|September 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm #412343|
I was always fascinated by flipbooks since the first time I handled one. To think that you can get a static image to animate (come to life) just by linking together a bunch of other static images is still mystifying. I remember using colored pencils in a sixth-grade art class to make my own, and then selling them to a couple of kids for a few extra bucks; early appreciators of the fine artwork I’m never likely to produce.
acquire a camera– you have three choices here
One, use a conventional digital camera in the following circumstances:
You can disable the onboard software and use the camera in a manual mode that allows the white balance and focal adjustment to be fixed for the duration of the shoot. Otherwise, your camera will adjust for even minor fluctuations (like the light reflecting off your body) to capture the best shot. In a single frame this is a good thing for a point and shoot, but in stop-motion it leads to strobe-like fluctuations in your picture.
You can suitably diminish capture file size to match the desired resolution. You won’t want 6 or 10 meg pictures, but instead you may want VGA or 1080p.
You can link your camera directly to a computer via cable for efficient transfer of data.
You can use a remote device (like the old plungers or a keystroke on the computer) to keep from accidentally bumping the camera.
Three, use an peripheral webcam (one not attached to your laptop). You can get these for as low as $10, though the qualities vary widely. They are perfect for a beginner. You might consider one with a tripod mount, or buy the tripod and use zip-tiesto secure it. Refer to articles in the above link to help you select a model for your needs.
set up a practice shoot
You won’t get it right the first time, so set the bar low right off and try to get the various components of picture making all straight in your head.
Try taking a series of thirty shots with slight alterations to the set– say, adding one additional stacked brick to a stable base for each successive frame.
Play with lighting to avoid getting your shadow in the picture. Also consider shooting at night, or in a dark room. The slow tracking of sunlight as a day advances will be visible in your finished picture.
This is a must for a would be stop-motion animator. Determine the right file structure to suit your needs. Perhaps establishing a master file for your movie by title would be a good start. Then try organizing your stills into sub-folders by scene. If it is a short film (less than say 1000 slides), then maybe one sub folder labeled “stills” is fine. Make new folders to hold sound clips or storyboards or scripts.
pick your movie software
If you are a PC user, try starting out with Windows Movie Maker. Chances are you already have it (so its free to you), and it is simple enough to figure out.
tweak your movie
get a recording device
Adding sound is a must to make a cool flick. Sound effects are great on their own, but the addition of a musical score creates a roundness that makes a scoreless piece seem somehow flat. Microphones can be pretty inexpensive if your standards aren’t too high. Try looking for free sound effects from http://www.freesound.org and scan youtube for free renditions of covers or original work that might fit your film. Always be careful to observe the rules of utilizing others’ work!
check out dialogue tools
This software (called Papagayo, Spanish for parrot) lets you animate your minifigs mouths to synch with your audio track. I believe it is a freeware download.
write a script
Even if your film is very simple, even if there is no dialogue or voice track, write down what happens in a coherent fashion. It’s pretty difficult to create a compelling story as you build and shoot. If your film consists entirely of a LEGO® minifig getting repeatedly trampled by a herd of horses, then describe this in detail such as:
Man enters frame from right and trips on a cactus. Three horses enter frame from right and run over him. He tries to stand and is run over again by two horses entering from the left.
Simple, heh? Well, it will be immeasurably helpful when your stories become complex enough for storyboarding.
Transfer your script into a shot by shot pictorial representation of what needs to happen in your film and in what order you need to take your shots and in what order you will link your finished shots. If two scenes with the same camera angle are to be separated by another scene, like a close-up of a character talking, you might like to shoot the two scenes with the same camera angle back to back. You can store the scene stills is labeled files and during production can get them in the right order.
That’s all there is to it! Go get ‘em tiger.
Ty Hansen of http://www.brikcrate.com is a freelance badass living in Naples, Florida with his wife and passel of children. He produces storage solutions for the avid hobbyist.
|August 18, 2011 at 2:14 am #413066|
Hi, this is a good article, hopefully I can learn a lot
|September 8, 2012 at 4:10 am #416927|
I have been looking for a resource for me to reference upon whenever I have doubts. Your article was so comprehensive and right on. I just bookmarked it.
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