Let’s talk about stop motion in the context of condensing time. What’s really interesting about stop motion is something that could maybe take you 20 minutes, like making guacamole, can happen in seconds. Also, you could bake a cake in the snap of a finger. That’s how fast you can condense time with stop motion. But right now, in our current social media climate, the one thing I get asked from clients is the timestamp of six seconds. They want six seconds. So very short, not even 10 seconds, they want six seconds. They want people to be able to look at it, understand it, make decisions, and then move on to the next thing. And so you want to really pack a big punch at the beginning. You do not want that toothbrush wiggling in for 20 seconds, because people are gone. They’re watching the next video, and they’ve already learned how to bake cakes and make guacamole and dye their hair by themselves. They’re not going to wait around. A six second guacamole from fresh ingredients to finish. Let’s get started.
So let me just tell you what we’re going to do for the video. We’re going to lay out the ingredients for guacamole within a square, because we want to be able to share this on Instagram. Instagram has a really great square format. All of our ingredients are going to mix together to the center, and then a bowl of guacamole appears. It will spin, then it will stop. A hand will enter with the chip, scoop up the guacamole and then exit the frame. Then you’ll hear a crunch. So you need a frame of the bowl so that we can see exactly where to place the items around it. And also, I have a lot of these Lazy Susans in my studio. This is something that we can use to be able to put the bowl down and then spin the bowl without actually having to move the bowl in increments. This is just a really easy hack to make spinning something really nice.
So time to get out all of our ingredients. All right, we are ready to take our first frame. We have all of our styled guacamole pieces. And I just put my elbows on the table box. So we have to be really careful not to bump the table. It’s so hard because you always want to lean on it and you want it to prop up your body while you’re holding your breath and animating items.
This is what we’re going to do. We’re going to take a couple of the elements, they’re all going to spin to the center and spin for a little bit. And then the bowl is going to appear, and it’s going to have fresh guacamole in it. So some items are going to stay in place. Some items are going to go to the middle and spin and then we see guacamole.
So here’s our first frame and we bumped the table. So that didn’t work. Here’s our first frame again. We went through a process where the things were starting to get a little heavy in the middle and there wasn’t a lot of room and then we bumped the table. So instead of spending our time to try and fix where things match up with each piece, we decided to start over and be a little bit more intentional about what we’re bringing into the center. Because we need to really fit that shape of the bowl so that the transition really works. And in order to do that, we’re actually going to take out the salt and pepper, we’re going to change some of the elements a little bit.
So this is interesting, because we have several things going on here. We have the collapsing of time with the elements coming in. We condense them really quickly. We have the guacamole, but then you have the hand coming in. So now we’re animating a human object. And really the process was exactly the same, you are just moving the hand in slowly frame to frame while looking at Dragonframe. The hand comes in and takes a chip, scoops the guacamole and then goes back out.
You can treat your hand just like an object if you’re using your own hand. Or sometimes, if you have another person’s hand I take their hand and say, here, here, here for placement.
So what I think is really important for beginning animators or seasoned animators is to really capitalize on the amount of time that a viewer is going to pay attention. So what you want to do is get in, show them the story, really tell that story. And then conclude before they get viewer fatigue like, “I’m over it”. I understand what’s happening here. You really want to show it to them, teach it to them, give them that punch line and then move on. And it doesn’t always work out exactly the way you want. If the first time you work at it, it didn’t quite work, then you reset it and start again. So bumping the table was kind of a good thing because we would have been frustrated and had to start over any way.
What’s nice with stop motion, as with life, is it’s just a process of trial and error. It’s all an experiment. If it doesn’t go as planned. That’s okay. You can start over and all you’ve really lost is just a little bit of time. But really what you’ve gained is experience and knowledge. So if you make a mistake, feel free to start over. You have our permission. Do whatever you need to do to make a really cool animation.
So there you have it. If you want to see more of this and a lot of other great material about doing stop motion, you can go to TheSlantedLens.com and click on the online courses and there you’ll find Trisha’s complete Stop Motion Basics to Advanced courses.
And keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.
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