Stop motion videos are super fun to create and learning to make one is very quick, and super popular on TikTok or as Instagram stories.
This article shows how you can create clean and crisp stop motion videos using just your smartphone plus a free app, as well as some tips and tricks to make sure your stop motion photography videos come out just right.
What you need to make stop motion videos
Requirement Number 1: a smartphone to take the photos with.
You can use standard cameras or DSLR’s too, but the setup is more complicated.
Requirement Number 2: an Android / iOS app with stop motion features.
TikTok’s stop motion feature
If you want to make stop motion video to upload to TikTok, you can use the stop motion feature within the app (Camera -> Effects -> Interactive -> Click on “Stop Motion” feature).
The disadvantage of TikTok’s stop motion capability is the absence of some powerful features as well as the TikTok watermark on the video.
Life Lapse app | iOS | Android | Free
Very user friendly, and has some cool features such as adjusting the speed of the stop motion video, cropping the video, adding songs, filters and more.
More features are unlocked by purchasing a pro subscription for the app.
Stop Motion Studio | iOS | Android | Free + one time payment
A more powerful and feature rich stop motion making app compared to Life Lapse, but its UI is not as intuitive.
Paying a one time fee of $5 unlocks powerful features such as 4K Ultra HD capabilities, using another device as a remote shutter button, themes, importing music, rotoscoping features and more.
If you just want to experiment and have a bit of fun making stop motion videos, you don’t really need to pay for these extra features.
However, once you’re comfortable and want to try some more interesting stuff then the paid versions can really take the quality up a notch – especially with Stop Motion Studio Pro since it’s more feature rich and cost efficient.
(Optional Requirement) Number 3: A tripod.
A tripod or something similar is very useful when making stop motion videos, since it keeps your phone fixed and steady when taking photos so the video doesn’t jitter around.
If you don’t have a tripod, consider this excellent smartphone tripod that offers a universal clip holder and a wireless remote controled shutter button.
As an added bonus it makes your video seem more professional and simplifies the creation process by freeing both your hands.
How to make a stop motion photography video
The process of making a stop motion video for Instagram or TikTok is very simple, from within the Stop Motion Studio or Life Lapse apps, go to the camera and then repeat the following steps:
- Take photo.
- Move object.
- Take photo.
- Move object.
- Take photo.
- Move object.
Repeat as many times as you want, or until your project is finished.
After you finish taking photos, Life Lapse and Stop Motion Studio will take you to a “project screen” that shows all the photos you’ve taken, and allows you to edit or delete them.
Once you’ve selected the photos you want, you’ll be taken to a menu where you can do the final touches to a stop motion video project: speed, filters, music, etc.
After you’re done, just export the file and voila! You’ve just created your first stop motion video.
Useful tips to make a stop motion video
1) Use a tripod
A tripod greatly simplifies the process of making a stop motion video, while at the same time greatly increasing the overall quality since the video won’t jitter anymore.
2) Don’t touch the smartphone while shooting the video
If you touch the smartphone, there’s a risk you will push it out of place which makes the entire video look jittery.
To prevent this, simply use the timer feature on the camera so it automatically takes a photo every X seconds and move the object in between the camera shots.
An alternative is to use a remote controled shutter button so you can take the photos whenever you want. The smartphone tripod linked above comes bundled with one.
If that doesn’t work, then Stop Motion Studio Pro has a feature where you can pair devices together, where one device is the actual camera and the other device as a remote shutter button.
3) Consider the frame rate
For a stop motion video, frame rate describes how many photos there are in 1 second of video.
Stop motion videos usually have 12 to 24 frames per second.
Anything less than 12 frames per second and the video starts to look too choppy, while anything more than 24 and it becomes almost as fluid as a movie (most are shot in 30 frames per second or more)
4) Consider the lightning
Always try to keep the lightning as consistent as possible. Having different levels of light among the individual photos will give the video a flickering sensation.
Of course, this could be a nice touch if you want that sort of thing, but most of the time the flickering effect will take away from the quality of the movie.
Some ideas to keep lightning consistent: close the curtains and use the lightning in your room, shoot the video at the same time of day etc.
5) Advanced users: Use Dragonframe and Photoshop
Dragonframe is the industry standard software when it comes to making stop motion video. It’s expensive though, costing ~$300. It does however give you a lot of power over the end result.
Photoshop is great for editing individual photos in a frame and is a standard tool for professional stop motion film makers.
Best YouTube Stop motion channels to follow for inspiration
If you want ideas for stop motion videos, then there are a number of YouTube channels you can visit to see how they do stuff and maybe find some inspiration.
- Magnetic Food
- Stop Motion King
- Animatortor (some clay modeling, some stop motion)
- Minute Physics (animation, drawings and some stop motion)