You don’t need heaps of equipment in order to produce fun animations à la Wallace and Gromit. Check out these 5 stop motion tips!
Stop motion is a cinematographic technique. It’s created by piecing together individual frames, with the subject being moved slightly each time, to give the impression of movement. Some great stop motion productions include Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, The Lego Movie, and Aardman favourites Wallace and Gromit!
Part of what makes stop motion animation so impressive is the saint level of patience and incredible attention to detail required to produce a whole video or film. Typically, 8-12 frames results in one second of stop motion animation. That’s over 68, 400 frames for the chatoic The Curse of the Were-Rabbit!
As with most creative endeavours, setting out with a decent plan is sure to make your life a whole lot easier than if you go in blind. Having a solid storyboard plotting out each section of your story will assist you in visualising what each scene is going to look like.
Your job is capture the motion of your story, so adding notes to your storyboard regarding the types of shots you are going to use will help keep you on track.
More is More
One of the more major stop motion tips, here. You mustn’t shy away from doing more than you think you need. We said it’s an art that requires plenty of patience, after all.
Ensuring your lighting and camera setting and position remain the same for each scene is vital for continuity. Failure to manage this, and you risk jarring changes featuring within your animation.
A great way to combat this is to take more photos than you think you need. It’s always better to have more to play with when it comes to editing frames together than having large gaps, and it can be super time-consuming trying to recreate your original settings.
Picking decent video editing software is paramount, as you will be spending a large chunk of your time piecing your shots together and adding effects. Fortunately, there is a good range of options to choose from out there at the moment.
Dragonframe has been specifically developed for stop motion animation and has easy to use tools, making it a strong choice. If you’re using Windows then Stop Motion Pro could be a good one to go for, allowing you to view your camera shot live on the computer screen, as well as easily drawing on visual effects.
For some information and guidance on how to boost your video editing skills, check out our other blog post here!
Handle with Care
As mentioned above, patience is key when filming stop motion animations. Have you ever tried to tie your shoe laces whilst in a hurry to get out the door? You often end up wrestling with a tangled mess and getting out the door more slowly than if you’d just relaxed and taken your time.
This goes for stop motion filming. If you rush to get the required shots, you run the risk of bumping the camera and losing the position you’d been in for over an hour. The same applies for adjusting your subject; small careful adjustments will make for a smoother and more believable final result. Great stop motion takes time, and it’s as simple as that.
Sound and Vision
Adding audio to any visual media adds another dimension and really brings the creation to life. Stop motion is just like any other kind of film, and adding audio will aid in telling the story and creating atmosphere. We have written a handy blog on great sound design to help you get started.
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