Shooting Images - Stop Motion Mania

This is going to be a picture laden post because I love the images of the kids actively shooting the pictures for their movies.  I think they really capture process and it gives you a good idea of the different approaches and personalities of the projects.

This is another place where I can point out something I did with this project that I will do differently the next time I do stop motion with a group of kids.  I thought it would be a good idea to have a dry run day of using their characters and sets to shoot some images and get a feel for the process, then start over the following week with the beginning of the actual shooting schedule.  No matter how well I storyboard and plan, whenever I make stop motion on my own I realize a million things I would like to do differently once I get started. I hoped this dress rehearsal shooting day would allow them to identify some gaps in their existing sets and characters or story lines.

As I should have foreseen the kids were not interested in discarding their work from the first day and starting over.  They felt good about what they had shot and some declared they were finished, others wanted to keep shooting next week from where they had left off, and still others decided to make a whole other movie the next week with new topics of focus.

This was another instance where I decided to embrace where they were and how they wanted to proceed.  There is a certain improv quality about this work - the "yes, and" response is important to embrace.  But I do take note of these times and think hard about how to structure things differently in the future.

Next time I think I will bring in some items we can use as characters, props, and sets (legos and play mobile items from my attic work well for this).  On the first day or two of meeting we will look at some examples of stop motion, learn to use the free software, and then shoot some quick, preliminary films with the supplied materials.  I think this will allow kids to get a feel for the medium and make better, more informed design choices but in a way that they are not so attached to the outcome and it is clear this is just a preliminary exercise.  Live and learn.

One nuts and bolts item to note about these shooting set-ups.  It is important for continuity that the camera (tablet) and set stay in the same position throughout.  Once the spacing of the components is settled upon I just have the kids use masking tape to mark the corners of all items so when they inevitable get bumped they can be quickly and accurately repositioned. The school's ipads are in awesome carrying case that keep them safe from drops but also have a built in handle that also serves as a stand.  This was really helpful!  I did not know this would be the case so I made very simple stands for the ipads from pieces of 2" x 4" with a groove routed out as you can see in the above photo. This team was using my personal ipad that does not have the great case with handle so they were the only ones who ended up needing my simple stand. I took the rest of them to STEAM Club to use in the Rube Goldberg project.