Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stop-Motion Animation


Here's my next post!

Stop-Motion Animation
By Casey
Stop-motion animation takes patience. And that would be an understatement.

So what is stop-motion animation? It’s taking many many still shots with a camera in order to make normally still subjects (like Lego) to look like they’re moving by turning them into a very fast video. But keep in mind, as I said, it takes patience. Trust me. My first video, which was only 2 seconds long, took 18 pictures! That’s 9 pictures per second! Yes, I said second. Now, I’ll show you how to make one yourself.

First, get everything ready. Get a backdrop. Maybe even make a mini-studio if you shooting in your house (Unless, of course, your house is the backdrop). Also, keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of memory, so delete all those pictures of your sister’s mouth (or maybe that’s just meJ). Place your camera on the stable platform you’ll be shooting from (or the first stable platform, if you have more than one location). It’s probably best you don’t move your camera until you change scenes. Now, get your subject(s) ready. You’re ready to start shooting.

Now to begin shooting. If your subject(s) will be moving into frame, it’s best to take a before picture before they move into frame. Also, if they move out of frame, take another picture, especially if they change the scene (ie. Taking someone who was already in frame with them). To shoot the actual movement, if someone is moving into frame, move them so that only a part of their body (or car, ship, etc.) is showing (or are showing if there’s more than one). Then slowly move the subject(s), making tiny changes, taking pictures each change. Eventually you will have all the shots you need to show motion for all of the video (whatever it’s about). Now you’re ready to turn them into a video.

Now you’ll need to use a computer to put the images together. Don’t worry, I’ll walk through the steps. First, offload the pictures from your camera onto the computer in the normal way. Next, if you don’t already have it, download Microsoft Movie Maker. It’s free at Now I’m not a fan of Microsoft, but Movie Maker is OK. Once Movie Maker is installed, open it to start a new project. There should be a white space in the middle with a “Movie Tasks” Menu to the left and a Preview screen on the right. Click the arrow pointing down next to “Capture Video” and select “Import Pictures”. Find and select all the pictures to import them into the white space. Now go to the top menu labelled “Tools” and select “Options”. Go to the “Advanced” tab, and lower both picture duration and transition to the lowest option. That will make the best video. Now drag only the pictures you want in the video onto the storyboard in the right order. Unless you want to add sound (which I’m not going to explain) you should probably add some silent movie-style plates for explanation, sound, or dialogue. You can do this by using Paint in Windows or the equivalent on other platforms. When you are going to add your plates, go back to the “Advanced” menu and raise the duration to 5 seconds. Now when you add the plate it will last 5 seconds so you can read it but the rest will be the stop-motion animation (unless you keep and/or re-enter the duration).

That’s it! You can add Titles and credits under the “Edit Movie” menu, and then it’s as easy as going under “Finish Movie” and selecting “Save to My Computer”. Then sit back and enjoy your work!
Until Next Post,