How To Make an Animated Film Using Stop-Motion (For Beginners)

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Making a stop-motion animated film is an easy and inexpensive way to bring objects to life and gain filmmaking experience!

Making a stop-motion animated film is an easy and inexpensive way to bring objects to life and gain filmmaking experience.This film technique has been used since the 1800s and is still popular today (think claymation like Wallace and Gromit and many Tim Burton films like Nightmare Before Christmas and Caroline).

Stop-motion animation includes taking a picture of an inanimate object, moving it just a little, taking another picture, moving it a little more, taking another picture, and on and on. You then turn all of these pictures into a video, which makes the object look like its moving on its own. It's very important that your objects are the only things that ever move. Your camera should never ever move, so consider getting a tripod for your camera before you start.

So here’s how to make your own stop-motion animated film:

Step 1: Choose Your App

You can easily use a smartphone with a good camera for this project. And if you do, there are plenty of free and cheap apps that you can use to bring your video together. One is Stop Motion Studio Pro, which has a paid option that ranges from $2-10 and is available for Windows, iOS, and Android. It has a lot of fun editing features that you can use to be creative. There is a free version available as well for iOS and Android, but it has less visual and audio effects available among other limitations. Other programs you can use include iMotion for iOS and PicPac for Android.

If you want to edit on a computer, you can use something like iKITMovie or Dragonframe. These have free trials as well as paid versions with more resources.

Step 2: Plan Your Film

It might be a good idea to draw out your scenes before starting, to get a better sense of what positions and scenes you will need. You can stay simple and use paper and pencil, or you can do this using technology and find a drawing or storyboard app.

You want to think about how your characters move, what action will take place, as well as consider your background and lighting. Get your materials together, including the inanimate objects you will use as characters and any scenery you will need.

Step 3: Take Your Pictures

Once you have your stable camera, background of your choice, appropriate lighting, and your inanimate objects, you can start filming.

Set your scene and take a picture. Then meticulously move your items and take another picture. Then keep doing so until you have your scene. If you want multiple scenes, repeat until you have all the shots for your video. A reasonable amount of pictures to have per second of video is usually about 10-12.

TIP: Apps like Stop Motion Pro are handy because they have an on-screen grid that can help you figure out how far to move your object for the next picture.

Step 5: Put Together and Edit Your Film

If the app you chose allows editing and special effects, you can finish your video directly in this app. If your chosen app does not allow for this, you can easily edit your clips with an ordinary video-editing tool. These include the Windows 10 Photos app, Kinemaster, or iMovie for Apple devices.

Here is your chance to be even more creative and add text, titles, music, and of course credits. Once your are satisfied with your masterpiece, export the video and tada! You have made a stop-motion animated video.