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 much easier. You’ll also find that your results are improved. Here are the top 6 things I recommend.

1. Finding a place to work

When you’re setting up for stop motion, a big table near a plug socket is perfect if you are using a laptop. If you’re using a desktop computer, it might be easier to move a table close to it, if possible. If you’re using a mobile phone or tablet, it’ll give you a lot more flexibility over where you work, just make sure it’s charged up!

2. Close the curtains

Blocking any natural light will prevent flicker in your animation. Use a lamp instead. If you’re keen to know more about lighting, I’ve done a lot of testing on the best lights to use on a budget. All the info is included in each of my workshops.

3. Power up!

Once you’re in the flow of animating, you don’t want to run out of power on the device you’re using. If you need to plug in a computer, make sure the power cable isn’t a trip hazard. Don’t stretch the cable to the plug – use an extension lead if it doesn’t reach.

4. Stick it down

Depending on what set up for stop motion you have (for recommendations, a guide is included in each of my workshops), you want everything to be fixed in place. Use masking tape to stick down your table top studio and tripod. You want to avoid them moving whilst you’re 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’re 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’re ready to achieve great results with stop motion, I would encourage you to try my workshops. They are made for you as you’ll find more info on setting up for stop motion.

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