Stop Motion - Help!

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by africano, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. africano macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Hi guys, Im interested in making a stop motion video.....I want to shoot pictures of people at a party and then compile everything to make a stop motion video.......Is this possible?

    I have a digital DSLR......How do I shoot the images? Do I use continuos shutter, so I press down and it takes x number of pictures and then move on to something else and do the same? Or how do you suggest shooting the images?

    Then what program do you suggest? Imovie 11 or Final cut pro or Adobe premier?

    Any ideas on what to look out for, frame rate, camera settings, etc?

    Shooting should all be done in manual right? what about white balance, focus, iso settings, etc?

    Please help! I dont want a professional result but something more or less okay!

    I want to do it for an engagement party we are having!

  2. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    From what I read, the thing you want to do is not called "Stop Motion" but rather "Time Lapse". The idea of Stop Motion is to put the camera on a tripod, then take a picture of a scene. Then change something in the scene a little and take another picture. Combined, it looks like something is moving smoothly even though it isn't.

    You want to take lots of pictures of a scene that is actually moving. Ideally, you probably want the pictures taken at a given rate (like 2 per second) and then later combine them to make a movie. This will produce a stroboscopic hacked-up effect if you play it at about the same speed as the photos were taken and a sped up effect if you put them one after the other at 24 frames per second.

    If you actually want Stop Motion, the most well-known (and not too expensive) tool for that would probably be iStopMotion. If you want the choppy time lapse like effect, any editing program will probably do. Do you own all the above mentioned already or are you planning on spending a lot of money just for this thing?

    In your editor of choice, import all the pictures. Mark them all and put them on the timeline. Now mark everything on the timeline and adjust the clip length for all of them at the same time. You can play around with what looks cool for you. If you are unsure, search on youtube for "FCPX stop motion" or "FCPX time lapse" or whatever editor you will be using. There are tons of short and easy tutorials, this shouldn't be too hard to do.

    So you see that the post production process is possible and no big deal. We can also help you with that. As for taking the images: I would suggest you mount the camera on a tripod. If you really want camera movement, you can add it later, but doing it on set would probably look strange if you have no practice with this exact thing. Take a wide angle picture of the whole room. If you want to zoom in or something, do it in post, you will have too high a resolution anyways. If you can position it somewhere, the easiest thing would probably be triggering your camera in regular time steps from a laptop. That's possible with most cameras, although I've never done it. Some fancier cameras also have this option on board, but I don't know if yours does. Lock the exposure and focus settings (all manual) so you don't run into surprises afterwards.

    The production itself is more important in this case. Plan ahead, take your time, and try everything out 3 times before you go on set. :)

    Hope that helps. Good luck.
  3. africano thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Thanks a million Floh! great advice!

    What I want is stop motion....Here is an example...

    Okay so the hard part is getting the images right.....I have a Canon digital Rebel...or here in europe I think its know as the 1000D....Now I understand from your comments that the best thing would be to shoot using a tripod, but I dont want to have to drag the tripod around, this is just for fun and if the end result is okay I would like to share it with my friends who are getting married! So not after a professional result like in the example.

    So is it possible to shoot it hand held? and if so all settings should be manual correct? even focus? and what about shooting? I dont have an automatic shutter so I dont think I can programme that...there is a sports setting which when you hold down the trigger it takes several fotos at the same time, will this do? should I shoot with this setting?

    For example when people are exiting the church if I stand outside and shoot with the sports setting and get several fotos of people even though they are moving will this then work in the video editing?

    My main concern is hot to shoot the images beause I undesrtand from your comments that later I can set the time frames and the duration of each frame in post production?

    I have adobe premier and imovie 11 will these do?

    Again Im looking for a similar effect but nothing is it possible and how would you advise with the equipment I have?


    Heres another example!
  4. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Most of the videos you posted are partly stop motion example shoes and purses that move, then time lapse example person sitting at chair getting hair done.
    The stop motion part I would do with photographs (on a side note, Paranorman the animated film was done with a Canon 5D MKII).
    The time lapse is easy in any NLE or After Effects like app.
    Just drop a ton of frames. With After Effects you can use Time remap and a ton of keyframes set to HOLD.
    In an NLE its a little tougher but faster since you can scrub in any NLE app.
    Cant really do that in AE too well no matter how fast your system is.
    With the NLE you will need to blade cut a ton of frames then set the single frame to hold or extend, like I said tougher.
    In the end, I think burst shots with your camera is best.
    Just take the frames from the single burst and delete what you dont want.
    When you import it into Premiere, make sure to set the single frame length to something like 1 second.
    Single frames in most apps equate as 1 frame of say 30 frames (broadcast nubmers).
  5. bagelche macrumors 6502


    Nov 2, 2007
    Western Mass.
    iStopMotion also does time lapse w/ a connected camera, though I haven't experimented w/ that feature yet.

    It may be a very handy tool for you. I've only played w/ it a couple of times for stop motion, but I've found it easy and enjoyable to work with.

    (for the idly curious, here are the two short things I've done w/ iStopmotion so far: 1, 2)
  6. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    In regards to my comment about burst, Im not sure if that would help speed things up. After talking to my photographer, he stated that burst will do one second intervals.
    And at times the camera will stop if its too much.
    I guess the question is, do you have the footage shot already?
    If you did then using my AE or NLE steps would help.
    If its in frames like photos shot every 15 seconds then you can still use my suggested steps.
    I have never tried iStopMotion :(
  7. bagelche macrumors 6502


    Nov 2, 2007
    Western Mass.
    Both floh and mBox are fantastic resources on this forum. Listen to what they say! I will ramble, but I'm no expert.

    As mentioned, the videos you linked to use both stop motion and time lapse. All the shots with inanimate objects are stop motion (arrange, snap frame, arrange, snap frame, repeat) while the shots of people streaming out/dancing/etc. are time lapse (you're not arrange the people each frame, just pulling every N frame).

    Based on your description above, time lapse is what you want. You're not going to be arranging the people at the party frame by frame, but tracking their movement throughout the evening.

    I'd avoid going handheld--notice that every shot in the videos were locked down on a tripod--you won't have the control to have any sort of flow to the shots. Lock down the camera and perhaps move it occasionally (panning, for instance, or a new location would be a new "scene").

    If the camera is locked down, something like iStopMotion would probably work well, with the camera connected to it it will take a frame every specified period of time. You'd have to test to be sure and they do have a free demo download. I'd spend time experimenting before your intended event so you can set up and have a reasonable expectation of what you'll get.

    Burst mode isn't what you want because you're capturing a number of individual frames very quickly, but not a sustained flow of the evening--think as the bat hits the ball rather than a condensed version of the whole game. What you're looking for is perhaps 1 frame every second, not a bunch of frames in a fraction of a second and then nothing.

    Definitely experiment w/ how many frames per second/minute. 1 frame per second over 4 hours will result in an 8 minute time lapse video of raw footage for NTSC 30fps (I didn't actually calculate for 29.97).

    I'd google "how to time lapse" or some such thing and see what else you can come up with. Something like this, this, or this for instance.
  8. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    thanks bagelche for the ups ;)
    also if you use FCPX, there was a free plugin for Tilt shift from Crumble Pop.
    Im sure it can be replicated but not my cup of tea :)

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