If you have been wanting to create a stop-motion video, but thought it was complicated, I have great news for you! Today I’m sharing a beginner’s guide to stop-motion video using just your cell phone, a tripod, and clay!
I recently was brainstorming ways to keep my kids busy and entertained on rainy days and decided it would be fun for them to learn how to do stop-motion video! This is a great way to stretch creative and artistic muscles, learning more about animation in a very simple and fun way.
We got the materials and played around, and I thought I would share how we did it, and what we learned.
We chose to create mostly 2D stop-motion, laying on a flat surface. However, this same technique can be used if you wanted to have your characters standing for a more 3D effect.
Modeling clay (not the kind that dries out) in many colors
Foam board (for white background)
Camera (a phone’s camera is great!)
Cell phone tripod or camera tripod
TipIf you don’t have a tripod, you can prop your phone inside a mug with something soft at the bottom to boost it up, or you can lay it over the edge of a chair with the area being captured on the floor.
Stop motion app, or movie editing software like iMovie, or Photoshop
Apps that will make stop motion videos:
Life Lapse Stop Motion Maker (what I used and demonstrate in this tutorial)
Onion Cam2 – StopMotion Camera
Stop Motion Studio (must take the pics within the app)
Before you get started with your stop-motion video, you want to create your characters or objects with clay and plan out what you want the characters or objects to do. Lay out your white board and create a setting– add props if you want!
Then you need to set up your camera or phone so that you can take lots of pictures fairly quickly with minimal or no movement and the same settings.
Here are the steps if using your phone’s camera:
1- Change auto-lock or screen saver to “never” so that your phone will not go to sleep while recording or taking pictures. This is important because you don’t want to have to remove the phone from the tripod to enter your passcode and try to put it back in exactly the same position over and over. It’s impossible.
2- Lock the exposure, white-balance, and focus. The focus will have to be done later when you have the phone in position in the tripod. In the Life Lapse App, this is done within the app after you open a new project, so you don’t have to mess with the phone’s camera settings.
3- In the Life Lapse app, lock the continuous shooting mode. This just means the phone will take pictures continuously without you having to touch the phone. If you are using a regular camera or are not using the app, use a remote to take pictures, so you don’t bump the position every time you take a picture.
4- In the Life Lapse app, select pictures to be taken every 5 seconds continually.
5- Position the phone in the tripod so that your characters or objects are in the center of the frame with the white background.
I created an animated GIF to show you all the steps:
Now it’s time to start capturing pictures for your stop-motion video.
- Start taking pictures. Take a pictures, move the objects a little, take another, move again, and repeat. The more pictures the better the result will look. Try not to move the objects too much between frames, so that the movement will love a little more animated instead of choppy. I would aim to take at least 50 pictures for a 15 or 20 second video.
- Delete any pictures that your hands appear in or that you want to edit out.
- Add sound effects or music (optional).
- Play video!
This is my little 8 year-old’s creation below. I helped with the grass and she watched and helped me to the first video at the top of this post, then she did everything else herself for her own. The characters, how they moved, everything. So good right?
You could do the same thing with a regular point-and-shoot camera, but you definitely need a remote so your background isn’t moving as well as the objects– it will make it distracting.
I hope this tutorial was a bit helpful and gives you an idea of how to create a simple stop-motion video with just a few inexpensive supplies. Happy creating!
To see more ideas on fun things to do when you are stuck at home, go to this post!