Stop motion movies are great fun to do with your kids, and they’re a bit of fun for adults too! They require no expensive equipment, and are not that difficult either – all you will need is a bit of patience! Here’s the Beginner’s Guide to how to make a stop motion movie brought to you by Brick Flicks:
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If you are not familiar with stop motion movies, they are made using an animation technique that makes objects or characters appear to move on their own. The object or character is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of pictures is played as a continuous sequence. Recent films like Paranorman, Wallace & Gromit, Fantastic Mr Fox and Coraline all use this technique.
So you’ve decided to have a go at making your own stop motion movie. Here are some tips.
How To Make A Stop Motion Movie
#1. Decide on Your Movie’s Story
This is an important step as it will save you tons of time later. Decide on what your movie is going to be about, what the story line will be and who the main characters are.
You might like to make a storyboard for your movie – take a page and draw out the main events in your story as if you were creating a cartoon.
Get some inspiration from the 10 Best Stop Motion Movies of all Time
#2. Get Your Equipment Ready
- a camera or a smartphone or tablet with camera
- a stand to hold your camera – you can improvise and make something just to hold the camera steady and in the same position
- your characters – You can use little characters made from toys or make new ones from plasticine.
- your props – any things that you want your characters to stand beside or use, e.g. doll’s house furniture
- a backdrop – you might want to have a white sheet or blank wall, or make a backdrop.
“Build a stand out of Lego for your phone so it does not wobble. Bits of sticky tape/blue tack are also handy to keep sets and figurines in place.” Donal
#3. Create Your Film Set
Find a place that has consistent lighting (not beside a window where sunlight might be streaming in).
Set up your backdrop and position your characters and props ready for the first picture.
For our Mykidstime Lego Stop Motion Christmas Movie we built a set out of Lego and had it against a red background.
Place your camera in front of the set and make sure it is steady on its stand.
Take a test picture to make sure the result is light enough, and if not, adjust your lighting.
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#4. Take Pictures
Take your first picture. Then move the characters or props slightly and take another picture. It is recommended not to move them more than an inch each time. Repeat until you have finished the “story”.
#5. You Could Use An App Too
There are also plenty of stop motion apps available which can help simplify the process, as they allow you to take your photos/and edit within the app. Here are 3 we can recommend:
Stop Motion Studio
Available on Android or for iPhone/iPad, Stop Motion Studio allows you to record the shots and add some sounds effect and the title/end sequence.
“I found this app to be the best of the ones I tried for my Windows phone” – Donal
Lego Movie Maker
Available for iPhone/iPad, Lego Movie Maker is a free kid-friendly app, that allows you to make your stop motion movie from start to finish within the app. There are options to change speed and screen template, and you can also add music and voice over to maximise the fun!
“My 9 year old son loves this app – it’s really straightforward to use, very kid-friendly and he has used it to create lots of his own lego movies and movies with other characters” – Jennifer
Available for iPhone/iPad, iMotion is similar to the Lego movie maker app, in that you can make stop motion movie from start to finish within the app. However, it does offer more functionality, in terms of frame capture, and edit capability. The free version though is quite limited, and offers in-app purchases for music, effects etc. The iMotion Pro app at €2.99 provides all functionality with no in-app purchases.
“This is probably better suited to older kids – not as kid-friendly, and less available on free version” – Jennifer
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#6. Import Pictures (if not using App)
Save the pictures onto your laptop/PC/mac.
Import your Pictures into Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Adjust the duration of your pictures so that they are very short eg 500-800 milliseconds. (Here are instructions on changing the duration for Windows Movie Maker and for iMovie)
“I imported into Windows Movie Maker to do sequencing and some extra editing and adding the music.” Donal
#7. Arrange the Photos
Select all of the photos you want to add and drag them down into the timeline if using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. If using your app select the pictures you want to keep. Arrange them if needed to make the correct storyline.
#8. Add a Bit of Polish
Add a Title screen at the start and a credits screen at the end of your movie. You can also add music. Tip: Make sure any music you use isn’t copyrighted if you plan to share your movie on YouTube or other social media platforms. You can find uncopyrighted music by Googling that you can download and use and credit the composer.
Stopmotionmovies.yolasite.com is a good website for educators and young people on making stop motion movies.
Over to you now. Did you find this guide to how to make a stop motion film useful? Any other tips? Tell us in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!