Facebook Pixel The Basics of a Stopped Motion Fusion Film [Wedding Edition]

The Basics of a Stopped Motion Fusion Film [Wedding Edition]

Fusion Films are all the rave right now in the wedding photography arena. Photographers are now equipped to film gorgeous video clips to integrate within their photography slideshows. These “Fusion Films” have a powerful affect on potential clients, and are an invaluable keepsake for your brides and grooms.

But what if you do not have a camera with video capabilities? Or, what if you just aren’t ready for the launch of a new video craft?

For several years now I have enjoyed my own “type” of Fusion Film – the Stopped Motion Fusion Film. Quite simply, these films are created by shooting a series of image sequences, rather than single shots. [Check out one of my wedding films here: http://brideinspired.squarespace.com/films/ ]

My brides have loved these films for their unique styles and perspective. And to be completely honest, the films are not complicated to create. In just a few steps, you can create a really awesome wedding film yourself.

1. Plan: In the same way you have your “shot list” for single shots, you want a shot list for the sequences you need to capture. You may want to go for:

  • Hair or makeup getting done
  • Guys tying ties
  • First look
  • Putting corsages on
  • Couple interaction [twirling, holding, dancing, funny faces, etc.]
  • Coming down the aisle or greetings from well wishers
  • Signing certificate
  • Hugging parents after ceremony
  • Entrance to reception
  • Wedding party [dancing, jumping, running, etc.]
  • Exit

2. Anticipate: What I enjoy most about these stopped motion sequences is the freedom I am given to capture expression in a way that may not happen with still photos. Keep a watchful eye for short interactions that may be perfect for the film.

3. Be prepared: As a warning – be prepared to use m.u.c.h. more memory than normal. If I shoot 20Gig of just single shots during a wedding, I can easily plan for 10Gig additionally. Always have an extra card handy because there is no changing cards in the middle of shooting a sequence.

4. Using light: One of the most important aspects of developing a stopped motion piece is to remember – while you are shooting – that you need good, natural light for these images. Typically a flash can’t fire fast enough to keep up with as many shots as you may want in a sequence, so take your images as near natural light as possible.

5. The tech specs: For stopped motion sequences I typically set my camera to the following:

  • Shutter Speed priority so I don’t have to worry about aperture settings.
  • Multiple shot in order that I can be sure to capture as many images in succession as I need to.
  • ISO 250 in general, just so that I can get evenly exposed images without using a slower shutter speed

6. Sequence Lengths: 5-6 images is typically not enough for a good sequence. Go for capturing 15-25 images per sequence – remember we will speed these in post processing so they will be set much faster than your single images.

7. Post processing: You can use a variety of Slideshow programs to pull the sequences together. You can even create these films in iMovie. I find it easiest to create each sequence in Final Cut before pulling in the still images. My workflow looks like this:

  • Import an individual sequence of images
  • Set the images timing [anywhere from 0.5 of a second to 0.3 of a second [oh and one minor note, I aways try to time both the first and the last image of a sequence at 1 second. This tends to smooth transitions.]
  • Export each sequence as a clip
  • Open a new project
  • Import all the single images and set their timing [2 seconds on average]
  • Add transitions
  • Drag and drop the stopped motion clips where they need to be in the Timeline.

Perfect the timing, add music, and viola! You have yourself a Stopped Motion Fusion Film!

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Complete several films before promising them to clients. When you are comfortable with your workflow, you have a new and unique offering for your clients!

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Christina N Dickson

Christina N Dickson is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography www.BrideInspired.com and leadership with www.RevMediaBlog.com.

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