29 May 2014

Tutorial: How to Make a Stop-Motion Video + A Giveaway!!

Happy Thursday everyone!! I'm super happy to introduce you to my featured sponsor this month, Pamela from MacDonald's Playland!! She's a Wife & Mommy, and has one of the cutest blogs in all the land. Today she's taking over my blog, to bring you an awesome tutorial

PLUS! She has a super cute Etsy shop called Peanut Lilly Creations, where she sells handmade items such as beanies, hates, tutus, and hair accessories made especially for newborns, babies and toddlers! So, she's going to be giving away a shop credit, and may or may not be throwing in a Target gift card as well ;-) You won't want to miss it, so be sure to scroll all the way down after you're done reading her tutorial!


Hi there, A Sorta Fairytale readers! My name is Pamela Macdonald and I blog over at Macdonald's Playland. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you to the lovely Mandy for having me! I so enjoy following her blog and am excited to be a small part of it today!  In this post, I will be sharing with you something fun that I created with my little family. I also show you how it was done so you could try it, too!

Have you ever had some special news you wanted to share? Perhaps you got engaged? Or maybe you're expecting? Or maybe you just want to announce that your kiddo is turning one soon and people better start saving the date for his party?

Well, last year, my husband, daughter, and I created a stop-motion video to announce my pregnancy with our second baby. I've gotten quite a few questions in the past regarding how my husband and I made it, and so I thought I'd share that with all of you! We made the video last year, uploaded it on YouTube, shared it with everyone when I hit 13 weeks in my pregnancy, and waited for the "EEKs!" and "YAYs!"

First off, the tutorial will make more sense if you see our video! So go watch our pregnancy announcement if you haven't already!  And if you don't know what I mean by stop-motion, you will after you watch the video! You can view it in my original post, or click the image below! (it's pretty fun!) :)
Now below you can find out how to make your own video. As you may know, stop-motion has been used for objects like clay (think of the show, Wallace & Gromit!), toys, and even for drawings. My post will be when you want to put yourselves or other people in stop-motion magic! It is easier than you think!

  • a camera (we used our digital Canon camera) -- you don't need anything fancy! just make sure you have enough space for taking tons of photos and enough battery!
  • a patient photographer (or a tripod & a remote to help you snap photos from the tripod)
  • a video editing/making program (I used Windows Movie Maker. You can also use Apple's iMovie, QuickTime Pro, or perhaps take a search for other free video editing programs that you can download online! There are a few programs suggested here)
  • some time and patience
  • your imagination!
1) Plan it out: Come up with your idea! Are you going to make an announcement like we did? What are the people actually going to be doing in the video? Are you going to use any props? Figure out what you'd like to show through your video and plan out how you'd like it to look. Prepare any props beforehand if necessary. Having a plan will give you an easier time when it comes to taking all of the photos!

2) Set up: Grab a very patient friend or your tripod! I do not own a tripod, so I ended up just using my awesome little sister help us take the photos!
Note: The final result will look a lot better if your photographer holds the camera still and stands in one place as she shoots (the camera shouldn't be shaken around too much. My sister is not a professional photographer by any means, so it can be done by almost anyone! You just need a helpful, patient person!). A tripod is even better for this because it will ensure your camera is not shaking around as photos are being taken. If you're a perfectionist and expect a seamless looking stop motion video in the end, then go with the tripod.

3) Create movement: 
  • if you are in the video, then start moving yourself bit by bit, in small movements.
  • have your photographer/camera continuously snap photos as you walk or move (slowly) around the area you're in.
  • example: Let's say you want to simply wave your hand. Put your hand up to it's first position and stop - take the photo - move your hand slightly down to start your "wave" and stop - take photo - move your hand down more and stop - take photo - wave your hand back up slightly and stop - take photo....etc. etc. etc.
  • Continue to do these slow movements alternating with snapping of photos for every person/scene you planned for your video (yes, it takes some time, but can go quickly once you get the hang of it!)
  • example from my video: To help you understand this more, below is where I was writing my name out. At first glance, it looks like all the photos below are the same. However, if you look closely, you can see that I'm writing my name out slowly and a photo is being taken after each line I draw. (when these photos stream together, you'll get the effect you want!)

4) Upload and select photos: When you're done taking all your photos for your video, it's time to go through all  of them! Depending on how elaborate your idea is, and how long you shot for, you are mostly likely going to end up with hundreds and hundreds of photos. For our little 2.5 minute video, we literally were shooting for over an hour, and we snapped literally 300-400 or so photos!
  • Upload all your photos to your computer. 
  • Go through them, selecting which photos are best and put them in the order they should go.
  • Tip: you can create a separate folder where your "final video photos" can go, so you can easily select them and put them in their proper order. You'll also be able to view the photos one after the other to get an idea on if you're getting the "movement" you wanted.
5) Video editing:  
  • Transfer your selected photos to your video making program. 
  • Make sure the photos are all in the order you want them to be.
  • Ensure the "time" between each photo is at a very small duration so that the photos will flow quickly when the video plays (my photos had a duration at less than 1 second)
  • In most video making programs, you can preview how everything is looking and see if the "flow" of the photos is going quickly enough for your liking.
  • Add music, captions, etc. for some final details to your video!
6) Go share your awesome work!!

