Merry Lockdown: Make a stop-motion video

An extra long Christmas holiday and a total lockdown. How do you get through that? Kidsweek comes to the rescue with tips to get through the day. Idea for today: make a stop-motion video in eight steps.

All you need is a camera or phone with camera, a computer and some ingredients. Animator Niek Michel explains the rest.

Before you start…

Set your camera to the lowest resolution. If you don’t know how to do this, ask your parents. You need 200 photos for a 33-second video. A tripod is also useful, because the camera has to stay still. You can also craft one yourself. Tie your camera or phone to a slat and place it between a stack of books. Your camera then films from above.

Step 1: Choose your story

Choose which ingredients you want to bring to life. Everything is possible in the world of stop-motion: apples, cookies, toys, clay, people, pencils, rice grains. It’s nice to come up with something that isn’t actually possible. Also choose a surface, such as colored paper. Take a look through the lens to see if everything in the picture is well covered.

Step 2: Start with nothing

There is nothing in the first photo you take. You can’t start in the middle of an action.

Step 3: Only the nose

In the second photo you let your ‘main character’ slowly appear in the picture. Only his nose is still in view when you take the picture. In the next photo it is already a very small step further. And a little bit more in the next photo. After ten photos, check your camera to see if it works.

Photo: Shody Careman

Step 4: Huh?

Something has to happen that you don’t expect. For example, a cookie arrives. Again, take pictures of each step the cookie makes. Be careful not to accidentally shoot your hand! And make sure that you now move both objects in each photo.

Photo: Shody Careman

Step 5: Fantasize

Convince with your imagination. For example, if a dog eats a cookie, you take small bites yourself and put the cookie down again and again for the next photo.

Photo: Shody Careman

Step 6: Clay Is Fine

Clay always works well. You can mold anything from it, for example a snake that snakes slowly through the image. Suddenly the snake coils itself up. Don’t knead a ball all at once, but photograph the clay after every squeeze you put in it.

Photo: Shody Careman

Step 7: Credits

You are almost there! Only the credits left. When you write it, write the letters one line at a time and photograph each step. If you place the pencil with the point on the letter, it seems as if the pencil itself writes.

Photo: Shody Careman

Step 8: On the Computer

You now have a lot of photos, but no video yet. You need your computer for that, with a program like Windows Moviemaker (on a Microsoft computer) or Quicktime (on the Mac). First, transfer your photos to your computer. In Windows Moviemaker you create a ‘new project’. Then find your photos and open them. Adjust the time code to six frames per second. You do this by selecting all photos and adjusting the ‘display duration’ to 0.2 seconds. Save your video as MPEG4 and give it a nice title. Good luck!

Photo: Shody Careman

If you have a Smartphone, it’s even easier to make a stop-motion video. There are all kinds of apps for that.

Nick Michel gives workshops on photography and animation for children. Here are some of the videos that children made during those workshops:

Video of 2016 Lodenstein Hoevelaken L3G everything2 Niek Michel

Video of 2016 EYE NSG CKV 4 Niek Michel everything2

Video of 2016 EYE NSG CKV1 Niek Michel everything2

We want to say thanks to the author of this short article for this outstanding content

Merry Lockdown: Make a stop-motion video

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