Stop motion movies
Stop motion is a special type of animation. It uses real objects—instead of drawings or computer-generated images—to tell a story. The story characters can be people, animals, or even everyday objects. You can make them out of clay or paper or just use some toy figures, puppets, or even friends!
Give it a try, and be creative! (And be sure to get your parent’s permission if you’re going to use a stop-motion app!)
Get creative and brainstorm a shortstory. Make sure it has a beginning, middle, and end. Then write down your story. If you want to get professional, make a storyboard—rough sketches of the story’s key scenes.
Pick a location where you’re going to shoot the movie. Make sure you’ll have enough room to take pictures from different angles.
Gather or make the characters and props you’ll need for your movie, then find or create any backdrops you may want. (Even a blanket will work.)
Ask your parents if you can use a stop-motion smartphone app. Seriously recommended: They make the shoot easier and even let you add sound effects. (There are lots of options, but most cost a few dollars.) You can also make a stop-motion movie using a video recorder on a phone or camera. But it’s harder, and you’ll need to shoot a silent story that moves slowly. If neither of those are options, maybe you could even experiment with creating an awesome flip book by taking still images and printing them.
Set up your first shot. Position your characters and props for your first scene. Put your “movie camera” (what we’re calling your smartphone or camera now) on a tripod, if you have one, or figure out a way to keep it steady and in the same place. (Tip: Keep your camera on the same level as the action. Don’t shoot the scene from above, unless you’re doing a special aerial shot.)
Whether you’re using a moviemaking app or not, the process is the same: Take a picture, move your characters a tiny bit to show some action—whatever the story needs— and repeat. If you’re using an app, follow its instructions about recording each frame.
Repeat step 8 over and over and over until you complete your story. (Tip: If you mess up a shot, no worries. You can just redo that one.)
Gather family and friends and debut your film!
Photographs by Becky Hale / NG Staff: Adapted from the Nat Geo Kids book How Things Work, by T.J. Resler