Stop Motion: 5 Tips to Get You Started

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Stop motion is such a great way to showcase product features, uses, or just to give that creative flare to stand out. On top of this, they are also so much fun to create!
As a product photographer, I must say that stop motion has a special place in my heart.
So, here are 5 easy steps to get you started.

1) Secure Everything:

To make sure that your stop motion doesn’t look amateur, YOU MUST secure everything that won’t or shouldn’t be moving in the animation.
Start by securing the background. You can use tape or clamps.
Once you set up your props in their positions, make sure you secure them. Blu-tack is your best friend for this.

2) Tripod:

Doesn’t matter if you’re using your phone camera or a DSLR, you must use a tripod to make sure there won’t be any shakiness!

3) Lighting: 

Using consistent lighting throughout each frame is key! For example, if you have  frames with un-matching light quality, the stop motion will look amateur and result in extra work in post. 
This is why I’m a big proponent of using artificial light. It allows you to have complete control of your lighting throughout!
But the truth is, if you don’t own quality strobes/speed lights with reliable lighting, like Profoto for 
example, you might notice that your frames have a light flicker and mismatched tones.
I personally love using strobes in my photography, and even have used cheap speed lights to make some great stop motion before. But the fact is, this did result in extra work during post-production, as I had to make sure the lighting looked similar in each frame.
So, in my opinion, the best option is to use continuous lights. But to use continuous lights correctly, you have to make sure you’re in a controlled environment. Unlike strobe/speed lights, where you can easily control ambient light by changing the settings, using continuous lights needs a few extra steps.

Here are a few:
>Turn off any other lights in the room 
>Close the curtains to any windows to make sure that no additional changing light (sun/cloud variance) can get through.
>Start with a completely dark room.

4) Tethering

I always shoot tethered. This way you can see the frames as you shoot them, and you can adjust accordingly. 

For tethering, you have a few software options:
>Capture One
>Dragon Frame (specifically for stop motion)

5) Remote Trigger

Once everything is secured and the camera is on the tripod, you don’t want to cause any shakiness when you click the shutter. You can either use a remote trigger or use your tethering software to capture your frames.

I hope these tips help you get started with Stop Motion! Oh, and one very important step, have fun!

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