Stop Motion and Time Lapse: It’s All in the Family

by Megan -

Unlike stop motion animation, where an object is moved in between still frames to create the illusion of animation, time lapse animation is a technique where frames are captured automatically of a process already in motion – a sunset, a busy city square, leaves changing color. Because the frequency at which frames are captured is much lower, the action appears to be moving faster (think of a flower budding in fast motion). For instance, if you took a picture of the sunset in front of you once a second, and compressed hundreds of images at 30 frames per second, it would seem like the sunset was playing in fast-forward.

Filmmaker Anthony Cerniello (more info) recently combined stop motion and time lapse animation to create a project that quickly became the most-viewed video on Colossal (more info), a popular website highlighting new artistic breakthroughs, as well as becoming a Staff Pick on Vimeo. His short film “Danielle” originated when he joined his friend Danielle at her family reunion last Thanksgiving. With the help of still photographer Keith Sirchio, the two captured pictures of all of Danielle’s cousins, from youngest to oldest. After scanning the photos into his computer, he selected the pictures of the family members with the most similar bone structure and made slight edits. Next, animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle helped the project along by using After Effects and 3D Studio Max to animate the photos from youngest to oldest, bringing them to life in the form of what looked like a slowly aging person. Nuke artist George Cuddy then edited small details such as hair and eyes, and the rest was history.

All of these pictures were put together and slightly animated between each frame to create subtle transitions, creating an amazing time-lapse effect and showing the decades-long aging process in just a few breathtaking minutes. Paired with the music added by Mark Reveley, the project is as eerie as it is cool.

Want to try your hand at shooting your own time lapse photography? Here are some tips:

1. Make sure you choose a subject that shows movement. Melting ice, a busy street, or a flower blooming are some good starting points to get you thinking.

2. Decide how much time you want to dedicate to shooting. It’s going to take a lot longer to shoot the change of the seasons than it will to shoot a sunrise, so plan accordingly!

3. Determine your frame capturing intervals. If you’re shooting something that will take longer to show movement, you might want to take a picture once every minute instead of once every second. If you want a more seamless shot, set your time intervals to a few seconds. With the time lapse featuring in iStopMotion for iPad, you can simply set it and forget it!

4. Use a tripod. When shooting a time lapse (or stop motion animation, for that matter!) it’s vital that you have a steady shot, so your footage doesn’t look jumpy. For professional looking work, use a tripod, or anything to keep your camera or iPad steady.

5. Add titles and other effects. Use editing software like iMovie or Final Cut Pro to add titles, music and any other effects you can imagine.

iStopMotion is super easy to use for time lapse videos as well as stop motion animation. Give it a try today and let us know what you think!