Storyboard

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Though storyboards are beneficial in animation, many do not use them as often for Brickfilms. Brickfilms are shorter, and therefore do not take as much planning. Also, the person who creates the script/story is, more often than not, the one capturing the images. Still, storyboarding can be helpful for planning how to set up your scene as well as set up desired camera angles.

Storyboards can be as simple or complex as you desire. Since most want to get right down to the animation, stick figures work just fine. Also, include the audio that will be in the scene. This includes dialogue, sound effects, and background. It is helpful to write out how many seconds each scene will be so that you know how long you need to animate the characters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storyboard

http://www.printablepaper.net/category/storyboard

      

Screenplay

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If you just do an Internet search and you will see that there are more than enough references on how to write a script. Instead of going over the same information, it is more important to know how script writing will help your Brickfilm.

The best reason for writing a script is for practice. Most Brickfilm makers have high aspirations, and by taking the process seriously, it helps them keep improving on what is most important with anything you animate— telling a good story. Though animation is important, always remember that people are looking for a unique story.

Scriptwriting will help you in many ways. One is so you learn how to write dialogue. Dialogue should always move the story forward. This can be done by revealing plot, character, imagery, and many other things. If your dialogue is not doing this, get rid of it. The more you see the story happening in your mind’s eye, the more handle you will have when it comes to turning it into great animation. As you can see, many factors come together to making any story come to life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screenwriting

software

There is a lot of software for script writing, both to buy and for free.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screenwriting_software

BOOKS

Basic tutorial

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1. Pick a sturdy surface that I in a room where there are no lights. If there are windows, cover them. Set up your Lego scene and move the lights to light the scene.

2. Get your camera and set it up where you want it. Take the pictures as move your characters around.

3. Import all your pictures into an editing program. Put them in order and change the duration so that you achieve the right frame rate.

4. Export your movie and share.

Set Ups

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Now that you know have your story ready, it is time to set up your scene. The main goal when setting up your scene is that you have control over everything. First, pick a room that has the least amount of windows. If there are windows, cover them. There are many ways to do this, and two cheap ideas are cardboard or dark fabric.

When setting up it is important that you have a sturdy surface. Always remember that the camera will capture even the slightest movement. Take into consideration the amount of time it is going to take to shoot your movie. Nothing is more frustrating than having to move to a new location and start over because you were in the way.

After you have your location and table set up, start building your scene. You may already have it ready on a baseplate. It is important to tape down your baseplate so that it will not move as you manipulate the characters.

Once the scene is built, bring in the lights and the camera. Position the lights and camera for your first shot. Try using the DC power on your camera if possible because having to change the battery in the middle of a scene will mess up your animation.

      

Ways to capture

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Digital Remote Still Capture

Frame Grabber Software

Manual Picture Taking

Not long ago, animators didn’t have the luxury of immediately seeing the images they were capturing. Now there are many different methods for connecting to your computer. That way you are able to immediately see your pictures.

Though it is useful, it is not completely necessary to connect your camera to a computer to see your images as you go. However, this blind method is difficult as you cannot track your animation. If you choose to capture your images this way, try to use a remote control to take your pictures. Many times pushing any button on your camera will move the camera, and even the slightest movement will show.

Webcams already come with the necessary software to capture your pictures using the keyboard. They will capture the pictures and put them into a folder where you can view them as you go.

Many cameras come with remote capture software. *PICTURE* Essentially it acts the same as a webcam and you are able to manipulate the controls on your camera from your computer.

Choosing Stop Motion Video Frame grabber software is similar to choosing a camera. There are many options and it is hard to say what is the absolute best.

Frame grabbing software is one area where you can download a program for free or purchase software. Frame grabber software offers a place to complete your entire animation. From capturing, to editing, effects, to exporting; everything can be done. When choosing software, make sure that your camera is supported. Also, many of these programs are for either MAC or Windows. Basically, make sure that any program you purchase is the right fit for all your equipment. Some even have a free trial – which makes them even more economical.

List of frame grabbing software with links:

MonkeyJam http://monkeyjam.org/

Stop Motion Animator http://www.clayanimator.com/english/stop_motion_animator.html

iStopMotion https://boinx.com/istopmotion/mac//

StopmotionPro http://www.stopmotionpro.com/

I Can Animate http://www.kudlian.net/products/icananimate

Dragonframe http://www.dragonframe.com/

Stopmotion Maker http://www.stopmotionmaker.com/

Animator DV http://animatordv.com/

Stop Motion Station http://www.stopmotion-software.com/

IkitMovie http://www.ikitmovie.com/

Stop It http://sites.google.com/site/stopitsoftware/home

Frame Theif http://www.framethief.com/features.html

      

Framing

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Motion pictures are shot at 24 frames per second (fps). Twenty four fps gives video the “film look” that most are used to. Like most digital footage, 24 fps is the norm even if it will not be transferred to film. In stop motion if you are dealing with 24 fps, this means you will need 24 pictures for every second of video. That is a lot of pictures. Because of this, there is another consideration which is called shooting on doubles. Shooting in doubles means each frame will be doubled. Therefore, you will have 12 different pictures with each picture being used twice, making 24 fps.

