Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stop Motion Animation Examples

Every year there are more wonderful stop-motion animation examples that inspire creative thinking. But the old ones are still great because even though we may have watched one enough times to no longer be excited, this might be the first time our students have seen it. I love to watch their faces and hear their comments.

This year, my favorites are:
"Tony vs. Paul"   One of my favorite. I usually start with this one.
"Gulp" by Sumo Science and Aardman (Wallace and Grommit folks)
Make sure you also show "Gulp:The Making Of..."
"Lost Things"   which is a music video animation
"Sorry I'm Late"
"Tee Shirt Wars"
"Erbert & Gerbert's: Human Flipbook"  and the making of it
"Muto", an animation by Blu.  I've watched this dozens of times but I still love it.
"Tony vs. Paul"   One of my favorite. I usually start with this one.
"Minilogue"  White board animation
Post it Note animation  (there are a lot of them out there)

Basic Steps for Stop Motion Project

1. Show and discuss examples.
2. Show examples of storyboarding. (The Incredible Adventures of Wallace and Grommit DVD from Aardman has storyboard examples in their Special Features section.)
3. Ask them to get into groups of 3 or fewer. (Doing it solo is very difficult. More than 3 you often have someone who doesn't actually take part. Three seems to be the magic number.)
4. Give them a theme or concept (this year our theme is "summer vacation" or "graduation" because we are going to show them the last week of school, but you could use deeper concepts, like "hope" or "challenge") Have them get into their groups and  brainstorm their story and method. Remind them that a good story needs several surprises to keep us interested and feel glad we watched it. If it is predictable it becomes ho hum no matter how much fun they had making it. (This seems to be a very difficult concept.)
5. Give them storyboard paper and approve their storyboards before they start. I suggest they aim for a minimum of 15 seconds.
6. Provide the materials for their idea or tell them to bring the materials. I have several small white boards on hand for this project, but they can use anything they can get their hands on. (Well, except for a wall and paint.)
7. Show them how to put the camera on a tripod and explain how to control lighting, turn flash off, turn off auto zoom, etc. Conscious, consistent lighting is essential.
8. Have them do a short test of at least 24 photos that they bring into the video editing software so they can get a basic understanding of how this works if they are taking the photos correctly.
9. Let 'em at it!

I've done this with both middle and high school students with great success. Everyone seems to get into it. One of my students this year even has a stop-motion app for his cell phone camera that has, for example, the onion-skin effect where there is a faint image of the position you just had to allow you to reposition correctly for the next shot.

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