It can be a challenge to create, however, with the right tools and the right creative vision, you can make the most clever stop-motion stories.
There are many ways to create a stop-motion piece. Outlined below is the process I took to create the following video.
How to Create a Stop-Motion Video
1. Develop your idea
Think about what story you want to tell and what images you want to capture. Coming up with the idea is half the challenge. Executing your idea is the remaining challenge!
For the idea shown above, I knew that this piece was being posted to my Instagram account. I also knew straight away that I wanted to create a flatlay style motion piece.
The other challenge I faced was that I had to incorporate orange into this shot. This is because my Instagram account is colour themed and my current colour is orange. Luckily I had some liquorice all-sorts on hand to provide me with the colour I needed!
2. Create a storyboard
Depending on your idea it may be good to create a storyboard so that you can easily see what images you need to take. Your story needs to make sense and the clearer you can make your vision, the less editing you will need to do afterwards.
For my example, I kept the idea very simple and knew exactly what I wanted to shoot. This meant that I spent very little time in editing due to being very concise in what images I wanted to capture.
You also need to envisage how many shots you will need to create your video. In the Elle Magazine example above, I shot 31 frames and the duration of the video was 6 seconds. The movie speed is 5 frames per second (fps). So, if you want to shoot a 10-second video then you need to capture at least 50 frames. If you want to speed up your video you need to shoot a lot more!
Tip: Pro animators typically work in the 12fps or 24fps range.
3. Set-up your shooting space
There are a few considerations you need to keep in mind when setting up your space to shoot your stop motion video.
- Set-up on a stable surface like a table (or the floor). As I was shooting a flatlay style motion piece, I thought it would be best to set up on the floor. You want a space where you can easily add and remove items as you’re shooting. You can see an example of my set-up below.
- Consider your lighting. The other reason I set up on the floor was that I wanted to avoid the natural light from the window to the right of my set-up. Shooting in natural light can cause havoc on your stop motion video. If the light is constantly changing this will be visible in your video. Your goal is to find flat, even light.
- Use a tripod. This is imperative. Whether you are using your smartphone or digital SLR you will need to set your camera in place and leave it in the same spot for the duration of the shoot. If you can, use a remote control to avoid any camera shake. If you tether your camera to your computer you can just click from your computer.
TIP: Use the live view on your camera or computer to easily review your composition.
4. Shoot your video
There are many tools and applications you can use to create a stop-motion video. You can shoot directly on Instagram (Instagram Stories has a stop-motion feature), or you can use iMovie (if you have a Mac), or one of the many stop-motion apps.
I decided to shoot the images on my DSLR and import the shots into Lightroom. From there, I edited all the frames in a batch so that the edits were the same for each frame. The images were then exported to the camera roll on my iPhone.
I used the Stop Motion app by Cateater. This app is available for iOS and Android devices, plus it’s also available for Mac and Windows.
When you open the app, go to “New Movie” and either select the camera icon to take your shots or the “+” sign to add images from your folder.
In terms of shooting your vision, I created the final flatlay first and then shot in reverse. I would pull out, or move, piece-by-piece until I was left with the Elle Magazine in the end. You can do it the other way around if you have a clear storyboard to follow, and you know your vision.
Tip: Shoot at a higher frame rate for smoother animations.
5. The final touches
This is the fun part! Here is where you can control the speed of the video, add audio, sound effects, filters, and much more.
Think about the order of your images. I wanted to show the end frame first (i.e. the final finished shot) as this is what appears on the Instagram page when you upload your video. Then, I showed my last frame and added the images consecutively in reverse order. The reason for this is so that you can see the flatlay getting constructed.
When selecting the audio remember that most songs are copyright protected and won’t be available for use. The track I used was purchased from Envato. There are free options available from other sites too.
Once you have finalised your masterpiece, it’s time to share it with the world! The Stop Motion app allows you to share directly to YouTube, Facebook, Dropbox, iCloud and more.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to get started on creating some inspiring videos!
If it’s in your “too hard basket” and you’d rather have someone create these videos for you, then get in touch on my contact page and let’s chat about how we can work together!