Stop Motion Tips

I love anthropomorphizing things. Dancing bananas, singing teapots, talking shoes… So, this lifelong love is my excuse for loving the stop motion culture of Vines. I love the idea of potatoes up and becoming stamps without any human intervention. Or the fact that magic helped you make a silkscreen with drawing fluid.

Stop motion needs most of the frame to remain constant while aspects of the frame change incrementally. The illusion is better when many small increments of change are done in many shots. But, this requires patience and time. I can’t say I have either, but I have still been able to get some satisfying stop motion videos.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with stop motion:

You need something that keeps your phone still and in the same place. A tripod is best, but you can improvise, say with a book and tape.

Lighting can be a tell. Because stop motion takes a lot longer than 6 seconds, you might find yourself shooting frames over the span of hours. With strong light, say from a window, changes in the light will indicate long elapses of time. Artificial light remains constant, and creates a more seamless effect.

Framing devices help you with stop motion. If you are doing a craft video, a cutting board can serve not only as a constant and a framing device for the craft supplies above it.

Ghost, ghost, ghost. Patty E. has some good videos showing the ghost function. Essentially, it shows a faint image of the previous frame to serve as a guide for your current frame. Without it, you are creating stop motion blind to the previous frame.

Save time for your final shot. You are often so excited that you got everything in, and you tap just once for that final shot. But, in reality for a satisfying video, you really need to give that final shot at least double the time of any of your earlier increments. This of it as your final scene rather than just a shot. Let your viewers see your satisfaction rather than your exhaustion.


My vines can be found here.

I have written a series of short posts about Vine. Enjoy:
Vine Video for Museums: Post 1
How can Museum Educators use Vine?
The Right Audience for Vine
Fostering Participation in Vines
Vine to Share the Museum Experience
Narrative in Vine
Looking at Art through Vine
Vine on Your Own
Vine Interface—An Orientation
Vine Basics
Vine and Audio
Stop Motion Tips

I produced these posts as notes in preparation for co-writing this paper for Museums and the Web 2014, with Alli Burness, @Alli_Burnie; Patty Edmonson, @Retrograde_D; and Chad Weinard, @caw_

Our presentation Vine feed is here.

Our workshop in April, 2014 sparked some good conversation, see the Storify.

Many of our participants made some wonderful Vines, check these out.

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