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How to shoot stop motion ?

Stop motion Filmmaking

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#1 Mohamed Osam

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 08:58 AM

Hello , 

 

I would like to know how to shoot stop motion as it in this video technically . 


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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 09:12 AM

You basically shoot one frame at a time, moving the subject (live subject or a model or in a series of drawings) between shooting each frame, so as to create the impression of continuous motion. Some video cameras can do this or a stills camera is commonly used and then import the stills as an image sequence into a NLE, 

 

https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Animation

 

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Stop_motion

 

In this case you move the subject and camera between each frame. You'll have to work out the speed the subject will be moving at in order to work out the distance between each frame. The concern would be keeping the camera set on the subject so that they don't wobble around the frame, perhaps using a mark on the viewing screen as a reference. Motion tracking in post would assist with in this in post.


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 21 November 2016 - 09:18 AM.

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#3 Phil Connolly

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 06:11 PM

Most professional stop motion animators use a software package called Dragon Frame. It allows you to control most of the settings on many dlsrs and gives you a live view of the image - with lots of framing guides and onion skin options. These allow you to see the previous frame(s) and check alignment/movement etc.

 

You can just do simple stop motion by taking stills on a camera and using a tape measure/marks on the monitor to line up shots as well. But the software makes it easier and gives you more tools.

 

I


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#4 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 08:06 PM

Mohamed,
That was a delightful little film...
In the old days, when lots of artists played with film cameras, the effect you see here would be easily created with a windup 16mm Bolex. Fairly close to what is seen here anyway.

If you shoot actual single frames in a film camera, hand held, keeping steady (still), perhaps shooting two or three frames of each or some particular mment, you are very clse to what we see here.

Some call "stop motion" a process where you lock the camera off and incrementally alter the subject. The scene of the boy being beaten, becoming a crushed little sack, is basically being done that way.

With film work processes being basically lost to most people now, the digital option may be to shoot, even at 24fps, select frames at an interval, and replicate some, occasionally. It is a disturbing thing to me, that digital, begins by finding the means to replicate the look of film, then, as in this technical case, achieves smething like single frame and stop motion, by a clumsy paraphrase of proccess.

Are there any artist left in Egypt who have done what I describe? Find one, and he/she will be an interesting person to meet. Banging off single frames on a Bolex etc is an unmissable experience for any artist working in film.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 28 November 2016 - 08:08 PM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 08:24 PM

The switch to using digital still cameras for stop motion and time lapse happened some time ago because you aren't limited to recording video codecs, you can shoot full-frame high resolution stills like at 4K, 6K or 8K and all in raw mode, keeping all the dynamic range of the camera's sensor with no compression added.  Then you can batch convert the stills to whatever format you want.


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#6 Sarah Thompson

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 02:05 AM

I was obsessed with this kind of stop motion when I was a young teenager in the 1970s. I used my dad's Super 8 film camera with a cable release so I could fire it one frame at a time. These days, you can do this with basically any DSLR or even a compact camera so long as you can set it to manual exposure and put it on a tripod.

What I am pretty sure was the technique used for most of the film above was to set up the camera on a tripod, frame the subject then lock the tripod down. Shoot a frame, then move the whole tripod back a few inches and have the actor move the same distance. Shoot another frame, move, shoot, move, etc. For some of the later shots where the camera was stationary, the same technique can still be used -- move the subject, shoot, move, shoot, etc. It takes a lot of patience!

The reason for manual exposure is to prevent flickering from frame to frame as the camera adjusts itself to the scene.

Finally, you can usually just import all the frames into your editing software as an image sequence and then set a frame rate. You might find that setting a slower than 24fps rate will work best -- my guess is the video did that too. Back in my Super 8 days I would often click twice for each movement, so 12fps would probably work well.

Give it a try -- one thing is certain: you will have a lot of fun doing it! :)
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#7 David Mawson

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 08:00 AM

What I am pretty sure was the technique used for most of the film above was to set up the camera on a tripod, 

The reason for manual exposure is to prevent flickering from frame to frame as the camera adjusts itself to the scene.
 

 

That's how I'd have done it with film. But with digital, give they were shooting in quite crowded areas - and on some surfaces where tripod alignment may have been difficult, maybe not.

 

Instead shoot with room to crop, import all the frames into a stills editor one after the other, align and crop. If you use the grid and digital level you won't have to crop much, and it's better than try to defend a tripod. Oh - and if you want to main constant subject distance, lock the focus and then use focus peaking and magnified view to position the subject with the lens wide open. Then close down to whatever aperture you want.

 

..If camera subject distance is always the same, and the subject position on the grid is, and the camera is always level, then I'd say a tripod is redundant. 

 

(But I may be reacting too much from my experience of shooting street fashion stills - which taught me to do almost anything to avoid deploying tripods and light stands, right down to building softboxes I could hold with one hand while shooting the camera with the other.)


Edited by David Mawson, 16 September 2017 - 08:03 AM.

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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 05:51 PM

The tripod isn't redundant, shooting fashion stills is very different process, although ideas can be taken from many places, as a standard procedure you're just creating unnecessary work for stop motion, unless you're after a stylistic effect. In this particular case they may have used software that motion tracked the face and allowed some variation in the camera/subject distance.


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 16 September 2017 - 05:57 PM.

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#9 David Mawson

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 10:09 AM

Brian Drysdale, on 16 Sept 2017 - 11:51 PM, said:

The tripod isn't redundant, shooting fashion stills is very different process, 
 

 

 
I don't find that a meaningful statement. There is no one process for shooting fashion stills and each frame here is a still. That's it. If you think the tripod is redundant you need to explain why - because speaking as someone with a degree in theoretical physics, highschool maths should tell you that it if distance, orientation and position in the frame are constant, the images  will match.

In this particular case they may have used software that motion tracked the face and allowed some variation in the camera/subject distance.

 

 

 
They may have done all sorts of things - like using a gold covered helicopter to make a journey they could have made in a van. But that has nothing to do with whether using peaking, the grid and scale will work. Generally, people do the simplest and cheapest thing that will work rather than the most complicated, which is why you see more vans than gold helicopters. Certainly that's the smart thing to do if you want to repeat the result.
 
If the subject is in the same apparent position in the frame and at the same distance each time, the images will merge. Getting position right is easy using the grid - or you can mark the positions for the eyes on a screen protector. Then narrow peaking and a wide aperture will let you keep distance the same within a limit of better than 2% with a fast lens. That's it; you're done - no software required. It's basic geometry. You could even do without the focus peaking if you match positions for a decent size triangle of points - say the shoulders and belt buckle.
 
As for "allowing variation", that's even easier - you just align using the above method then move the camera a tiny amount, using the position of the pupils on the screen relative to the dots on the screen protector. Probably you'll draw a line between those two marks and add a perpendicular. You could another marker for a position on the torso if you wanted and draw a line to that.
 
Or if you want a very controlled shoot, you could have an animator draw the key frames in a tracing paper flick book - just using stick figures. You stick them over a tablet connected to the camera with wifi  and the model just matches the pose.
 
...I write software, and I used to work in a videogames company that specialized in motion capture. And honestly, there is no way I can imagine the software giving a better result - and it certainly wouldn't be easier to use. (I mean, you track the image, input the data into a 3D animation package where an artist has configured a model to exactly match the subject, then the artist adjusts the model to get the next frame and you try to match it? Why? Drawing keyframes on tracing paper would give the same result at a fraction of the cost and pain.) It isn't meant for applications remotely like this.

Edited by David Mawson, 17 September 2017 - 10:15 AM.

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