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Experimental Stop Motion Project


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#1 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 12:49 PM

I was wondering, has anyone ever tried shooting stop motion movies with a 35mm still camera? I can imagine it could get quite costly since there are 24 exp a roll and basically one second a roll. But theoreticaly since you have complete control over each frame it could potentially be the highest resolution and best every thing image wise in a motion picture. Has anyone tried this? What I plan to do is make the movie with my 35mm SLR and then get a Kodak picture disc then assemble each picture as a frame in Final Cut. Whatr do you think? Has anyone tried this?
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#2 Nguyen D. Nguyen

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 01:30 PM

I was wondering, has anyone ever tried shooting stop motion movies with a 35mm still camera? I can imagine it could get quite costly since there are 24 exp a roll and basically one second a roll. But theoreticaly since you have complete control over each frame it could potentially be the highest resolution and best every thing image wise in a motion picture. Has anyone tried this? What I plan to do is make the movie with my 35mm SLR and then get a Kodak picture disc then assemble each picture as a frame in Final Cut. Whatr do you think? Has anyone tried this?

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A friend of mine was thinking of doing that (and even myself at one time), but honestly, the cost of the film processing is very high compared to using 35mm motion picture stock. Also, when you convert it into the computer, there's no way to get a 35mm print since the negatives from the camera are horizontal instead of vertical. If you really want high quality from a still camera to do a stop motion project though, I'd definitely consider medium format instead. The negative is about 9 times bigger than 35mm, and for roughly the same cost of development (though you get less exposures per roll).

I'd just find a 35mm movie camera with a single frame capable motor. It'll save you a lot of headaches, trust me! Doing it the way you're describing will take hellishly long since you have to releoad the cassettes so often.
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#3 Mike Troy

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 01:32 PM

That'll work. But for the price you'll pay in film & processing, you can rent a high end digital SLR. & Since you are cutting digitally, you can download the images, drop them into your timeline & be done with the sequence the day you shoot it.
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#4 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 02:07 PM

Nikon has a 250 frame back for the F3 that could be useful.
You could also consider using a half frame camera like the Olympus Pen FT which gives you images that are half the size of 35mm photographic image but also gives you 72 or more frames per roll which is of course 3 seconds of footage.
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#5 drew_town

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 02:34 PM

Like making a flipbook. They were doing that long before motion pictures.
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 06:30 PM

There's one word I can find to describe your method: Kamakazi :D

Find an old Mitchell with single frame capability that will work well. There are plenty of old used cameras around that will do this job just fine. You don't need a silent running crystal sync camera.

As for using a digital stills camera, this is tricky. I have tried several cameras and you will get a bit of flicker shot to shot. This is because a DSC is not designed to give perfect luminance levels frame to frame. Here's a test you can do, shoot a white piece of paper 24 times. Load the frames into Premiere or FCP and play the frames back. The paper should be perfectly white as the play head moves over the frames, if so you're fine. Most likely you'll see flicker from frame to frame, and that's bad.

I did a series of one minute comedy shorts for the Canadian Comedy Network a few years back in 35mm stop-mo. I used an Arri III in single frame mode.

The series is called Grog, have a look at two episodes....(if any one is interested)

http://homepage.mac....eTheater57.html

This is a very stylized form of animation I developed. Every thing you see is made from clay, the characters, the set, and the props. This was to give it that "look." The other idea I had was to shoot every thing with the camera locked off as one shot, sort of like a little play.

Any way, you tell me if it worked.

BTW, one guy did all the voices in both episodes. For the entire series he played over 20 different characters.

R,
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#7 Dominik Muench

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 06:45 PM

i am starting to shoot a stop motion animation movie in about two weeks time, however with a nikon D70 digital SLR, not a film slr though, that would be even more expensive than shooting with a proper 35mm film camera :blink:
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#8 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 07:25 PM

I know for Indiana Jones they shot the mine car sequence with a still camera since it's the same format as Vistavision. There was a thread on here a while back: http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=1151

Hopefully this helps. Definitely, as they say in the above thread, get a pin registered still camera, since with animation that becomes absolutely critical.
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#9 Nguyen D. Nguyen

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 10:26 AM

I know for Indiana Jones they shot the mine car sequence with a still camera since it's the same format as Vistavision. There was a thread on here a while back: http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=1151

Hopefully this helps. Definitely, as they say in the above thread, get a pin registered still camera, since with animation that becomes absolutely critical.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Also, make sure for the single-frame operation, if the camera is reflex (which it should be), that the shutter will always close after each shot. If not, you'll get over exposure problems. That said, when I do stop motion, I always take exactly 4 frames per action just in case.
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 12:22 PM

i am starting to shoot a stop motion animation movie in about two weeks time, however with a nikon D70 digital SLR, not a film slr though, that would be even more expensive than shooting with a proper 35mm film camera  :blink:

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Hi,

I have used the Nikon D70 without problems for stop motion. Make sure you set the camera to manuel! I have also used a Nikon F2 and had the film printed to CD. Registration was fine if the camera was moveing, but is still a little work in photoshop is required.

Stephen Williams DP
Zurich

www.stephenw.com
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#11 Laurence Avenet

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 02:36 PM

Hi,

I did it for the opening title sequence of "Ghost of the Needle." After the roll of films shot were processed, the negative frames were scanned, assembled and composited inside a film strip in After Effects by our visual artist Sarah Paul. So the film image looks like a film strip is moving across the image.

I used an FM2 with a motor drive and I had the actors play the scene in slow motion. It worked great.

Best,
Laurence Avenet-Bradley
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#12 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 08:55 PM

there are numerous advantages to shooting stopmotion on a digital SLR over other formats, and it is becoming the standard method for stopmotion animators with limited budgets.

there's tons of detailed info and advice on the forums at http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/

hope this helps,
jaan
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#13 Thomas Worth

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:24 AM

Any way, you tell me if it worked.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

HAHAHAHA!!! That was really funny. Good work!

I agree with shooting digital. You'll have tons of room to experiment, and you can tweak frames to get the animation just right. Regarding the comment about exposure differences between shots, have you seen the special features on the Matrix DVD? They show the progression of the "Bullet Time" process with Agent Smith and Neo, and the raw footage varies greatly in exposure from shot to shot. Granted, the used a different SLR for each frame, but they digitally corrected the exposure to make it all flow perfectly -- another advantage you'll have doing this digitally.

If you want to go back to film, you'll have to export your animation as a series of TIFF files or something so a post facility can do a film out. This is expensive, sure, but since you saved money NOT shooting and processing film, it may all work out in the end (and give you better results).
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#14 Stephen Williams

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:45 AM

The series is called Grog, have a look at two episodes....(if any one is interested)

http://homepage.mac....eTheater57.html



Any way, you tell me if it worked.


R,

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi Richard,

They are very funny!

Stephen
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