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How to Make a Stop Motion Video

Megan O'Neill

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If you’re looking for information about how to make a stop motion video, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll dive into what stop motion video is, how to shoot for stop motion, and how to edit stop motion. Plus we’ll share some ideas and examples.

how-to-make-a-stop-motion-video

Click on any of the links below to jump to a specific section.

What is stop motion?

Stop motion is an animation technique in which one frame is captured at a time. In between each shot, the objects in the frame are moved slightly. When the images are strung together in a video, it gives the impression that the objects are moving on their own.

You’ve likely seen this technique used in popular films like The Nightmare Before Christmas or Wallace and Gromit.

But many brands are jumping on the stop motion bandwagon as well, creating simple animations to grab attention on social media. Here’s a super simple example, created by video production agency Visual Country for Neutrogena.

Today, stop motion videos are created using specialized software like Dragonframe, stop motion maker apps, and even stringing together photos in simple video editing programs. In the following sections, we’ll show you how to make a stop motion video of your own, using your phone or a simple camera to take photos, and Animoto to put them together.

How to shoot a stop motion video

So how do you shoot for a stop motion video? Basically, the steps look something like this:

  • Step 1: Set your scene
  • Step 2: Take a picture
  • Step 3: Make a small change
  • Step 4: Take a picture
  • Step 5: Make another small change
  • Step 6: Take a picture
  • Step 7: Make another small change
  • Step 8: Take a picture
  • Step 9: Repeat until you’re done!

Here’s a quick video to help you visualize the process:

Setting up your shot

Arguably the most important part of shooting a stop motion video is the setup. You need to make sure your camera stays still throughout the entire process. If your camera moves just a tad, that’s fine. But if it moves a lot, it’ll create a jump in your animation and it can be difficult to get everything lined up again.

To show you what we mean, here are 2 examples. The first, shot with a tripod, shows what a stop motion animation looks like when the camera remains still. The second shows what can happen if your camera moves during the process. It's been slightly exaggerated for effect.

To keep your camera steady, try using a tripod or simply lean your phone or camera against something sturdy. To avoid extra shake, you can try a simple bluetooth camera remote like this one.

Want to shoot something from above that’s resting on the floor or a table? Check out our article on how to DIY an overhead shot with what you have, including simply getting creative with it as in the example below.

DIY-overhead-camera-setup

How to edit a stop motion video

Once you’ve shot your stop motion video, it’s time to put it all together! In this section, we’ll show you how to put it all together using Animoto. Animoto’s got everything you need to create marketing videos of all types, including stop motion capabilities using the Photo Burst feature.

Step 1: Start a new Animoto video project

If you’re not an Animoto customer yet, sign up for a free account to get started. Login and click CREATE to start a new video. Choose START FROM SCRATCH and select a video style. If you plan to include text in your video, the video style will determine how that text is displayed and animates on screen.

Step 2: Add a Photo Burst block to your project

Once you’re in, click on ADD A BLOCK to add a Photo Burst block to your project. Animoto videos are built by mixing and matching blocks and the Photo Burst block allows you to add a quick sequence of up to 15 images to your video.

add-a-photo-burst-block

Step 3: Add your photos in sequential order

Next, upload the photos that you shot for your stop motion animation and drag and drop them into the Photo Burst block. Make sure you’re adding them in sequential order, from first to last.

stop-motion-animoto

If you’ve got more than 15 photos—the maximum number a single Photo Burst block accepts—that’s not a problem. Simply add a new Photo Burst after the first and continue adding your images.

Step 4: Choose your speed

Once your photos are added, it’s time to set the speed. Under the “Timing” controls on the right, you’ll find three speed options—1X, 2X, and 3X. Click through to select the speed that feels best to you.

Step 5: Finalize and produce!

Once that’s done, you’re ready to put the finishing touches on your video and produce. Feel free to add more blocks, add text, or select music from our library that fits the mood of your stop motion video. When you’re ready, produce your video and share it with the world!

Stop motion video ideas and examples

Now that you know how to make your stop motion video, it’s time to start brainstorming! We’ve put together a few ideas and examples to help inspire you.

Put your product in motion

Our first idea has everything to do with your product or service. Come up with ideas for how you can make what you’re selling stand out with the motion of stop motion. As part of our recent Brand Camp event, pro photographer Vanessa Joy and Animoto Senior Marketing Manager Sally Sargood created the following video for NYC café Bluestone Lane.

The video not only features a fun Photo Burst up front, using the Bluestone Lane cup. But it incorporates stop motion at the end when a cup of coffee seems to empty on its own. How did they do it? They carefully used a straw to sip out a little bit of coffee at a time in between shots.

Build a scene

For a simple idea, try simply adding items one at a time to your scene. As part of Brand Camp, Vanessa Joy also showed how this is done. Check out her quick tutorial below. If you’re interested in learning more, check out her full video about taking better photos and videos with your smartphone.

This style of video can work for all sorts of use cases, not just food on a table. For instance, if you’re selling clothing, try putting together and accessorizing an outfit, one piece at a time.

Use paper

This example, another one from Visual Country, offers a different take on featuring a product. Instead of simply moving the sock around the screen, they animated something special about the sock—polka dots—using cut out paper.

Colorful cutout paper backgrounds and moving shapes are a fun way to capture attention. Try using your brand colors for extra recognition.

Hop on a trend

Create a stop motion animation about a trend related to your business. You can get it in front of more people by using hashtags related to the trend. Here’s an example of a video shared to remind people about Small Business Saturday. To learn more about making the most about trending hashtags, check out our article on Instagram growth hacking.

shopsmall

Include people

Last but not least, try including people in your stop motion video. People really connect with other people, so including a person in your video can lead to more people stopping to watch.

Here's an example, featuring my collection of Animoto t-shirts. It took about 15 minutes to make, using my iPhone and the Photo Burst block.

BONUS IDEA! Try turning your stop motion video into a GIF! You can post it on social media, or include it in an email. Check out our post on how to turn your video into a GIF, as well as our post on using video in email marketing.

stop-motion-video

Have you created a stop motion video? We’d love to see it! Drop a link in the comments or head over to share it with us in the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community on Facebook. Happy animating!