1000 Still images, all in a row! [How I Made a Stop Motion Video]

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So, I was tasked with making a “demonstration” video for a competition I’m running over on the Think Tank Photo Facebook page, basically I wanted to show various camera bags all fitting inside each other to promote the little competition. I thought I’d post it up here for two reasons, the first being that it’s a great little video – if I do say so myself! – and to invite you all to enter because it’s free, there’s none of that rights-grabbing going on and you don’t need to do anything other than follow Think Tank Photo on Twitter, Flickr or Facebook and the prize is pretty cool, too! You win a Logistics Manager and whatever other Think Tank Photo products you can stuff inside it – details here.

So, you’ve probably all heard of stop motion? The first thing I think of when I hear people talk about stop motion is that clip from ages ago, the one of the Russian dolls from Sesame Street where they all come out of one another bit by bit. There are some amazing stop motion videos these days, the one about the marmite is great and there’s the one with the girl in bed which is very very impressive!

Think Tank Photo Stop Motion.

How did we make it? Well, my friend Nathan and I spent five hours in his living room, we cleared the place out and set up a roll of seamless white background paper and set about moving the bags very slowly, bit by bit, and taking a photograph at each point, so *snap* and move each of the CF cards about an inch *snap* move all the CF cards another inch – and so on, for five hours! Once you have all of your stills (962 in the end, actually) You sift through and make sure there are no glaring mistakes or colour issues, Nathan is a perfectionist, so he actually re-touched a little sensor spot out of all the images, more than half he had to do manually, so that’s a big job!! Images finished, I drop them onto the time-line of Final Cut Pro, the video editing software that I use and set the images to be a duration of about 4 frames each – when you consider we’re working at about 25 frames per second, that’s about 6 images a second… So, before you fall asleep listening to me ramble on about frames per second and so on, here it is!…

We had great fun making this video! You should try your own and post a link to it via the Digital Photography School Facebook page!

I hope you enjoyed it and hope we get to see one of yours soon!

–Sime

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Sime (aka #gtvone) is the customer support manager for dPS, and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, www.gtvone.com and please feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • hehe that is awesome. i love the idea behind the competition. i love the prize, and the ad is so damn hilarious. i joined all three medias so i hope that i will be the lucky winner hehe =)
    great job

    cheers

  • jillycrystal

    wow, it was really cool. Liked the music and the fact each item got inside a bigger bag. Nice job. I’ll try it someday 😀

  • Here is a time lapse movie I made Thursday of my daughter drawing a picture. It is basically the same method only I started the camera and was able to do something else. The camera took the pictures every 5 seconds and then we played them back at 10 frames per second.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRzoY5XZrKg

    Enjoy

  • I’ve always been a fan of stop-motion video, and this is a great one. The action and music always kept me wondering what was going to come next. From a marketing standpoint, I liked the way I could read the name of the product as it demonstrated its versatility. The wrap-up of products was a great way to close.

    Did you storyboard this ahead of time, or improvise it? Either way, a great job. (And I really want one of those folding card holders…)

  • Superb!

  • HassanRafeek

    Wow! Nice video! Really well done! Thanks for the idea, can’t wait to try it out!
    That is a lot of time and effort put into it!

  • Dave McLean
  • Dave McLean

    This was my effort the other month.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidmclean/4387890611/

  • That is great! Put together so well and you can’t help but bop to the music lol.

  • Chandu

    thats so cool…
    brilliant idea!

  • I made a stop motion wedding invite – you haave to check it out 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76i8lopFZxI

  • Killian

    Love it! Nicely done, really. Wish I had the patience for this stuff, but until a time comes when I acquire it, I’ll happily watch other people’s fun. Well done!!

  • Check this one out. This was completed in March and April of 2010 using a Canon EOS 40D and two Bowens 500 watt strobes. It was intended to be shot at 24fps, with a total run length of about 1 minute, 40 seconds.

    In total, about 2400 photos were taken over a series of two very long nights. Completed for an animation course at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Ontario.

    http://vimeo.com/10427988

  • Fantastic work, I absolutely love it!

  • very nicely done 🙂

  • Arun

    How did you get the zip and stuff moving without hands coming into the frame

  • Lori, thanks for your comment… We didn’t storyboard, all we had to go on was the bags in front of us and a couple of cups of coffee 🙂

    arun, you take your shot, move the zip, take another shot, move the zip a little bit more, take another shot… etc etc until the zip is where you want it, then when you play those images back at 4 frames per second, you get the motion – hope that helps.

    Sime

  • great piece of work!

  • Barnaby

    Here’s my effort from ages ago

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_e-DKyGsR0

    Think i might have another go after watching yours though!!

  • quixxxie2000

    Hey Sime. Fabulous and inspiring video. Thank you. I have a few questions…How did you keep the card holder open just a little? They tend to close up. The reason I´m asking is, I would like to do a similar story line of a womans hand bag, and I cannot get the makup-bag (which is similar to the card bag) to stay open for the shot. I am doing this alone, so any ideas and tips are welcome. Thanks in advance.

  • quixxxie2000

    I forgot to mention the 2nd Q I had. Did you make your own music? If yes, where did you get the loop for the zipper? Thanks..

  • Hey there quixxxie2000,

    Thanks.

    The card holder was sitting on BluTac 🙂 The music was all Apple Loops from garage band, the zipper I recorded myself and is actually a ThinkTankPhoto Zipper, recorded into SoundTrack Pro with a Samson C01U USB Mic. You’re welcome to email me simon at gtvone dot com for any advice if you like 🙂 Good luck!! –Sime

  • hi,
    thanks for the great article. just have a question as a newbie to stop motion video. how do you do the control the lightings. my only spare room is pretty dark and any strobe that i ahve seems to cast a shadow because the objects i want to film is so small.

