Welcome to the last installment of our blog! Here are the last few things you need to think about!
Simplified filming technique – In camera editing
Rather than using the computer, you can just use a video camera (just like we used to do when we first started experimenting with this medium.) This is called in camera editing. Now this may sound technical but it is super easy! All you have to do is press record and then stop. Move your character a little then press record and then stop again. And do it over, and over, and over again… With this method it is helpful to have a larger monitor eg. a TV which you connect to the camera with an RCA cable. It’s hard to see the detail on a little LCD monitor on the camera and you can make mistakes which are almost impossible to fix later unless you do further editing on a computer. You get a good result with this technique and it is quick and easy and very affordable because if you don’t have a video camera your school or a friend may be able to lend you one.
Other options to explore if you are trying to keep things basic are to try capturing a series of shots on a digital still camera or even a mobile phone and then watch them back as a slideshow. You can experiment with programs such as Picture Viewer, Power Point, iPhoto etc.
This is important. You must maintain consistent object placement. It looks particularly silly if you pick up a character to do some running repairs and then put it back in a different place. Worse still is if you leave a clay tool in the shot for example a knife that you have used to deconstruct the character!
Framing the action and staging the action
Before you begin filming make sure that you consider the framing of your animation. Your frame should not be too tight or too wide. You need to be able to see the detail but the characters need enough space to be able to complete the action that you have outlined in your storyboard. Below is an example of good framing from an animation that we created for the World Shakespeare Congress 2008. The framing is tight enough that we can see the action but some space at the top, bottom and either side of the frame.
Also, it is worth noting that we always have a practice run before hand and move the characters around and check out how it looks on the monitor. There’s nothing worse than filming a scene right to the end and then realizing that the character that has to walk on right at the end won’t fit in the frame! If that happened you would have to zoom out and continue filming which is not effective in a short animation and is very disorientating to the viewer. Try to ensure all your action occurs towards the middle of the frame which is the focal point of the scene.
The world of special effects is so fun! And just because you are working on a small scale production doesn’t mean that you can’t create some amazing results! The best special effect is to make the impossible occur by making a character or object disappear or reappear.
If you take away small pieces of your object or character in each frame, the character or object will appear to disappear. This can be good for showing people eating food, or diving into water. If you then add small pieces of your object or character in each frame, the character or object will slowly appear. This is good to show a fish jumping out of water or a rabbit coming out of a hat. Let your imagination run away with you!
Here’s a final animation that shows this deconstruction and reconstruction technique. It should leave you with a smile on your dial…
The final result – what to do with it now?
So you have made an awesome clay animation (of course – we knew you would!) but what should you do with it. Show your family. Yes. Show your friends. Yes. Show the world. YES! But how? Well there is a very popular program called You Tube. We bet you have heard of it! YouTube is a place to discover, watch, upload and share videos. It is very simple and you just need to follow the steps on their site in order to create an account and then off you go! There are also competitions with animation categories like Kid Witness News http://www.panasonic.com.au/About+Panasonic/Sponsorship/KWN/What+is+KWN so you can hassle your teachers to give you a helping hand to get your work out there and to help you connect with other young people with similar interests.
Well that’s it from us. We hope this blog has been beneficial to you and a good intro to how to make a stop motion video using the medium of clay animation. Check out our new website that just went live YESTERDAY! We’ll be putting all the latest info about Bazil Grumble clay animation up there for you.
Happy clay animating crew!
Fiona and Grant from…