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How To Make Your Own Stop Motion Film
Choosing your subject
When we think of stop-motion often what comes to mind is claymation, but keep in mind stop-motion can be anything filmed in stop-motion. I've found that development of a good idea requires inspiration. Immerse yourself in stop-motion by going to YouTube and watching videos of what others have done. There are many amazing examples on YouTube and it will show you what is possible. Keep in mind that you shouldn't try to copy what anyone is doing as you should develop your own style. Once you've been inspired and develop an idea it is time to write your script.
Writing a Script / Mapping Shots
I've often found that a good script evolves over time. If you have comedy in mind you may find yourself with loose humorous ideas than an actual blueprint of a perfect story. So write down what you have and brainstorm to build upon what you have. Once you have something you will find it much simpler to come up with more material. Once you have your story I recommend writing it out numbered with how each camera shot and angle will be from beginning to end. It does need to be mapped out to have the best results.
Choosing A Setting
You now have your script and should have a pretty good idea of where each scene takes place. You may need to build a set or sets and make props to be used in the story. Be creative and consider your what the viewer will see in each shot. Also consider that even in stop-motion other types of CGI may be utilized. For instance you could use computer generated graphics for your background or specific objects instead of constructing you set. But make sure if you are mixing handmade characters with computer generated backgrounds that it looks as natural as possible. If it doesn't look like it goes together it may turn off the viewer and just not look professional.
If you've chosen a different type of stop animation using objects, whiteboard drawings, etc. you may not need to make characters. For those choosing to make a character driven cartoon you will need to decide what you want your characters to be made of and what they will look like. You could use material to create stop-motion puppets, dolls or clay figurines. With clay figurines keep in mind that is you plan to use them more than once you will need to maintain their bodies. The wear and tear from stop-motion on real clay can take it's toll and you don't want your characters to look old and worn. Make a point before every cartoon to do a little repair on your characters. Check out our hub, "How To Make A Claymation Character," for more in depth information on creating characters.
Recording Voices, Sounds And Music
To create your own music I recommend using Mixcraft 5 or as it is now available Mixcraft 6. If this is a short film then a single or a few background pieces of music should suffice. Keep in mind music isn't required but it can help set the tone for your film. For the sounds in your film use everyday sounds and record them from around your home. Vocals can be supplied by yourself and volunteers or family members. Mixing or editing sounds and vocals can be done in Audacity, a free program available online for download.
Production, Editing Your Film
After you have taken the pictures for your stop-motion short film, recorded the voices and sounds it is time to put it all together and produce your film. Adobe Premiere CS5 is the software we currently use. After loading your pictures into the program you can apply all of the sound, music and vocals and match then to your characters speaking. Add credits, and intro and when complete don't forget to upload to YouTube.