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Tools and Tips for Creating Amazing Stop Motion Videos in the Classroom

Tools and tips for creating stop motion videos in the elementary classrooms. FREE apps and web tools that can be used on iPads, Chromebooks, laptops/computers are included!

What is stop motion?

Stop motion is a cinematographic technique that creates animations by making objects appear as if they are moving on their own. You can achieve this by taking a picture of an object, move it ever so slightly and then snap another picture. Repeat this until you have taken several dozens of pictures (more depending on how long you want the animation to last). The more pictures you take, the better the video! 

Stop Motion in the Classroom

Students can use stop motion to retell a story, explain a historical event, show math concepts and so much more. It is a great way to make their thinking visible and share with the world! Below is one of my favorite stop motion projects I did a few years ago using Erintegration's  States of Matter Stop Motion Project for the iPad. Students demonstrated how molecules behave as a solid, liquid and gas.


The Best Digital Tools for Making Stop Motion Videos in the Classroom

There are many different stop motion creation apps/tools. However, the ones below are my favorite because they are FREE and very easy to use in the elementary classroom. I prefer to use iPads when creating stop motion videos; however, there are ways to accomplish a similar animation by using computers.

iPads



Stop Motion Studio is a free app that is great to use for stop motion animations! This is the one I used in the matter video above.




I really like Stop Motion Studio because you can save your creation as a video or as an animated GIF like this I made below:





Koma Koma is another fabulous and FREE stop motion app. This app is great for even our youngest learners since it is so easy to use!



Chromebooks/Laptops/Computers

Richard Byrne's from Free Technology for Teachers blogged about  How to Create Stop Motion Videos on a Chromebook using the Stop Motion Animator Chrome app. This app is very easy to use on any computer and does not require a login!

Control Alt Achieve blogged about a slightly different stop motion technique using Google Slides to create animated videos. Even though students aren't snapping pictures, this is a great option as they learn to move and manipulate images as well as duplicate slides.

Hue Animation Studio is a stop motion animation kit you can purchase to hook up to a Windows PC or Mac computer. It runs about $49 but is an awesome tool for any classroom, MakerSpace or STEM lab! Click my Amazon affiliate link below to read more about Animation Studio:



Jonathan Wylie blogged about using ABCya Animate to create stop motion movies. I used this free web tool a few years ago in a second grade classroom and the students created animations about magnetism. They saved their creations, sent them to me and I added them to this Google Slides presentation below:


Tips for Stop Motion Creation

1. Have a plan. Use a storyboard or sketch out the sequence of events before filming. Lemon Lime Adventure has a FREE Storyboard you can download in THIS post.

2. The more pictures/frames, the better the video! Snap even more pictures (or create multiple slides) than you think you would need.

3. Move the objects/images about a centimeter each time. Yes, this requires a lot of patience and focus but it is worth it in the end!

4. If you are filming/taking pictures of images for your stop motion video, be sure to find a flat area that is all the same color/pattern. You don't want to accidentally snap a picture of something that doesn't match your background (ex. a corner of a cabinet). This will disrupt your video if one or several of the pictures captures random pieces that were not intended to be seen in the video. A trifold presentation board makes a great backdrop.

5. If you are filming/taking pictures be sure to hold your device in the same exact spot and at the same angle for EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. This can be challenging for students, especially if they are working in groups. It is easier to do with a computer/laptop since it can sit on its own. There are all types of ipad stands you could use (Amazon affiliate links below) but you could also challenge students to create their own with items you have in your classroom!



Have you tried creating stop motion videos in your classroom? If so, tell me about it in the comments below!

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