Digital Studio - - CONTENTS -

DS: What is stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion? Stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion is an in­ter­est­ing tech­nique in which ob­jects are mov­ing grad­u­ally – in small in­cre­ments – and each step is pho­tographed... one by one. When the se­quence of the pho­tos is played as a video – then the il­lu­sion of a fluid mo­tion is cre­ated – and ob­jects ap­pear to move by them­selves. This al­lows cre­ative artists to come up with a lot of quirky lit­tle an­i­ma­tions which would not be oth­er­wise pos­si­ble.

The main ad­van­tage of stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion is that it re­ally looks dif­fer­ent, un­usual… and there­fore mem­o­rable. We can say that stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion is an art in which cre­ators can spring life in inan­i­mate things and cre­ate mag­i­cal, un­nat­u­ral and amaz­ing works. It al­lows for a very un­usual and cre­ative ap­proach – and that is the rea­son why stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing its re­birth.

DS: What do I need to cre­ate stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion?

Well, to be hon­est, not much re­ally. Many cre­ators have pro­duced ex­cel­lent qual­ity stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tions at home, on their desks or ta­bles, with min­i­mum equip­ment re­quired.

CAM­ERA: First of all, you will need a cam­era (or mo­bile phone). You do not need to use any ex­pen­sive cam­era – a sim­ple one will do. As will do mo­bile phone. Ac­tu­ally, there are even some apps which will al­low you to cap­ture stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion with a fea­ture called “onion skin” ( you can see your pre­vi­ous photo half-trans­par­ent on the screen). Such a fea­ture is very help­ful be­cause it will al­low you to move your ob­jects ex­actly as you want to (with­out any guess­ing where was the po­si­tion of the ob­ject in the pre­vi­ous shot).

One im­por­tant tip: set your cam­era to man­ual mode, oth­er­wise, you might ex­pe­ri­ence some flicker be­tween the frames as the cam­era is try­ing to ad­just the bright­ness of the scene.

PROPS: Then you need an ob­ject(s), clay char­ac­ters, Lego blocks, mag­a­zine cut-outs, cof­fee mugs, scis­sors, flow­ers… what­ever your cre­ative mind will come up with. BUT - be­fore you start search­ing for your ob­jects – make sure you know ex­actly what will your stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion be about. Prepa­ra­tion is ex­tremely im­por­tant for this type of video – as you would not like to go back few times to re-shoot scenes which you missed.

TRI­POD AND LIGHTS: In or­der to cre­ate good qual­ity stop mo­tion video – you need to be mind­ful of two things: Use a tri­pod for your cam­era. Why? Be­cause each tiny move­ment of your cam­era will re­sult in shaky, jig­gly footage. And you do not want that. Think about us­ing a shut­ter re­lease, too. Ba­si­cally – try to avoid any un­nec­es­sary cam­era move­ment. Sec­ond im­por­tant thing is: be very care­ful about the source of light. While tak­ing pho­tos – one by one – you will re­al­ize that the slight change in light­ing con­di­tions or dif­fer­ence in white bal­ance will have a great neg­a­tive im­pact on qual­ity of your fi­nal video. So, I would sug­gest us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial lights (and block day­light).

FOR­MAT: As men­tioned – stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion is, in re­al­ity, the se­quence of pho­tos… so you have ab­so­lute con­trol over the frame rate of your video. I like to shoot stop mo­tion in JPEG since that al­lows me to have a quicker work­flow in post. If you are won­der­ing about the frame rate – most of the stop mo­tion videos are shot in 10 – 24 fps. De­pends how a smooth or quirky move­ment of the ob­jects you want to cap­ture.

TIME: Stop mo­tion an­i­ma­tion is quite time-con­sum­ing tech­nique – so have pa­tience… a lot of pa­tience. Only dur­ing the ac­tual pro­duc­tion of stop mo­tion video, you will re­al­ize how im­por­tant thor­ough prepa­ra­tion is. It will save you a lot of time… and ner­vous mo­ments.

DS: Why is stop mo­tion video so pop­u­lar?

Well, if you look at the cur­rent on­line video trends you will no­tice video needs to make an im­pact fast with­out the sound and it should be short. And these are the main rea­sons why stop mo­tion videos are per­form­ing so well. They are in­ter­est­ing and en­gag­ing – so they stand out and they work per­fectly even with­out the sound. They are short, not bor­ing, and in­ex­pen­sive. There­fore, a per­fect for­mat for so­cial me­dia.


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