  • More than 1 person?: When more than 1 person comes into the mix, the concept is still the same. Each person should still be moving bit by bit as the camera is firing off shots every second or so (have fun and laugh as you do the "robot" walking towards each other. Hilarious.)
  • Dealing with a baby/toddler?: Obviously, our little girl was NOT going to do any "robot" moves - so when it comes to children with zero attention spans or who don't understand yet, simply snap photos as they're moving about being themselves. You'll still pretty much get the same effect as long as you're firing shots quickly! 
  • Be patient - this process can be time-consuming, particularly when it comes time to the photo shoot. Don't be afraid to take breaks if need be and come back to it later!
  • Don't get discouraged - over an hour of shooting can result in a short video, depending on how many photographs are taken. As I said, I wanted to end up with a 2-3 minute video and that took us over an hour to shoot. If it's your first stop-motion video, it's ok if it doesn't come out perfectly and seamlessly! Ours certainly wasn't seamless, but it did the job and we had fun!
  • Start small - if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, start with a small idea first (example: Try just a few shots here and there of you walking around). Once you get the hang of it, you can try longer sequences for more elaborate videos!
  • Resize photos: smaller photos will help for better uploading and faster flow in the video - larger files can slow down your work. I resized my high-resolution photos down to 600px - 900px width before placing them in the video-editing program.
  • Save your work!: remember to frequently click the "save" button while you're editing it in the movie maker program (just to be safe!)
  • No tripod or friends to help? Setting the camera up on a table or even balancing books can be a sufficient alternative ;)
  • Get inspired: Watch some stop-motion videos on YouTube for inspiration! 
  • Ask me for help: Really want to get started but still lost? Feel free to contact me to ask questions! I will do my best to help!
Stop-motion is one of the easiest ways to bring some character and uniqueness to a video. Creating one does take some time and patience, but the way it is done is actually very simple! I love the way our video turned out. Even if it may not be the best quality out there, it certainly was so much fun to make and that's what's important. The best part is these videos can be used for anything! Pregnancy announcements, save the dates, telling a story, your own cartoon or drawings...the possibilities are endless! 

Be creative and most of all, make some memories and have fun with it!! 

Many thanks again to Mandy for having me here! If you enjoyed my silly family, visit my blog, Macdonald's Playland, for more shenanigans!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jennifer Collver said...

I would use the shop gift card to get a purple crochet knotted ear warmer for my daughter :)

kylie said...

Boy sock monkey hat for sure!!

Kaymee said...

I love the boy sock monkey hat for my little one!

Bridget Heiple Reich said...

I think I would get the Mickey Mouse / Boy Mouse Ears Beanie

Gretchen said...

Crochet hair clips - darling!

krystaladele @embraceunintentional said...

Mickey Mouse boy ears! SO cute.. Love Pam- she's so sweet, it's great seeing her on your blog!

Sarah Halstead said...

That is so neat. I love the sleepy owl hat.

m&msmommy said...

Girl sock monkey hat!

Sarah said...

crochet knotted ear warmer!! adorable!!

Lauriai said...

Crochet knotted ear warmer and crochet lilly hair bow clip

cmroberts said...

If I am having a boy I would go with the monkey hat and if I am having a girl I would go for one of the bow ear warmers. SO CUTE !!!!

Sarah said...

I would use the shop credit to get the minnie mouse girl ears, so cute! Those ear muff things are cute too!

Elisabeth said...

I would love to get the Crochet Knotted Ear Warmer with the credit if I won!

Sarah Johnson said...

I love the girl sock monkey hat. So cute!

Kim said...

Oh the sock monkey hat is too cute!

JessyPooh87 said...

I love the Girl Sock Monkey Hat.

Amanda said...

Crochet Flower Ear Warmer Headband!

Natalie B. said...

Hello! What a cute shop! I would get the Boy Sock Monkey Hat for my grandson. Fun! Thank-you

Amanda Jillian B said...

I want those Minnie Mouse girl ears!

Alyson McMahon said...

I love the knotted ear warmer for our cold WI winters.

Hayley! said...

What a cool announcement! The sock monkey hat in the shop is so cute!

Meghan said...

I would get the girl sock monkey hat for one of my friend's kids :)

Rachel M said...

Mickey Mouse boy ears!

Pink and Green Mom said...

I would choose the boy sock monkey hat!
Erika W.

Housel said...

the owl hat is so cute. I love her announcement too!

K8tlyn28 said...

Love your video. I've made a stop-motion video before too and they're so much fun!