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  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

Stop Motion Exploration

(Original Post: October 17, 2021)

Two classes went on a Stop Motion adventure with me in Term 2 (January 2021). We used our classroom iPads and the Stop Motion Studio app to create our own short films.

Division 1 (Grade 4/5) spent nine library blocks creating LEGO stop action films while Division 5 (Grade 2/3) used a collaboration block to create stop action films using toys from home.

First, both classes watched the Youtube tutorial, How to film Lego Stop Motion! Beginners Tutorial. Drew from Nation of Bricks explains the concepts of lighting and flicker simply and with great examples.

Next, we practiced using the Stop Motion Studio app with rubber ducks as props. Students moved their ducks across the screen and quickly came to understand that smaller movements over many frames was ideal for creating a smoother duck walk.

Division 1 went on to create LEGO walls and props on base plates. Walls were limited to three colours so that the props and mini figures of different colours would stand out. Walls ten-layers in height prevented the library from showing in the frames... if students were careful and remained aware during filming.

Each group brought mini figures from home as the library figures have disappeared over the years. Groups discussed plot lines as they created their LEGO sets.

​Surprisingly, set and props creation took four 30-minute classes leaving five classes for filming and editing.

Division 5 shot their films in one day using 2.5 hours of collaboration time. The classroom teacher divided the long library counter into small working areas using painter’s tape.

​Some groups brought homemade backdrops while other groups simply used the blank brick wall behind the counter. The students were encouraged to rest the iPad on the counter to prevent shaking in the frames. Once a group decided upon an angle for the iPad, the classroom teacher marked the iPad's spot on the counter with painter's tape so that the group knew where to reposition the iPad if they had to remove it from the counter for any reason during the filming.

We were not entirely successful in preventing flicker (inconsistent light changes over a series of frames). However, we learned that adding a desk lamp helped and taping the LEGO base plate on a stationary countertops using painter’s tape reduced the flicker considerably. One group brought their own desk lamp from home!

The groups added sound effects and dialogue during the editing process and some more experienced students added title frames and credits.

We hope to use these skills to demonstrate learning in other academic areas during the following year. It was so much fun!

The compilation videos can be viewed here:

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