Stop-Motion Video: A Contemporary Classic

In the era of 360º Video and VR it may seem odd that we’re talking about one of the oldest forms of video: stop motion. But there’s a reason stop-motion video has endured so long, and why we love using it for digital content: it combines the beauty of photography with the attractive elements of video, while inviting a little magic into your content. Here are some tips to get you started making super cool stop-motion videos.

Why use stop-motion?

Obviously stop-motion videos have a certain look and feel, so this should be your first consideration. Is the style of stop motion video right for your content? We like to use it for light, funny or quirky pieces. It’s probably not the best for serious, emotional storytelling, but never say never! We like using it for social videos that need that little ‘magic’ element that you can’t get with live-action video without spending a fortune on special effects.

Tips for getting started

  • Keeping things consistent is extremely important because you want the whole video to feel cohesive. Make sure the lighting stays the same throughout the entire filming process and that background items don’t move unintentionally.
  • Use a tripod, and don’t move anything that’s not supposed to move in the shot. You should use manual focus, and even tape the focus ring in place to ensure consistent focus.
  • For the item that’s being animated, make as little movement as possible in between shots. It takes longer to film, but the result is a smoother animation. You can use bigger movements between frames if you’re going for a jumpy, old-school look.
  • This is probably our favorite stop-motion video ever.

Putting it all together

  • Once you’ve shot all your pictures, you’ll need to stitch them together. But first, we recommend using Adobe Bridge or Photo Mechanic to sort through the photos and get rid of any you don’t want. This saves time later.
  • Next, put all your photos into Adobe Lightroom or another editing program. Edit them all to have a consistent look and feel before trying to stitch them together.
  • Once you’ve selected your winning photos and edited them to play nice together, use After Effects or another similar program to combine them into a video. Remember, you can make one photo into multiple frames to play with the timing. You can also zoom in and out of a photo to create a different landscape on which your action can take place.
  • Here’s a stop-motion video we created for a client. As you can see, it adds a little magic.

It’s easy and fun to make stop-motion videos, and we think they infuse new life into social media content. They grab your attention more than a static photo, and can add a little magic into a video. There’s a reason this form has endured so long, and we’re happy to update and keep the tradition alive. Here’s one more video we’re particularly fond of. Happy filming!


Originally published at room214.com.

About the author: Kai Case is a Junior Producer at Room 214 who is obsessed with all things visual. He uses his talents to tell great, meaningful stories visually. Kai believes a good day is one spent outdoors, not exercising (a.k.a. drinking on rooftop patios). Follow him on Instagram or shoot him an email him at kcasey@room214.com.

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