Your Ultimate Guide To Stop Motion Videos

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Companies and brands are always looking for innovative ways how to promote their businesses, products, and services. Stop motion animation is not new, but with the rise of social media videos – stop motion video is experiencing its rebirth.

120 Years of History

Stop motion animation has a long history. This technique was first used in 1897 by J.Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in The Humpty Dumpty Circus. Over the years stop motion animation has seen remarkable success – in videos and films alike.

This special technique was used in films like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Robocop, and many others. As Czech citizen – I can be particularly proud of few of my countrymen who produced world-class stop motion animation – like Vladimir Jiranek and Lubomir Benes who created popular TV series Pat&Mat.

One of the most famous stop motion animation clay characters is Wallace and Gromit, created by Nick Park. He won Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for the movie The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Nevertheless, the most successful (in terms of money) stop motion animation movie till today is Chicken Run, created by British studio Aardman Animations – which grossed nearly 225 million USD worldwide.

What is Stop Motion Animation?

Stop motion animation is an interesting technique in which objects are moving gradually – in small increments – and each step is photographed… one by one. When the sequence of the photos is played as a video – then the illusion of a fluid motion is created – and objects appear to move by themselves. This allows creative artists to come up with a lot of quirky little animations which would not be otherwise possible.

The main advantage of stop motion animation is that it really looks different, unusual…and therefore memorable. We can say that stop motion animation is an art in which creators can spring life in inanimate things and create magical, unnatural and amazing works. It allows for a very unusual and creative approach – and that is the reason why stop motion animation is experiencing its rebirth.

What Do I need to Create Stop Motion Animation?

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Well, to be honest, not much really. Many creators have produced excellent quality stop motion animations at home, on their desks or tables, with minimum equipment required.

CAMERA

First of all, you will need a camera (or mobile phone). You do not need to use any expensive camera – a simple one will do. As will do mobile phone. Actually, there are even some apps which will allow you to capture stop-motion animation with a feature called “onion skin” (you can see your previous photo half-transparent on the screen). Such a feature is very helpful because it will allow you to move your objects exactly as you want to (without any guessing where was the position of the object in the previous shot).

One important tip: set your camera to manual mode, otherwise, you might experience some flicker between the frames as the camera is trying to adjust the brightness of the scene.

PROPS

Then you need an object(s), clay characters, Lego blocks, magazine cut-outs, coffee mugs, scissors, flowers… whatever your creative mind will come up with. BUT – before you start searching for your objects – make sure you know exactly what will your stop motion animation be about. Preparation is extremely important for this type of video – as you would not like to go back a few times to re-shoot scenes which you missed. 

TRIPOD AND LIGHTS

In order to create good quality stop motion video – you need to be mindful of two things:

  • Use a tripod for your camera. Why? Because each tiny movement of your camera will result in shaky, jiggly footage. And you do not want that. Think about using a shutter release, too. Basically – try to avoid any unnecessary camera movement.
  • Second important thing is: be very careful about the source of light. While taking photos – one by one – you will realize that the slight change in lighting conditions or difference in white balance will have a great negative impact on quality of your final video. So, I would suggest using artificial lights (and block daylight). 

FORMAT

As mentioned – stop-motion animation is, in reality, the sequence of photos… so you have absolute control over the frame rate of your video. I like to shoot stop motion in JPEG since that allows me to have a quicker workflow in post. If you are wondering about the frame rate – most of the stop motion videos are shoot in 10 – 24 fps. Depends how a smooth or quirky movement of the objects you want to capture.

TIME

Stop motion animation is quite time-consuming technique – so have patience… a lot of patience. Only during the actual production of stop motion video, you will realize how important is a good and thorough preparation. It will save you a lot of time… and nerves.

Why is Stop Motion Video so Popular?

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Well, if you look at the current video trends you will notice a few things:  

  • Your video needs to make an impact fast
  • You need to make an impact without the sound
  • Your video should be short

And these are the main reasons why stop motion videos are performing so well:

  • They are interesting and engaging – so they stand out.
  • They work perfectly even without the sound.
  • They are short, not boring, and – inexpensive. Therefore, a perfect format for social media.

If you are still wondering about the ways how your business or brand can benefit from stop motion video – feel free to reach out to us. We would love to be part of that creative project of your next stop motion video.

Square Motion is a Dubai-based Video-marketing agency producing Business Videos with Measurable Results. We guarantee 100k Video views in 1 month (on YouTube) – or your money back.

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