How to Set Up for Stop Motion

A Checklist

Taking a bit of time to get everything set up for stop motion will making animating so much easier. You’ll also find that your results are greatly improved. Here are the top 6 things I recommend you do before making your stop motion films.

1. Finding your space

When you are setting up for stop motion, it is good to find a space where you will not be disturbed, especially if you need to animate over several days and leave things out. A big table near a plug socket is perfect if you are using a laptop and are planning to animate for quite a while. If you are using a mobile phone or tablet, it will give you a lot more flexibility over where you work, just make sure your device is full charged!

2. Light

Blocking any natural light will prevent flicker in your animation. Use a desk lamp instead. LED bulbs are fantastic as they do not flicker. I have done a lot of research and testing on the best lights to use (especially if you are on a budget – professional lights can be very expensive). You can find more detailed information about the best lights to use for stop motion in each of my online workshops.

3. Power up!

Once you are in the flow of animating, the last thing you will want is to run out of power on the device you are using. If you need to plug in a computer, make sure the power cable is not a trip hazard, as when you are fully immersed in creating your animation, you might be so focussed that you forget it is there (I speak from personal experience!).

4. Stick it down

You will want to try to keep your equipment still and secure, so it is good to have everything to be fixed in place. Use masking tape to stick down your tripod/stand and table top studio (if you have made one like the ones in my online workshops). You want to avoid them moving whilst you are animating. Also, put a blob of blutack in each corner of your background sheet to make sure it stays in place. Do the same if you are using a Lego baseboard.

5. Manual settings

Make sure all of the auto settings on your camera or device for focus, brightness, exposure are turned off. Otherwise, they may change as you animate and your film will flicker. Set everything to manual and make the adjustments yourself before you begin animating.

6. Check the focus

Look the picture on your screen – is it blurry and out of focus, or nice and sharp? Adjust as necessary, and remember that you may need to check the focus again if you change the position of your model or camera.

If you are ready to achieve great results with stop motion, I would encourage you to try my online workshops. They are made for you as they are packed with more info on setting up for stop motion!

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