One of my goals this year was to work with my students to make a stop motion movie out of one of the stories they created. We had a story last fall that I though would be good but it proved too difficult (logistically) to make. With the year starting to wind down we had some time in our schedule to give it a go again. We talked again about stop motion and how it works. I put a free but basic stop motion app on my students iPads called iMotion HD. It’s a very simple to use app that allows you to create stop motion movies.
The first couple we made didn’t turn out well at all… which is to be expected! As we revisited and revised they got better and better. (This was a perfect opportunity for us to revisit our discussion about “drafts” in writing.) The kids decided they wanted to do something centered around Star Wars. (One of the students just had a Star Wars themed birthday party and they were all about it.) I wanted to ride the excitement so we got right to it and started coming up with ideas for a plot. They came up with a simple story line and started working on story boarding. They then started on set design, as well as character, and prop selection. Once they designed the set they worked out the specific dialoge for each scene. They timed how long it took to deliver the dialoge so they would know how long each scene needed to be. We even went so far as to find out how many frames were needed to make 1 second of video. We then multiplied that by the number by the number of seconds we needed to make the scene. This gave us the number of frames we needed to shoot in order to have the correct scene time. This part was a bit of a stretch for them but I thought I’d throw it out there anyways.
Then came time to film. For this we used iStopMotion 3 by Boinx Software. I really liked this software for a number of reasons. First it has a really cool preview feature that allowed you to see what the next frame will look like before you actually take it. The software leaves the last frame taken up in the window and then superimposes the current frame on top so you can get an idea of what it will look like before you snap the shutter. This is also good if you accidentally bump or move a figure as you can see exactly where it was before and move it back in place. The other feature that I thought was super cool was the ability to use my iPhone as a remote camera. We could set up the scene and use my phone as the camera as we controlled it remotely from my computer.
I think this may have been the most fun they’ve had all year. We worked on this for hours!! They loved every minute of it. As their skills improved throughout the project they scrapped a scene and chose to reshoot it because they felt they could do better. Very cool to see them taking such ownership.
We talked it over when we were done shooting and decided to share it out without adding any audio. They would like other classes to add their own audio and share it back with us. They want to see how many versions of the movie can be made. We even talked about having people remix the video as well but that may be a bit of a stretch. We’ll see if any one take that approach. Here is the movie without sound.
They learned a ton throughout the whole project and they are jazzed up on story creation. Four or five classes have said they were going to add their own audio and share it back with us. We are very excited to see what they come up with. Please feel free to do the same, any and all ages welcome!