Stop-Motion Animation: Tutorial for Windows

Created by Amanda Barnett Jacover, Glenview Public Library

What Is Stop-Motion?

Stop-motion is an animation technique that makes it look like objects you are manipulating are moving on their own. To create this effect, first shoot a series of still photographs, changing the position of the objects very slightly from one photograph to the next. Then string the images together in quick succession to create a movie. The effect is similar to a flip book.

Required Equipment

  • Webcam or digital camera
  • Computer with Windows Live Movie Maker (free download)

 How to Create Your Movie

1.  Plan

Think about the story you want to tell. Create a storyboard by writing and drawing what will happen in your movie. You can download a free Storyboard Template here. When you’re ready, create your set and prepare your characters.

2.  Prepare Your Camera

Webcam
Plug it into your computer. Go to the webcam settings to create a folder where you will save your photos as you shoot.

Digital Camera

If using a digital camera, your photos will be saved to your camera. Be sure to set your digital camera to Photo mode instead of Video.

3.  Shoot Your Movie

To create footage for stop-motion animation, you need to take a lot of photographs. Prepare your shot and snap your first photo. Move the characters slightly, and snap your next photo. Repeat until you’ve shot all of your action.

For smooth animation, keep your movements small from shot to shot, and take lots of pictures! You’ll want at least 10 photos for each second of your film. Make sure your camera is in focus for every shot, and try not to move the camera too much. Instead, move your characters around the camera.

4.  Import Your Photos into Windows Live Movie Maker

If using a digital camera, connect it to your computer. Make sure it’s turned On and in Playback mode (triangle icon on your camera). Your computer should launch a program that allows you to download your pictures onto your computer. Remember where you saved them. If using a webcam, your photos are already saved on your computer.

Next, open Windows Live Movie Maker. Follow the directions to “Click here to browse for videos and photos”. Select your photos and click “Open”. Hint: Holding down CTRL and A at the same time will select all the photos at once.

5.   Adjust the Settings in Windows Live Movie Maker

In Windows Live Movie Maker, select all the photos again (CTRL A). Select the Edit tab at the top of the screen, and adjust the Duration to .25 seconds. This means each photo will display for .25 seconds.

WMM with duration annotated

6.  Preview Your Movie

Press the play button (triangle icon) on the left side of the screen, below the large image. Watch your video!

7. Add Title

On the right half of the screen, click on your first photo. Windows Live Movie Maker will place your title in front of the photo you’ve selected. Next, go to the top of the screen and click on the Home tab. Choose Title in the toolbar. Type your title. Press the play button below to preview your title. If it’s too long or too short, click the Edit tab at the top and change the Duration.

WMM with TITLE and music copy

8. Add Credits

This is just like adding a title. Select the photo after which you want the credits to appear (probably your last one). Click on the Home tab. Find Credits in the toolbar. If you select the dropdown menu next to it, you can create a separate slide for Director, Starring, Location and Credits. Type your information, and then preview the credits using the play button below. If your credits are too long or short, click the Edit tab at the top and change the Duration.

9. Add Music

To add music to your entire movie, select all your photos, title, and credits. Click the Home tab, and choose Add Music. This opens a search on your computer to find the song you want to use. NOTE: Windows provides several sample songs that are saved in Libraries > Music > Sample Music. Click on your song, and it will be applied to your movie. A new green soundtrack bar appears over your photos. You can easily delete this or click and drag to change where the music begins and ends.

Annotated WMM with title and MUSIC copy

8.  Save Your Movie

Click on the Home tab. At the far right of your toolbar, click Save Movie. The dropdown menu gives you additional options. Choose setting that is Recommended for this Project. Name your file, and press Save. Note: Once you save your movie, you can no longer edit it. Windows Live Movie Maker will save your movie as a Windows Media Video File, which is perfect for uploading to YouTube!

9.  Share
Once the video is complete, share your achievement! Upload it to YouTube, and send a link to your friends and family. You can also copy the embed code and post it on your library website or blog.

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