Shooting Stop Motion Animation Video & Creating GIFs
from the editor’s perspective
Stop motion animation video projects are really exciting for me, as the post production process is different from that of a typical video based project. Since stop motion is essentially animation – but created using photos – it requires a different way of looking at it, we approach a stop motion animation video project as an animator rather than a video editor.
behind the scenes
In this blog, we’re treating stop motion animation video projects similarly to how we would treat moving GIFs. With the need to provide more engaging content for social media channels – particularly for Instagram, it feels as though GIFs and short-form stop motion animation video are now the same thing. Even though we aren’t delivering GIFs in that file format – people associate moving GIFs and stop motion content as the same thing.
I guess what we typically deliver for stop motion animation video projects, are short clips in the spirit of GIFs. The best way to think of a GIF is as the halfway point between images and videos. The main advantage of using them is that they are engaging and can stand out more than a still image and are a lot smaller and easier to digest than traditional video, so they can be uploaded easily to the web and are perfect for Mobile device users.
We start by making a rough selection of the images we want to use (not unlike our video process), the main difference here is that naturally the changes are very slight on a shot by shot basis and we tend to need a variation off all decided upon shots, we can’t just cut something. Unlike video we tend to do this before importing it into our editing software.
Since our images are taking at such a high quality, we have a lot of room to play with when it comes to framing, the images are massive so we need to start by scaling them right down to our desired frame size, this helps later if we plan on exporting different crops (1×1, 9×16 etc.)
Once we have our image sequence framed correctly we can start with the compositing. This can be a slow process since we have to consider each individual frame and involves cutting elements – such as wires, rigs or stands – out or adding others in.
behind the scenes
A large part of editing stop motion animation videos is making things appear natural. Since our eyes compensate for certain aspects of motion – which standard video frame rates adheres to – and stop motion does not. Movement in stop motion animation videos can appear unnatural as it isn’t recorded as a single fluid motion but rather frame by frame. To make things seem more natural we need to manually add in motion blur.
To keep things consistent in a stop motion animation video, camera movements are limited. So adding in virtual camera motion when needed is part of the process, the complexity depends entirely on the project.
Once we are happy with the video, we can start the colour grading process. This is largely the same with other videos but we need to remember each of the elements that make up the video, as each frame will typically be made up of different images from the compositing earlier. Stop motion animation video projects are a lot less forgiving than traditional video when it comes to any changes in lighting etc. so we need to consider this and potentially amend frames on an individual basis.
behind the scenes
We finish by adding any titles and logs which weren’t part of the animation, reformatting for the various socials and any other finessing required. Stop motion animation video is great because it allows for real creativity and some truly unique projects. There is a real sense of control which is hard to emulate in a more traditional video project.
Ryan Booth, Video Editor
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Kitty Aldis, River Group
“I have been working with Steven and the brilliant Pocket Creatives crew for 3 years – in fact since they started out. They have captured in excess of 100 recipes, produced 7 videos including 2 crowdfunding campaigns, their work, professionalism, and commitment to client satisfaction second to none. What’s more is how they have developed, evolved and grown in creativity, experience, and inspiration.
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Tanya Robertson-Lambert, Tanya’s Just Real
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