Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How to do amateur Stop Motion Animation with basic video editing software - Beginner's Guide

I literally did stop motion animation for the first time last month. I had never really paid attention to it let alone try it before this month. I had a slight idea originating from my common sense of how it was done.

Something told me there has to be a special software (maybe even a special camera/recommended type of camera) to use but I didn't want to spend so much on this newly found interest that I knew wouldn't last very long. Also, I assume the softwares aren't free to use (or maybe only free to use for one or two sessions) and I already have a licensed version of a video editing software so I didn't want to waste time and make my laptop vulnerable to viruses by going to random sites trying to download special software.

I had my DSLR camera that my dad bought a few months ago (since our digital camera was ages old and on the verge of dying, we thought we needed an upgrade) and a tripod, and I never looked up how people did it so I just went with what looked about right in my head. Taking a lot of pictures while moving the object or objects by a very small distance between each shot. Seems pretty easy. What I didn't know, however, was how long it takes. I had heard it was time-consuming, but I didn't think it would take as long as it did for me just to create 2-3 minute stop motion video which wasn't as smooth, but it worked.

Before you read further on, you should watch my stop motion videos to see what kind of content can be made from this short tutorial (if you can already do better than I did, this post may be a waste of your time but hey, you can check out my other articles!):

This is how I made a simple stop motion video:

All you need is any camera. It could be a DSLR, a digital camera, or even your phone camera. Just be aware of what quality of video you want to create so you can decide which camera is the best. You will also need a tripod or a make-shift tripod (holding your phone/camera in your hand isn't the best idea no matter how stable you can rest your hand, it won't work). For your first time, you can just experiment by using random objects or items lying around in your room.

Taking the pictures:
It's pretty self-explanatory. You just have to click pics, move your object a teensy-weensy bit and then click another picture. You decide where you want your objects to go so this is where your creativity should take over. There's no tutorial on that part.

My tip: 
If you are using a DSLR like I did, don't do the mistake I did the first time I shot pictures for my stop motion. Keep your shutter speed high since it won't matter for the quality of the picture. You're only moving the items when the camera isn't shooting and the camera is stationary. The reason why you should keep the shutter speed high is that otherwise, it will take way too long to take the hundreds (yes, hundreds, but depending on how long your video is it could be more or less) of pictures due to the waiting time in between.

Next, you have to transfer all those pictures into your laptop or PC.

For editing, you can use the basic software provided in your PC (e.g. if you have a windows laptop you may have windows movie maker pre-installed). If you don't, the easiest software there is is Videopad. The unlicensed version is free to use for a couple of videos (provided it's not commercial use), but then you will have to buy the licensed version if you want to make more videos.

All you have to do is add the pictures to whatever basic video editing software you use, add it to the storyboard/timeline, and change the speed of all images to around 1000%. (you can set it to a higher percentage if you want the motion to look faster). Add any text or anything of that sort if you want, and then save and export it as a video file

And that's literally all you have to do to make a simple, amateur stop motion animation film.

Check out my Behind the scenes video for a stop motion video I made recently:

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