Your Kids Can Do It: Quick, Free, and Easy Stop-Motion Videos

By Angela Bunyi on May 27, 2011

Today is not only my last day of teaching, but also my last day posting on Top Teaching for this school year. For my last post, I would like to share a fun classroom activity. As our year wrapped up, my students took some time to become more familiar with stop-motion animation. Using a free program, we were able to create stop-motion videos from start to finish in fewer than thirty minutes — and jazzed-up versions in less than an hour. With videos featuring Mother's Day messages, Harry Potter in LEGOs, and a demonstration of a llama's digestive system, this post will help wrap up the year in a fun and engaging manner. 

You CAN Make Stop-Motion Videos Within an Hour

My teaching friend, Elizabeth Shepard, introduced me to FrameByFrame before teaching an enrichment cluster in our room. I am glad she did. This program makes stop-motion animation a possibility for every student. Our class downloaded the program, and with directions, they were independently making a stop-motion video ten minutes later. So, what makes it so easy? FrameByFrame has two nice features: it utilizes your built-in Web camera and shows two screens so you can see the shadow of the last photo taken. After completing a check online, I found several other free PC versions as well. Take a look and find one that works for you. 

Frame by Frame is so easy, I couldn't find a tutorial online. I created one with my cat Mason, but had some technical difficulties uploading it. The site had this to say on the directions:

FrameByFrame lets you create stop-motion animation videos using any webcam/video camera connected to your Mac, including iSight. Just take some pictures and in a matter of seconds you‘ve got your very own stop-motion QuickTime movie!

Frame1

Directions: Simply open up the program and take photos using the camera icon. The right screen shows a constant shadow of the last photo taken for placement help.

To view your video, make sure to click on the first photo. You can adjust the speed (frames per second) to your liking. Most of my students settled on 7 frames/photos per second. This would mean a 30 second video would require 210 photos. 

Frame2
Once you are happy with your collection, hit save before clicking on export. The export button provides you a large variety of saving options. If you are a Mac user, I prefer MPEG4 for editing in iMovie. An additional ten minutes in iMovie can provide some audio support, titles, and organization.

It's really that easy.

Let's Make a Stop-Motion Video: Quick, Free, Easy

Here are just a few stop-motion videos made by my students recently. I have examples that utilize clay, LEGOs, paper, toys, soda taps, pencils . . . nearly anything and everything. One idea my students seemed to enjoy was taking pictures as a letter was written. A few did this as a nontraditional Mother's Day present. As a mother, I would be delighted to receive something as sweet as the clip below:

 

Here are a few more . . .

An Example Using Sound Effects, Toy Cars, and LEGOs

An Educational Example (I Think) Using Paper

A Humorous Version of Harry Potter Using LEGOs

 

It's Time to Celebrate

After allowing time for students to "play" and create a stop-motion video of their own, it was time to shine. With a quick upload to my desktop, I created a movie trailer to build some excitement about our finished products: 

Of course, this was followed by an official viewing party. When we finished watching the videos, I asked students how many were seriously interested in continuing with stop-motion videos during the summer. Every single hand went up. I think that's pretty impressive. Next year, I plan to incorporate them in a more educational manner. Below are the great resources that will help with that process.

Stop-Motion Sites Geared for Students

Klutz Animation


Klutz
Klutz offers an amazing set of videos, geared for students, to generate some stop-motion ideas. Every single video is worth watching and will get your kids excited about the possibilities.

SAM Animation/iCreate to Educate (Hosted Together)

Create_to_educate_workCreate_to_educate

What I like about SAM Animation and iCreate to Educate more than anything is how they tie an educational value to stop-motion animation. My ultimate goal is to utilize stop-motion the way the videos above do. One of my students really enjoyed the cow clip on the digestive system and created one on her favorite animal in the world, a llama. 

Just think about the possibilities! 

Megan Power's Stop-Motion Directions

Our very own Megan Power from Top Teaching created a post about bringing stop-motion to life in her classroom. I recommend this as your final destination. Megan has done an amazing job working with kindergartners, and it just goes to show that stop-motion animation IS feasible for all students. 

 

Have a Great Summer!

So, this is it for me. By the time you read this, I'll probably be at Disney World. 

It has been a pleasure posting here for the past three years, and I am delighted to say that I am coming back for a fourth year with Scholastic. Look for some new posts and ideas here next August!

In the meantime, feel free to visit our site anytime!

 

Comments

Angela, I love all of your ideas and have been very inspired by you! I would love to incorporate your word study program, but the links on your website aren't opening. (Sorry to ask this here, but I didn't see an email address.) Just wondering if it was just me or if there is a problem with the links.

Thanks for all of the great ideas and inspiration! Have a relaxing summer!

Thanks Sandy. I have a busy year ahead of me. :)

Angela

Congratulations!!!

Hello!

I've taught 2-6, but my favorite grade is 4th by a landslide.

This following year I will be going back into a literacy/intervention coach position (at the same school). I will be working with K-6, so I feel pretty lucky. :)

Best,

Angela

Angela, I have enjoyed your blog very much over the years. It is always nice when teachers share. Makes life more fun:) Just curious, do you have a favorite grade level to teach? I know you have taught 3, 4, and 5. Of course, coworkers can often make the decision for us. So often, that is more important than the right age group, but have you enjoyed one age group more than the others?

Susan,

Of course. You are welcome anytime. Just check back here next August, and we can set something up.

Best,

Angela

Angela,

I've really enjoyed your posts this year. I too am a literacy coach and heading back to the classroom in the Nashville area. Do you open your classroom to outside observers?

Susan

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