A Digital Demo--Page Twelve, Stop-Action Video
Office Location: Light Fine Arts 203, Phone: 337.7003
To digital page
To my homepage
Stop-Action Video (from stills)
From the syllabus:
Small animation or video piece--use I-Movie or Photoshop, along with still images, to create a more advanced version of the animated Gif. This piece can be much larger, longer, and it's easy to add sound or music using the video program.
If you've done video before, you could make a small piece. If you've not, doing a stop-action film (from stills) is a good first start...
You will have to be conscious of things like continuity and flow--not evident or meaningful with static imagery.
Below is a couple of ways to make a stop action film using stills from a camera (of some type)--and iMovie rather than Photoshop. (This can also be done by using images created in Photoshop--like we did with our animated gifs. I'll put this procedure after the camera-based examples.)
Idea, Plan, and Shoot
Plan out how you want to shoot the images for your project. You'll need a camera...this can mean a point-and-shoot, a DSLR, or the one in your phone. You could also use the iSight (tiny camera) in your laptop.
Have any and all props at your disposal when you're ready to shoot. You might also need some small things like tape as--if you're manipulating items, sticking them to walls and such.
When you shoot, it's good to be able to keep the camera very still (by use of a tripod) so that objects move within the frame. It can be very confusing when both the camera and the objects shift. If you're using a phone or small camera and can't use a tripod, try to be conscious of how the picture is framed each time.
If you have control over such things, it would be good to turn off all auto functions--such as exposure, white balance, and focus. If you can set these things manually, they won't change while your shooting your scene. These minute changes can be very apparent in your finished product.
You might have to clear your card prior to shooting--or even during shooting--as you will shoot many pictures. You should think about shooting ten frames for each second of film.
Make a folder on the desktop, label it "stop_action"
Hook up camera to computer with ISB cord
Copy images by selecting the all and dragging them into the folder
Drag camera to trash to dismount properly
Note: one can also use iPhoto or Adobe Bridge to download the pictures. If iPhoto wants to do this when you hook up your camera, go with it. (The use of iMovie below has us putting the files in the iPhoto Library, so this will save you a step.)
Organize the pictures
It's good to have each scene, or clip-to-be, in a separate folder.
If you have lots of pictures, we can use Adobe Bridge to sort them out. Or, if it's clear to see your different scenes, go ahead and place them in separate folders (within "stop_action" folder). Call these inner folders something like "clip1", "clip2", and so on.
Import the Photographs into iPhoto Library
File => Import to Library
Find a folder of images--either "stop_action" or "clip1" within that folder
Click on that folder and hit "import"
Import each folder
iPhoto will call this series of imports an "event"
Import each folder
Edit the Stills in iMovie
File => New Project
Name and set aspect ratio (do widescreen)
Regarding "Auto Transitions"
Do not click if you want a jumpy feel, do click if you want smoother feel
File => Project Properties
Set "Initial Photo Placement" to "Fit in Frame" (instead of Ken Burns)
Now back in main screen for iMovie...
Click on the button for photos (small camera toward lower right), and then click on "events" to find the groups of photos (rather than individual ones).
Drag the event icon into the project window
Drag in other "events" one at a time in the proper order
Click on the play button to see it run as it is currently set
One second is probably too slow, so we will adjust...
Set the timing for the stills
Click on "Clip Adjustments" and a small dialogue box will then open where you can do the following...
The music is intended to come from the music folder on the computer. If you have separate sound or music files, you will have to put them in that folder.
Make adjustments and fine-tune
Export ("share") when completely happy
I've not used this method, but since you will have seen it while making your animated gifs, I will outline here.
File => Open
Find the folder that holds your stills
Open it and select the first image AND click "image sequence" near the bottom
You will be asked to set the frame rate--I did 10 frames per second.
The images will be imported into Photoshop as a sequence (and should show up as a video clip in the "timeline" window
You can hit the play button to see it run.
If you'd like to change the speed of the clip, look for tiny button on the right side of the clip
Click on that and you can change the time and watch it run again.
To add filters to a layer, you must convert it into a "smart object". (As we spoke of before, a smart object keeps a link to its original data, so you can do "nondestructive" editing.)
You can add music as well...
...by clicking on the "+" sign at the right side of the timeline window (in the area marked for "audio")
When you're happy, you can export the film.
File => Export => Render to Video
Use "Adobe Media Encoder" below that
Use H264 and "high quality"
Create an animation like we did before.
Switch to "video" timeline.
Adjust the timing and export as above.
When making stop action films, I tend to first create clips with iMovie, "share" them to the desktop, and then make a new project to put the clips together as a video. It is with this project that I add music and titles.
If you do this, as when beginning a new project for video footage, I turn off "Ken Burns" for "initial video Placement" when to go to File => New Project.
To speed up or slow down a clip, look at "clip adjustments" as before, but tweak toward turtle or hare (slow or fast).