  • G’day John,

    We lit each shot with a studio light.. If you’re using a single strobe, maybe try pointing it up or at a wall, reflect the light around a little, rather than straight at your subject, or, use the shadows in your stop motion to your benefit – shadows look cool, sometimes!

    Hope this helps.

    Sime

  • Paul McKelvey

    Very cool! The best thing about stop motion projects is being done with them!

Some Older Comments

  • Sime August 3, 2010 08:40 pm

    G'day John,

    We lit each shot with a studio light.. If you're using a single strobe, maybe try pointing it up or at a wall, reflect the light around a little, rather than straight at your subject, or, use the shadows in your stop motion to your benefit - shadows look cool, sometimes!

    Hope this helps.

    Sime

  • john- singapore hotel guy August 3, 2010 08:17 pm

    hi,
    thanks for the great article. just have a question as a newbie to stop motion video. how do you do the control the lightings. my only spare room is pretty dark and any strobe that i ahve seems to cast a shadow because the objects i want to film is so small.

  • Sime June 17, 2010 07:39 pm

    Hey there quixxxie2000,

    Thanks.

    The card holder was sitting on BluTac :-) The music was all Apple Loops from garage band, the zipper I recorded myself and is actually a ThinkTankPhoto Zipper, recorded into SoundTrack Pro with a Samson C01U USB Mic. You're welcome to email me simon at gtvone dot com for any advice if you like :-) Good luck!! --Sime

  • quixxxie2000 June 17, 2010 06:09 pm

    I forgot to mention the 2nd Q I had. Did you make your own music? If yes, where did you get the loop for the zipper? Thanks..

  • quixxxie2000 June 17, 2010 06:00 pm

    Hey Sime. Fabulous and inspiring video. Thank you. I have a few questions...How did you keep the card holder open just a little? They tend to close up. The reason I´m asking is, I would like to do a similar story line of a womans hand bag, and I cannot get the makup-bag (which is similar to the card bag) to stay open for the shot. I am doing this alone, so any ideas and tips are welcome. Thanks in advance.

  • Barnaby May 13, 2010 04:59 am

    Here's my effort from ages ago

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_e-DKyGsR0

    Think i might have another go after watching yours though!!

  • Mark May 10, 2010 12:32 am

    great piece of work!

  • Sime May 9, 2010 08:36 pm

    Lori, thanks for your comment... We didn't storyboard, all we had to go on was the bags in front of us and a couple of cups of coffee :-)

    arun, you take your shot, move the zip, take another shot, move the zip a little bit more, take another shot... etc etc until the zip is where you want it, then when you play those images back at 4 frames per second, you get the motion - hope that helps.

    Sime

  • Arun May 7, 2010 10:55 am

    How did you get the zip and stuff moving without hands coming into the frame

  • stevenvaneck May 7, 2010 02:59 am

    very nicely done :)

  • Tim Emmerton May 6, 2010 09:05 am

    Fantastic work, I absolutely love it!

  • Mark Shannon May 4, 2010 05:25 pm

    Check this one out. This was completed in March and April of 2010 using a Canon EOS 40D and two Bowens 500 watt strobes. It was intended to be shot at 24fps, with a total run length of about 1 minute, 40 seconds.

    In total, about 2400 photos were taken over a series of two very long nights. Completed for an animation course at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Ontario.

    http://vimeo.com/10427988

  • Killian May 4, 2010 12:10 am

    Love it! Nicely done, really. Wish I had the patience for this stuff, but until a time comes when I acquire it, I'll happily watch other people's fun. Well done!!

  • Kunal Daswani May 3, 2010 10:50 pm

    I made a stop motion wedding invite - you haave to check it out :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76i8lopFZxI

  • Chandu May 3, 2010 04:14 pm

    thats so cool...
    brilliant idea!

  • Carley May 3, 2010 09:44 am

    That is great! Put together so well and you can't help but bop to the music lol.

  • Dave McLean May 2, 2010 11:52 pm

    This was my effort the other month.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidmclean/4387890611/

  • Dave McLean May 2, 2010 11:48 pm
  • HassanRafeek May 2, 2010 08:35 pm

    Wow! Nice video! Really well done! Thanks for the idea, can't wait to try it out!
    That is a lot of time and effort put into it!

  • hfng May 2, 2010 05:59 pm

    Superb!

  • Lori May 2, 2010 01:20 pm

    I've always been a fan of stop-motion video, and this is a great one. The action and music always kept me wondering what was going to come next. From a marketing standpoint, I liked the way I could read the name of the product as it demonstrated its versatility. The wrap-up of products was a great way to close.

    Did you storyboard this ahead of time, or improvise it? Either way, a great job. (And I really want one of those folding card holders...)

  • Emory Mclaughlin May 2, 2010 10:12 am

    Here is a time lapse movie I made Thursday of my daughter drawing a picture. It is basically the same method only I started the camera and was able to do something else. The camera took the pictures every 5 seconds and then we played them back at 10 frames per second.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRzoY5XZrKg

    Enjoy

  • jillycrystal May 2, 2010 06:40 am

    wow, it was really cool. Liked the music and the fact each item got inside a bigger bag. Nice job. I'll try it someday :D

  • Diana Eftaiha May 2, 2010 06:33 am

    hehe that is awesome. i love the idea behind the competition. i love the prize, and the ad is so damn hilarious. i joined all three medias so i hope that i will be the lucky winner hehe =)
    great job

    cheers

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