrap things up. So we'll do this just before we get to the outro with our slogan.
:outro: We make the best stuff!
So, copy the italicized text above and use it with the Text option to how it comes out. And then try it again. That's really fun, isn't it?
2. Prune your quotes
You can get great looking quotes by breaking out the quote attribution information from the quote-paragraph and use the markdown code to help classify it. Coen AI is very robust in finding the quotes themselves, but finding and extracting the quote attribution is harder. (We're working on it, though.)
So, for instance. If you have a quote like this:
"So, this is was a thing that I said in this interview that you did with me and that you are now using as a quote in this film. That makes me feel very good about saying this thing to you," says Sheila Taylor, congresswoman, to the BBC.
We will recognize the quote, which is also true for using a long dash as a direct quote marker. But it's harder to split out the attribution information. For now, the Coen AI will keep that information in the quote, which makes it a bit misleading.
When using text – you can instead do this little thing beforehand. Split that paragraph into one part that only has the quote, and move the attribution part to a new paragraph below and tag it, with markdown, with :author:
"So, this is was a thing that I said in this interview that you did with me and that you are now using as a quote in this film. That makes me feel very good about saying this thing to you."
:author: Sheila Taylor, congresswoman.
If you do this, not only will you get the proper duration set – you will also get this attribution information on all slides in the quote group. It's very powerful.
3. Get short(y)
This is more of a general thing. But keep your scripts short. A video should never be "just" a moving version of a long article. To get you in the ballpark for how the length of text translates into the video's duration, you use the following rule of thumb: 30 seconds per 500 characters (incl spaces).
A regular press release that runs maybe 2 500 - 3 000 chars quickly becomes a very long storyboard. Then you will have to make a tough editorial decision: Do you think that a viewer will spend upwards of three minutes on a video like that?
4. Use paragraphs for control
It's mentioned before, but a new paragraph creates a new group in the storyboard. And never forget that a group can consist of only one slide, but nevertheless. So, make sure that you phrase things in a way that creates the thing you want.
If you want to keep things together with the same asset – perhaps you should consider combining text that would naturally be two paragraphs to one.
5. Do text – even with a URL
Even if we have the URL option – you will gain more control if you copy the URL text and use it with the Text option. If you have a browser with a "reading" mode, you can even invoke that before copying the text.
We don't want to discourage you from using the URL option – but you should try out the Text one to get a real headstart when building storyboards with extreme speed.