Hey fellow creators! My name is Natalia, and I am an in-house photographer at The Influence Agency. While taking photographs is what I do best, I also spend my time learning new techniques and perfecting my short video skills. One of those skills happens to be stop motion.
Do you ever come across videos that involve particular objects moving on their own? Or a person seemingly sliding through a room without having to take actual steps? Or how about those cool Expedia ads with the people lying on the floor “travelling” through their living room to Mount Everest or the beach? While I won’t go into the Hollywood-level animation techniques, I would love to share a few tips on how social media stop motion content is made.
The following methods will help you up to your game in the short video department and make your friends jealous in no time!
You’d be surprised how many tools help you create the seamless stop motion look! My favourite is the Lifelapse App. Created by a fellow Canadian, this app allows you to take photos, compose them into clips, add music, add filters, and many more features! It has a free version with limited features, but you are still free to create videos on the go.
My favourite part is that it shows you the previous photo you took and helps you see how much you want to move an object. This will reflect in the video and make it look smoother or choppy (I detail this in my 4th tip below).
It also locks your focus and exposure, which helps with that annoying flicker you sometimes get while shooting stop motion.
You can, of course, create a stop motion video without this app, but if you’d like for your video to look more polished, Lifelapse is the way to go.
If you are shooting on the go, it’s essential to think about the lighting conditions and the ways they can affect your video. This example illustrates how the sun moves around the object (this is a Timelapse I set up on my balcony by leaving the composition for 10 minutes).
If you are shooting outside, many things can happen, such as the sun suddenly getting blocked by a cloud or a person walking by and creating a shadow. Even the colour of the clothes you are wearing (if you’re the one animating) can make a colour cast that is very visible in the final video.
One way to avoid this is to shoot fast. If you see a giant cloud that’s about to block the sun, I suggest waiting for it to pass. If you shoot fast, there is less chance for the light to change—another essential thing to consider; how steady your camera is. If you don’t have a tripod nearby, you can think creatively and lean your phone or camera on something nearby. Most ideas don’t work well if you don’t have a steady image. Here’s an example of both bad lighting and a shaky camera, standing in the way of a super fun clip:
And here’s an example of a quick, steady shoot:
Huge difference between both of the examples, and I’m sure we can all agree on what looked better!
Sometimes, when I brainstorm and sketch some stop motion ideas, I get a little too into it and create concepts that are too complex to produce without having a professional studio and assistance. Don’t get me started on how many times I have sat down and spent hours cutting out shapes from colourful paper to use in the video, only to find out that it looks like a kindergartener created these.
If you’re making these videos for your social media for some fun, quick content, it’s crucial to stop overthinking and create movements that are easy to produce and don’t require too much skill.
How do you keep it simple?
Look at the object you want to animate, and think about what fun action it could take if it were doing it “by itself.” For example, how is it usually used if you’re shooting a book? By a person flipping the pages. So why not open the book itself and flip the pages without having a hand in the shot? Or a coffee cup getting filled by itself. Or a candle is moving into the frame and lighting up the wick. All these ideas can look super cool on your feed, and you don’t need to be a professional animator to make that happen!
In stop motion, frame rate refers to how many images you photograph per second of video.
There are several styles of video that you can create, depending on how much patience and time you have. The smooth videos are created by taking lots and lots of images per second, meaning you have to move the object so slightly that it’s almost invisible to the human eye. That’s how the prominent Hollywood stop motion animators spend their time, and I seriously applaud them.
Another style is to reduce the number of images you take per second, too, let’s say… 10. Or 15. Honestly, sometimes even 2-5 shots work (possibly on a loop). This style will look great for social media and doesn’t require much attention to detail.
Here are some examples of different frame rates for the videos.
As you can see, the lower frames per second video looks a bit “choppier” and still has that fun look that’s so trendy.
Stop motion is all about experimenting and having fun. It’s satisfying to see the final video once you spend all that time moving an object around. It’s even more fun to get your friends involved! Stop motion videos don’t have to be these super polished videos you see in ads (although they are so cool!!). This technique can easily be accessible to people with a smartphone.
For example, when I travel, I love to make these little clips as a fun way to post content on the go. It makes the spot memorable, but it also creates a little fun activity.
Here are some short clips I created with my friend while traveling through France a couple of years ago.
Whether you decide to invest in pro equipment or stick to using your phone, stop motion is a fun way to create movement in any kind of image, which in turn makes your posts more unique! Don’t be afraid to experiment, and if an idea doesn’t work you can always try another.
If you’d like some inspiration, please feel free to visit my stop motion videos HERE. It’s also a great idea to search stop motion content on Instagram, and join the supportive community of creators!
If you’re interested in adding stop motion to your social media feeds, reach out to us to get started today!5