Stop Motion Tutorial

I made this tutorial for the college photography club. Just thought would put it up here too.

“Stop Motion is the art of making movies by capturing each image, basically one frame at a time.”

I must tell you that stop motion is 95% photography and 5% videography.

Though that there are different types of stop motion, the basic concept of every stop motion is the same. That is, to capture EACH frame one by one and put them all together as a movie.

To keep it simple, I will take the example of this work and explain the steps.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBCDleTqXtM

Requirements:

1. Camera – Any type will do.

2. Tripod or Rest – The camera *has* to be still during the whole process. Any disturbance will cause discontinuity in the video.

3. Subject(s) – It is very important to choose your subject, ie, what you want to move/change/etc. [example of subjects: book, toy, sock, etc].

4. Figure everything out – Yes, figure out the story or what exactly you want to happen in the video. [example of a story: make a pen move form one side of table to another]

Sure these may sound simple, but along the way it can get very confusing if you don’t have a good firm idea.

Procedure:

1. Mount your camera on a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, wedge your camera in between big books on a table [it should Not at any cost, move] or make a custom base for it. You get the idea.

Important Camera Settings:

~ Shoot in JPG mode. This is to save all the space.
~ Set White Balance to Manual mode. This helps all the photographs to have the same tone/look.
The idea is that the settings must not change throughout the shooting process.
~ Make sure the batteries are all charged up. Shooting a Stop Motion is a LONG process [mine lasted for 4 hours in all]. You don’t want to run out of energy while shooting.
~ Make sure the memory card is empty. A one minute stop motion movie may consist of around 300 photographs!
~ Since you won’t be printing any of the pictures, set the camera to lowest size image setting.

2. Shoot your animation. Now this is complicated to explain. Let me try my best. At first, shoot your first frame.

In the above video, my first frame was the empty open book. Then I wrote an “I” and clicked.
[at first, I made a small line and clicked, then elongated the line and clicked].
For the “W”, first, I wrote a \ [click] / [click] \ [click] / [click] == \/\/
Did you get it? You should write a little, then click. Write again, and click.
Continue this step FOREVER!

Yes, it is a VERY LONG PROCESS. That video took me an hour to just write and shoot 3 lines.

You can make this more creative by adding other things to your frames [I added paper clips, the heart, etc].

If you make a mistake while shooting, delete that image and take the right one. This will save you from editing your frame later.

3. Make the Video. I have used Windows Movie Maker for this.

Download all your images into an empty folder. Make sure all the photographs are numbered in order [the camera would’ve done this for you]. Open them all in Movie Maker.

Before you add them all to the timeline, you will have to change the Picture Duration and the Transition Duration. This is a very important step.
Tools >> Options
Reduce the Duration to the least time [0.250 seconds].

Now add all the images to the Video Time Line. Play the movie, to get an idea. Add audio if you wish to. Personalize it as you wish.

Save the video! Don’t forget to show us all what you made!

VERY IMPORTANT:

~ Shooting a Stop Motion is a LONG and TIRING process. Be prepared. Have patience. Don’t hurry.
~ More the number of images, the better.
~ Always have what you want in mind.
~ You can take breaks in between but DO NOT change the lighting, exposure, etc. Always shoot one scene at one session.
~ Always shoot more frames than what you need.
REMEMBER: The 1:08 minute video consists of 300 frames and was done over a period of 4 hours!
~ Always test out things before you finally go-for-it.
~ Don’t get frustrated or irritated if you end up with a very small video. Anyone who knows what it is will understand and appreciate all the work gone behind making it! Even a 30 seconds movie is worth it!

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