In stop motion, 15 fps is widely accepted. This keeps the movement relatively smooth as well. Because stop motion films are expected to have the choppy or more jerky look to them, 10 to 12 fps is a great place for beginners to start. Deciding the amount of frames you want really depends on what type of project you are taking on, as well as how much time you want to put into a project. The basic thing to remember is that the more frames you have per second, the smoother your motion will be.

Depending on what program you choose, you may need to calculate how to adjust your frame rate based on the software is presets. Editing programs like Final Cut are set up for 24 fps or 30 fps. Identify this and change your number of pictures accordingly. For example if your timeline is set to 30 fps and you want to have your animation at 10 fps, you will want to use each picture three times. If you want the animation 15 fps you will use doubles of each picture, and so on.

Single Frame vs Double Frame

The difference between shooting in single and double frames is exactly what it sounds like. Shooting in single frames means that for each second of video, or 24 frames, you will have 24 different pictures. Shooting in doubles means that you will have 12 different pictures. Each picture is used twice. What you are capturing determines whether you should use single or double frames.

If the camera is moving at all, it is best two use single frames. Camera movement appears jittery and choppy if shot in doubles. Also, when there is faster movement, it is generally better to use single frames. If a character’s hand is waving, a flag is moving, or a character is running, single frames should be used. If these actions are done in double frames, movement does not register with the viewer. However, Lego characters and props move differently than other stop motion characters, and therefore shooting in doubles works for almost all situations. Lego figures already have the boxy look to them, so viewers will expect a choppier animation.

Audio

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It is your choice to record audio before or after you have done your animation. Before works well because you know how long to animate each movement, but after works well if you have done good pre-production. Audio in Brickfilms is especially important because it not only adds to the overall story, but is one of the most effective ways to build your characters. When you decide on what minifigures to use as characters, what they are wearing is the only thing that distinguishes them from one another. Because their movement is also limited, it can be difficult to develop strong characters. This makes the dialogue that much more important.

The two easiest ways to capture audio are through a microphone or headset. With today’s technology, it is very easy to capture quality audio. If you are using a video camera, you can use the built in microphone or an external microphone. If you do not have either, a microphone or headset plugged into a computer works well. A lot of computers have built in microphones and free programs that will work well for beginning animators.

When recording audio there are a few things to remember. The first is to keep the microphone from being too close to your mouth. A microphone too close will create unnecessary popping and crackling. Secondly, take into consideration where you are recording. Try not to record in room with hardwood floors. One suggestion would be to use couch cushions or blankets to absorb some of the echo.

Along with dialogue you will need extra sound effects. Start your video from the beginning and write down the time and what sound effects you need. You can record your own sound effects, find sound effects from websites or existing programs like Soundtrack Pro. Background sound or music are also something to keep in mind.

Green Screen

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Chroma key compositing, or chroma keying, is a special effects / post-production technique for compositing (layering) two video streams together based on color hues (chroma range). The technique has been used heavily in many fields to remove a background from the subject of a photo or video – particularly the newscasting, motion picture and videogame industries. A color range in the top layer is made transparent, revealing another image behind. The chroma keying technique is commonly used in video production and post-production. This technique is also referred to as color keying, colour-separation overlay Various terms for specific color-related variants such as green screen, and blue screen – chroma keying can be done with backgrounds of any color that are uniform and distinct, but green and blue backgrounds are more commonly used because they differ most distinctly in hue from most human skin colors. No part of the subject being filmed or photographed may duplicate a color used in the background.

It is commonly used for weather forecast broadcasts, wherein the news presenter appears to be standing in front of a large map during live television newscasts, though in actuality it is a large blue or green background. When using a blue screen, different weather maps are added on the parts of the image where the color is blue. If the news presenter wears blue clothes, his clothes will also be replaced with the background video. A complementary system is used for green screens. Chroma keying is also used in the entertainment industry for special effects in movies and videogames. The advanced state of the technology and much commercially available computer software, such as Pinnacle Studio, Adobe Premiere, and dozens of other computer programs, makes it possible and relatively easy for the average home computer user to create videos using the “chromakey” function with easily affordable greenscreen or bluescreen kits.