Stop motion – Beginnings

The goal

Create a short stopmotion film of up to 5 minutes.


When I was young(er), many of my favourite TV shows were claymation, i.e. stop motion using clay models. The show that I remember most is Gumby, but there was also a show called Paddington Bear that used non-clay models. I found the claymation idea fascinating, and have wanted to try stop motion ever since.

One day while wandering through Officeworks, I noticed a box for the program StopMotion Pro. I’ve kept the name of the program written down and, being fresh in my mind, it was the first thing I wanted to do on my list.

Today’s Progress

I bought some lego:

That’s two boxes of general shapes, two Minifigures and one big base. One of the boxes was damaged, so my wife Katie shrewdly negotiated a 50% discount. The sealed-in-plastic-bags lego was fine!

I downloaded and installed the trial version of the Action! HD edition of Stop Motion Pro, but got stumped at the first opening screen which demanded a camera/webcam. I couldn’t get my digital camera or PS3 Eye camera to work, despite a frustrating few hours trying different things. While shopping for Lego earlier in the day, I had a feeling I should buy a webcam and I was right. Rather infuriated by my lack of progress, I headed out to the shops at about 10pm, amused wife in tow, and bought…


…a Microsoft Live! webcam, a funky tripod, some coloured blu-tack and another Lego Minifigure.

We got home rather late and thankfully the webcam worked. Here’s my first attempt at stop motion:

Some notes:

  • The video is played back at 7.5 frames per second.
  • The blue light is from the webcam, reflected by the shiny new lego brick(s).
  • The webcam has no ability to adjust the focus without moving the camera.
  • Note the ghastly flickering created by different light levels in each frame.

Despite the above issues, I was quite pleased with how easy it was to take the shots with Stop Motion Pro, as well as the ability to blend in the previous shot so you can check the positioning before taking the next shot.

For my next session, I’ll try out some other features of Stop Motion Pro, especially the ability to paint on frames for special effects, and looping/pasting frames to avoid having to retake the same shot multiple times.

I’ll finish today’s progress with a photo of my setup (the lego base and webcam are blu-tacked in place):


This entry was posted in 01 Stopmotion Film and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Stop motion – Beginnings

  1. Pingback: Stopmotion – A second experiment | Ben's Bucket Blog

Comments are closed.