Thursday, March 7, 2013


Stop motion videos are really simple. No really, I'm talking CRAZY simple. The catch with stop motion videos is, they are time consuming. And I really do mean that. They require planning and patience above all. This is how I go about mine...

1. PLAN AHEAD : A successful stop motion video is all about planning and execution. Having a defined plan of where you want the video to start and where you want it to  end is very important, but it is just as important to have the in between figured out. What do I mean by this? Well, instead on having a big picture idea, you have to have ideas mapped out for roughly every 5-10 seconds of your video. What you want to happen, how you want it to move, what you want that short clip to accomplish in that time frame. If you are drawing, draw lots of progressive pictures, add very small details at a time, the idea here is not to rush it.

2. LIGHTS, CAMERA, TRIPOD! : When you get to the photoing part of the process, you are going to want to remember the same rule, small movements, small details. Take TONS of pictures (5 pics per 1 second of video will make for a pretty fluid movement), and stabilize the lighting the best you possibly can. Use a tripod (THIS IS IMPERATIVE), and if you need to draw out a guideline to make sure you stay in the same field of vision through the viewfinder of your camera, they do it! I always do, just so I know exactly where I need to be shooting.

3. EDITS & TIMING: After the photos are complete and you are ready to put together your video ( I used iMovie), I first go through and edit and big things in the photos I don't like, but thats not really needed, I'm just anal about that stuff. Import the photos into iMovie or whichever program you are using and remember you only want each picture to flash quickly, you don't want it to stay stationary for too long. The idea is to have it look as fluid as possible. I tend to like each picture to flash for .2 seconds, I know I know, thats pretty fast. But this is why you have to take so many photos, my darlings!

4. EXCEPTIONS: Sometimes, a little bit of static time is inevitable, for me, when I do a lyric video, sometimes you just have to have the video stand still for a few seconds to ensure that the images follow the music and people can actually read what its saying and follow along. But I make sure to have different speeds happen throughout the video, to keep it interesting.

So, now on to the final product. The video below was done for a friends band called This Renaissance, for their single called "Forgive Her, Forget Him". I spent about a full day drawing out the lyrics and getting a general plan together. I spent another day figuring out light, photographing and editing over 800 images. Now, I know 800 images sounds like a lot but honestly? I wish I have done even more. The more images the more fluid the end result will be, don't forget! After the images were ready to go, it took me about 8 hours of video editing to get the timing right for everything, and get things to move in a way I was happy with. Of course, after all is said and done, I would make changes and tweaks, but that will be for the next video. Each stop motion video I do is a learning experience and I will apply what I learn to the next one, instead of obsessing over the same video and fixing it over and over.

Anyway, here's the video! If you have any questions just leave it in the comments and I'll be happy to help if I can :) Enjoy!