Stop Motion Animation “By the Book”

This year, Richard Campbell learned a new meaning of success when he invested in a bunch of iPad Airs for the students at his private English academy in Busan, South Korea. He found that his students became much more engaged when working with the iPads. Above all, they were truly enjoying what they were learning.

“Technology allows teachers and students to explore new areas of learning,” says Richard, who teaches students from grades one through nine. “Also, it helps students to learn skills for future careers that may not even exist yet. For my classes, technology allows me to create differentiated instruction more easily, while encouraging students to explore their own creativity.”

Richard discovered iStopMotion a long time ago, but it wasn’t until he implemented iPad use in his classroom that he could begin using the program with his students. When the iPads came in, the iStopMotion app was one of the first they downloaded.

“Encouraging my students to work with stop motion was difficult at first,” he says. “The amount of time it takes to create a short clip was a tough sell to my students. However, after we read ‘Coraline’ by Neil Gailman, my students were hooked. One of my classes has recently started projects based on the book ‘The Westing Game.’ Students are using iStopMotion to recreate their favorite scenes from the book.”

To do this, the class began by discussing different parts of the book that would translate well into stop motion. Then, each student created his or her own storyboard. Richard notes that the Animation Chefs (our good friends !) had some great example videos on stop motion that really helped the class brainstorm. Once the storyboards were complete, the class learned more about operating iStopMotion as an app, as well as filming stop motion animation in general. They began filming at the end of the week, and the next week was dedicated to editing their videos in iMovie. One student even used a blue screen for her project to add an extra special touch. Both Richard and his students particularly enjoyed using the iStopMotion remote camera.

“The reaction of my students has been great,” Richard says. “Not everything has gone as planned, but students really enjoy the process and it’s hard to get them to go home sometimes!”

For stop motion beginners, Richard has some words of wisdom. “My advice would be to read as much as you can about the process. Watch stop motion videos or movies and ask questions. There are a lot of experts and experienced people out there who are more than willing to help you get started.”

We agree! Watching other stop motion videos is a great way to spark your imagination. It’s useful to see how other people decided to make their characters and sets move, what materials they chose to use and what topics they decided to cover. Try searching for stop motion videos on websites like YouTube, Twitter or Vimeo, or check out the Theater in our app. Take a scroll through the Boinx blog and check out the Animation Chefs’ site as well like Richard did. And be sure to check out the example from one of Richard’s students above for some excellent pointers!