Ever wondered what would happen if you left four members of the creative time in a room after working hours with nothing but a camera and some building blocks?
As a bit of fun, our marketing team here at Market Dojo decided to try our hand at some stop motion videos, featuring our famous eSourcing Ninjas.
For those who are not familiar with the term Stop Motion, it is an animation filming technique where objects are physically moved in tiny increments, with each small movement individually photographed. The photographs are then stitched together as sequenced frames so as to appear as independent movements.
Not only was this an excuse to socialise outside of working hours and indulge on a takeaway curry, but it was also a huge learning curve for us and opened our eyes into the difficulties that must be faced by the creators of everyone’s favourite stop motion movies, such as Wallace and Gromit.
We learnt a number of lessons from our first effort and here are our top 10;
Storyboard your plan – Ensure you have a clear idea of how you would like your video to look. A great way of doing this is by drawing up a storyboard. We jumped straight in with filming without a clear direction in which we were heading. This meant that the story changed as we filmed.
Lighting is key – Ensuring your lighting is just right is essential when trying to create a seamless stop motion. Since we were filming after work at the end of the summer, it meant that the sun was setting as we were filming which changed the ambient light in the room as we filmed. With limited options of additional light sources, this caused an issue with the consistency of colours which were very difficult to fix in post-production.
Shadows– Be careful not to stand in front of the light source, in our case, the window. This resulted in us casting shadows across the middle of the scene in some frames, and not in others. As above, this was pretty difficult to fix (as best we could) in post-production.
Keep things consistent – We made the mistake of not marking positions on the desk. You’ll be surprised how often characters fall over, get knocked or moved when adjusting your character’s positions. It’s not only characters, props and the scenes that need to be marked out, but also your camera’s tripod.
Charge your camera batteries – We very nearly fell foul of a dead camera battery. Luckily we managed to charge it just enough while we ate the curry halfway through filming, but this could have ruined the entire video.
Do not rush – We were trying to film our video as quickly as possible. We had one member of the team taking the photos and another member of the team moving the characters. The biggest issue is the ‘Journey to work’ sequence where we accidentally caught Alun’s lingering hand in a number of the shots…oops.
Keep a consistent number of frames per second– This point ties in with 1 and 4. It is important to make the size of the movements consistent to avoid characters jumping around, speeding up or slowing down throughout the filming.
Focus – Tying in with point number 6, you must ensure your shot is in focus before taking the photo. We made the mistake of using Auto Focus, with lots of movements (mainly Alun’s moving hand) it is important to make sure the focus is on the correct part of the scene.
Preparation is Key – From remembering to clear your SD card, to watching ‘how-to’ videos beforehand. Like anything in life, the more prepared you are for a new project, the more successful the project is likely to be. (Unless of course the project is what film to watch on Netflix tonight and you spend four hours watching trailers and reading reviews. In that case, feel free to ignore this rule.)
Concentration – Ensure that your main focus is the job at hand and not the upcoming meal…
You can watch the result of our first attempt at stop motion below (including our mistakes):
December 9, 2019
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