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What is 16:9?

16x9 storyboard template for film, movies and commercials

16:9 is the ratio of a standard widescreen camera format. The 16:9 layout functions in the same way as the Traditional Layout - perfect for digital storytelling - and the wider cell allows for greater detail in your storyboards. It's also perfect for adaptation to film and animation projects, since it mimics the typical camera frame moreso than a square. Single cells of the storyboard are also better suited for viewing on most standard modern devices.

Use the 16:9 layout on Storyboard That to create a narrative, show the linear sequence of events, visually explain steps in a process, or organize any of your ideas. With the added space in each cell, you can add more characters and show more action.

The 16:9 Layout Helps You:

16x9 Storyboards

Breaking Down 16:9

Our 16:9 Layout is based on the size and shape of our modern screens; televisions, computer monitors, cell phones, and more all use the 16:9 ratio to display information. The 16:9 aspect ratio is the standard ratio of width to height for widescreen displays. When planning for a film project that will be eventually be in widescreen, it only makes sense that your storyboard plan should also be in the same format!

There are many uses for storyboards in the entertainment industry, the business world, and education. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Entertainment IndustryBusiness WorldEducation
  • Plan for shots in a live-action video
    (commercial, vlog, TV show, film, etc.)
  • Pitch a product idea
  • Keep track of characters in a text
  • Plan a narrative for animation
  • Make "How-To" instructions
  • Summarize a text
  • Plan scenery for a stage production
  • Illustrate potential outcomes
  • Create a picture story
  • Plan or create a graphic novel or comic
  • Present ideas to peers and colleagues
  • Create an illustrated story

  • How can I use a 16:9 Storyboard in my Classroom?

    Storyboard That is an amazing tool for schools! The 16:9 is an expanded version of the original (and most flexible) layout. Below are storyboard examples across all subjects, and an additional section just for special education and IEPs.

    ELA History Foreign Language STEM
    • Narration of a Historical Event
    • Mini-Bio of Historical Figures
    • Informational Poster
    • Show Steps in an Experiment
    • Summarize Information
    • Provide Visual Steps to Solve a Problem

    Single Cell Storyboards in 16:9

    Images are powerful, especially if planned with a purpose in mind. Sometimes a storyboard with multiple cells just isn't needed, and you would be better off with one panel. In the Storyboard Creator, you can adjust the size, number, and order of cells. So if a story, comic, teacher reference, poster, or graphic organizer works best as one image, make a single cell storyboard.

    Check out the GARGANTUAN size of the single cell storyboard below! Posters, anyone?

    Storyboarding for Film

    There are many ways to use a storyboard, but let's take a moment to discuss its value for film planning. The 16:9 Layout was designed with film in mind. A video storyboard does tell the story, but in a technical way: it is a plan for the director, crew, and actors to use for production. There are different layout options, but when planning a video, whether it is a student skit or a final project in film school, use the title and description boxes along with the cell.

    Title Box The title box will give you a chance to label a scene or shot or to give basic camera directions. Example:
    • Scene 2, Shot 4


    • Close-Up on Jared
    The cell should show what the audience is meant to see. This might mean a close-up of one of the characters, a sweeping landscape, or a first person point of view of the action. Each cell should be a separate shot, that is, a new cell for when there is a change in the camera angle or movement. Example:
    Description Box The description box is really helpful for describing what happens in the shot, noting audio (dialogue, music, sound effects) and specific camera directions. Example:
    • Action: Clark walks up towards the house as the door opens, revealing Adele in her fancy dress.

    • Audio: Crickets in the background, the sound of passing cars

    • Camera: Follows behind Clark, but then focuses on Adele.

    Take a look at the "script" below, and then compare it to the storyboard of the same information. For the best view, check out the slide show!


    STELLA walks along the beach and finds a spot.


    It is such a beautiful day!


    Stella lies on the sand and starts to read. Children play nearby.
    MUSIC: Relaxing melody


    Cut to Stella asleep on the beach.
    MUSIC: Relaxing melody, volume swells.


    Stella wakes up feeling groggy. She sits up and rubs her head.
    MUSIC: Cymbals crash and music stops.


    Stella jumps when she sees the sun setting.


    Oh no! How could I fall asleep?


    Stella scrambles to gather her things to leave. Sun starts to disappear behind horizon.


