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Stop Motion Tutorial – Add Stop Motion to Your Videos

by Mike Perlman | June 16, 2011June 16, 2011 6:00 am PDT

Stop motion is one of the most magical forms of video on the planet, but it requires oodles of time. I’m going to walk you through the basic steps of stop motion so you can get rolling right off the bat. Then, if you send us links to your stop motion videos, I might just put a few of them up!

First, let’s start with the finished product:

Stop-Motion-GIFThe frightening video you just saw was filmed and edited with a non-linear program (Premiere Pro) in 5 days. I used a tripod and a green screen for the Nintendo animations, but that was it. By the way, we’ll get into greenscreening (chroma keying) at a later date. All stop motion action you saw was achieved using one of the most simple techniques on the planet: set the camcorder on a tripod, start out of frame, move into frame a foot, freeze, move another foot, freeze, and repeat this action until you have completed your desired path.

For instance, in this particular clip, I wanted to appear as though I was flying across the screen. So, I jumped in place, took a step, jumped again, took a step, and repeated the process until I was offscreen. In post, all I had to do was remove the frames between the jumps. So the video footage of me landing, stepping over, and jumping upward was all tossed to the cutting room floor. All that was used were two frames of me suspended in space, and they were all looped together, as evidenced in the picture of the timeline.


Notice how three frames were used per position in the shot. The number of frames used dictates how fast or slow you want the animation to transpire. So, using 1 frame per action would make me fly across the screen in a flash while three frames per action slow things down so that you can still make out how much of a lame geek I look like whilst sliding through space.

I want you to make an attempt at a stop motion film. Aim for 10-20 seconds, as that will most likely take you the entire day if done properly. Here’s another video below to give you some more ideas regarding movement. I’m looking forward to your creations!

Mike Perlman

Mike Perlman grew up in Nintendo Land and developed a relationship with all things electronic and nerdy early on in his childhood career. Today,...