The zoopraxiscope or 'zoetrope' is an early device for displaying motion pictures. Created by photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge in 1879, it may be considered the first movie projector. The zoopraxiscope projected images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the impression of motion.
How to Make Stop-Motion Moving Image
The first thing you need is, of course, an idea. Try to stick with something simple for your first one–any action that can be split up into smaller parts works well. You may wish to make an inanimate object appear as though it is alive; for example, a sock inching its way across the floor or a piece of paper that crumples itself up. While brainstorming, keep in mind that you can expect to shoot around 10 photos for every second of film. Second, you’ll need a digital camera. Since you won’t be printed these photos, you can set your camera to the lowest size image setting. This will let you fit more images on your memory card at a time. Depending on how long you’d like your movie to be, you may need to “fill and dump” your camera (copying the photos to your computer and erasing the memory card) multiple times before you are finished.
Step 1: Shoot Your Animation Let’s say, for example, that you would like to make that sock move itself across the floor. Start at the beginning: place the sock somewhere and take your first photo. Remember, you want to use camera (still frame) mode, not movie mode. Using a tripod and only moving your object will make it appear as though your object is moving through your frame. Keeping the object in the same general area in each frame by moving the camera along with it will make it appear as though you are traveling with the object. It’s up to you. After you’ve taken your first photograph, move the sock slightly in the direction you want it to travel and take another photo. Move it again by the same distance, and take one more. Continue this until the sock reaches where you want it to stop. You can manipulate your object in creative ways to add visual interest to your film, just make sure that whatever movement your object makes is done slowly over several frames. Finally, if you make a mistake while shooting, delete that picture on your camera and take another. This will save you from having to edit your film later.
Step 2: Download Your Photos Now that you’ve captured your images, you’ll need to get them onto your computer. First, import your image files to iPhoto from the camera, and give them their own album. Once your photos have been imported, close iPhoto and open iMovie.
Step 3: Find Your Photos in iMovie Create a new iMovie project and call it whatever you like. Now click on the “Media” button to the right above your timeline and select “Photos” at the top right of the window. (On older versions of iPhoto, you’ll click the “Photos” button instead of the “Media” button.) Select your stop-motion album. All of your photos should now appear in order.
Step 4: Animate Your Photos In order for your animated short to play properly, you must tell iMovie how long you want each photo to appear before showing the next one. It’s kind of like creating a slideshow, except instead of giving each image a few seconds, you give it only a fraction of a second. The timing you choose will affect the overall tempo and length of your film.
Once iMovie’s finished filling the timeline, hit play. You just created your first stop-motion animated video short!
Final Touches: Music and Sharing
Great Stop-Motion Examples Between You and Me – an award-winning short shot entirely in stop-motion. Stunning. Art of Motion – A campy, fun stop-motion by Russell Wyner of the University of Rochester. Brickfilms.com – 100s of directors create stop-motion animations using LEGO bricks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYKZif9ooxs
Dreamy Animated Light Paintings by Lucea Spinelli
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