What’s Stop Motion? (& how to create videos at home)

What is Stop Motion? You might have seen some of your pupils videos on YouTube... if you haven't we'll tell you how to make your own video!
Aveea Stop Motion

What is it?

Stop motion has long held its place in popular culture across the many decades, even against the modern CGI, it still holds its ground and carves its own niche in the modern day. And yet, while that’s good and all, why are we running sessions at Aveea about it? Well, just like stop motion, bear with us, this might take a while.

STEM, STEAM, Stop Motion??

To begin with, STEM has always covered the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but what has been coming more into the light in recent years is STEAM. Introducing arts into STEM, STEAM aims to put more emphasis on reasoning and design principles, while also encouraging more creative solutions. While STEAM may not end up taking over STEM, it is undeniable that the aspects which they encourage are valuable to everyone. Which is why, at Aveea, we encourage the pupils to bring out that artistic side, and that’s what brings us to stop motion.

Stop motion is by no means everywhere like CGI is, but it’s very likely that you’ve seen it before, whether that’s in shorter form like adverts, or in full blown movies like Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run. But, if CGI is more popular, why are we doing stop motion at Aveea instead?

Simple, the ease of entry. CGI is difficult, it takes a long time to gain the skill to produce any results, but stop motion lends itself well to being able to dip your toes in and produce something visual without the need for all these fancy skills. 

Aveea Academy Stop Motion

That isn’t to say that stop motion is fast and skill-less, in fact the complete opposite. The more time and practice sunk into stop motion, the better the outcome, and in terms of production time, you can imagine that taking millions of photos with real life adjustments between each take is going to take a long time.

Isn't it quite straightforward?

When producing stop motion, there’s tons of things to consider, whether that’s how the characters move, the background, the speed, the perspective, the sound, the list goes on and on. These are all challenges to tackle that require those aspects that we initially mentioned with STEAM.
Aveea Academy Stop Motion
While fundamentally stop motion is rather simple, after all you’re just moving a model and taking pictures each time, to fully express one’s creativity however, is going to take more than just that. When you think about a movie in your head, is the only thing that comes to mind a person walking? Of course not.

What if we wanted someone flying? Or a plane? Are we just going to hold them up using our hands? And even if we did, how are we going to make sure that we get them in the exact position we want each time, it’ll just look janky and unstable if we eyeballed it with our hands. 

We want that smooth, consistent transition between each take, and to do that we need some kind of solution. That’s where the pupils’ creative solutions come in, it’s not just about the creativity of coming up with ideas for a movie, but how we bring those ideas to life.

There's so much to consider!

Working with stop motion also gives a glimpse into real life design constraints, we can’t necessarily bring everyone’s ideas to life at 100%. And even if we did, at what cost? Both materialistically and time. Just like the real world, engineers can’t just shove the biggest battery they can find into all our phones, while I’m sure we’d all appreciate that extra long battery life, there are so many things to consider.

Whether that’s the cost, how to fit the battery in, sufficient cooling, and even more that we would never even consider, but that’s something which engineers have to do. And in that situation, what is the best compromise? If we want a fire in our stop motion movie, what do we do?

Lighting an actual fire is out of the question, the safety concerns, the inconsistencies, the extensive time required to take all the shots, we clearly need a better solution. And sure there might be many out there, but sometimes it might be necessary to instead decide, maybe next time.

STEM is important, but sometimes we need to think about aesthetics

We can go on and on about the importance of art from a STEM perspective, but beyond that there is the simple fact that as human beings, we care about aesthetics. 

Aveea Academy Stop Motion

There’s a reason why we’re not all just wearing the same clothes, there’s a reason why everything comes in a different colour, and there’s a reason why we care about these aspects at Aveea.

Whether it’s the modern beauty of an iPhone, or the beauty of the 300 year old St. Paul’s Cathedral. Both are works of engineering, and both required artistic view to reach that form. Aesthetics have been important to us for centuries, and it’d be silly for us to ignore them now.

How to make your own video!

Now the part you’ve been waiting for, how to make your own video!

We use iPads at Aveea, and you can find the app we use below. Whilst we have all the bells and whistles there is a free version for everyone to try at home.

Explore the world of STEM with us