    I can't believe this! I was supposed to meet Mags three hours ago! I am in for it now!

    For more ideas on how to use storyboards in your classroom, look through some of our lesson plans for activities, template storyboards, and more!

    Applications for Special Education

    Storyboard That is a fun tool for everyone in the classroom, but may be particularly useful for students on IEPs and 504 plans. Graphic organizers serve as a way to structure or guide a student's thinking.

    Storyboard That allows the creators to incorporate pictures, colors, and text into their graphic organizers; not all students have stellar handwriting or drawing abilities. Incorporating a storyboard-style format into digital storytelling allows handwriting abilities and drawing talents to become irrelevant. All students end up with a graphic organizer they can look back on later and still be able to understand it.

    Educators can use Storyboard That to create their own customized digital assignments, print-outs, or posters. Here are a few additional ideas on when to use a storyboard for special education:

    • Social Stories
    • Create visual vocabulary boards
    • Use Storyboard That instead of a pencil and paper assignment
    • Brainstorm on a topic
    • Take notes
    • Plan a piece of writing
    • Modify research assignments to record information on a topic
    • Create a board for options (games, rewards, communication needs)

    For more ideas on integrating storyboards in special education, please see our other articles related to special education.

    Related Activities

    Please note that the 16:9 Layout is one of the premium features.

    How to Teach Storytelling through Minimalistic Storyboard Layouts


    Introduce the Concept of Minimalistic Storyboarding

    Explain the concept of minimalism in visual storytelling, highlighting its focus on simplicity, clarity, and conveying ideas concisely. Show examples of minimalistic storyboard layouts and discuss their characteristics, such as minimal details, clean compositions, and effective use of negative space.


    Explore the Power of Visual Simplification

    Discuss the importance of visual simplification in storytelling and how it can enhance the impact and focus of the narrative. Teach students how to analyze stories and identify key elements that can be simplified or abstracted in their storyboard layouts.


    Teach the Essentials of Visual Hierarchy

    Introduce the concept of visual hierarchy and its role in guiding the viewer's attention within a storyboard layout. Explain techniques such as size, placement, and contrast to establish a clear hierarchy of elements in minimalistic storyboard layouts. Guide students in creating layouts that emphasize the most important elements while minimizing distractions.


    Emphasize Symbolism and Metaphor

    Discuss the use of symbolism and metaphor in storytelling and how they can be effectively incorporated into minimalistic storyboard layouts. Teach students how to use simple visual symbols and metaphors to represent complex ideas or emotions in their narratives.


    Focus on Essential Storytelling Elements

    Explain the importance of focusing on essential storytelling elements in minimalistic storyboard layouts, such as characters, key actions, and pivotal moments. Guide students in distilling their narratives to the core elements necessary for conveying the story effectively in a minimalistic format.


    Encourage Creative Exploration and Iteration

    Provide opportunities for students to experiment with different minimalistic storyboard layouts, encouraging them to explore different approaches and iterate on their designs. Foster a supportive environment where students can share their work, provide feedback to their peers, and reflect on the effectiveness of their minimalistic storytelling choices.

    Frequently Asked Questions about 16:9 Layout in Storyboards

    Are there any disadvantages to using the 16:9 aspect ratio in storyboards?

    One potential disadvantage of using the 16:9 aspect ratio in storyboards is that it may not be compatible with older devices that use a different aspect ratio. Additionally, some visual information may be lost when adapting the storyboard to a smaller size, such as on a mobile device. However, in most cases, the benefits of using the 16:9 aspect ratio outweigh these potential drawbacks.

    Can I use the 16:9 aspect ratio in other types of visual aids, such as worksheets or presentations?

    Yes, the 16:9 aspect ratio can be used in a variety of visual aids, including worksheets, presentations, and infographics. However, it is important to consider the specific needs and limitations of each medium when designing your visual aids. For example, a presentation may require larger text and more images than a worksheet, which may be more text-heavy.

    How can I ensure that my visual aids are accessible to all students, regardless of their abilities?

    To ensure that your visual aids are accessible to all students, consider using alt text to describe images and providing transcripts or captions for any audio or video content. Additionally, use a clear, legible font and high-contrast colors to improve visibility for students with visual impairments. You may also consider using assistive technologies like screen readers or text-to-speech software to help students who have difficulty reading.

    Find more storyboard activities like these in our Special Education Category!
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