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Old July 7th, 2013, 07:39 PM   #1
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Stop motion miniature work flow

Hello

When I was younger I enjoyed buying and painting up 1:72 scale soldiers and models (WW2, civil war,napoleonic wars) now I enjoy movies and I thought I would have ago at dusting off some of these things and filming some stop motion animations with them. I will probably only use the tanks and vehicles and leave the soldiers for now. So over the past few weeks I have been making some plaster of Paris buildings and a small street landscape (mainly going off private Ryan and BoB) to film on, it's not brilliantly detailed but should come up looking alright with a few effects and colour grade.

What I have no idea about and what I hope to learn is a good efficiant work flow for making these shots.
Right now I will be filming it with a canon eos 60d and the 18-55mm kit lense (using a tripod) and then editing in adobe premiere cs6 and then after effects. I have done a quick test shot where instead if taking photos I videod it by moving the tank bit by bit then taking my hand fully out of frame and then in editing cutting a single frame out of each part where my hand isn't in shot and then putting these shots back to back to create the look of the tank moving. This looks good but the Ammount of cutting in editing is quit boring and time consuming.

If I decided to do it the old fashioned way of taking photos, what do I need to know ? Things like what resolution do I shoot at ? Do I need to do anything to the photos befor editing ? ( like transcoding with video?) what do the project settings need to be in premiere and are there any tips to streamline the process ?

Thanks for Reading

This Is probably one Of my longest post ever
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Old July 18th, 2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

any stop motion workflow will be tedious boring and time consuming.

Id go with the traditional methods of frame by frame positioning. If you can find a way to overlay the previous frame with the current view of the camera then it will go much easier?

You can see what I mean in this demo for some product I know nothing about (looks expensive)

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Old July 29th, 2013, 06:01 PM   #3
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

Ive seen that dragon stop motion software and might get it at some point.

Here is a quick test i did yesterday


Im quite proud of it for a first try although i must admit there is still room for lots of improvement.

I set up the scene in a shoe box which i lined with green paper and then filmed the shot and loaded it into premiere and then into after effects for compositing then back into premiere for sound effects.



Obviously the green screen work needs improving, the green paper i used worked alright but i just placed the scene close to a window and used the light from outside to light the scene so there were a few shadows around the buildings in particular that i couldnt key out (right now i dont really have any lights)

I think the actual movment of the tank could be improved aswell,

Im still very new to after effects so i hope to get better at that with practice too

Would be great to hear some feedback and any advice you might have cause i hope to make a little short film in the near future, thanks.
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Old August 11th, 2013, 01:19 AM   #4
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

I just finished another slightly longer sequence after learing a few things and taking abit of advice after the last shot.

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Old September 8th, 2013, 06:00 PM   #5
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

You're getting there! I see lots of improvement over the first test.

How many hours did you have involved making your second test movie?
I like the Wallace & Grommet films, but I can't imagine the time it must take to produce a feature like that.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 11:29 PM   #6
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

In terms of the filming it took me about 4-5 hours to get those 4 shots. The fact that they were tanks made things a little more tedious because they obviously move quite slowly which meant more photos (my first test i didnt take enough frames so they moved too fast in the final result).

Also i used some old bed side lamps to light the scene, i was happy with what they did and they were nice and easy to move around but they were quite dusty so the fumes comming off them gave me a bit of a headache.

I think the colour grade helps quite a bit too by tying all the different elements together

Im making a hillside set where i hope to have a bunker and some german tanks overlooking the town and firing down into it. the basic storyline will be allie tanks moving through the town and trying to take the hill.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 01:27 AM   #7
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

It took me a little longer than i thought putting on the finishing touches but here is the finished sequence for the tank film


Apart from a few shots im really happy with it and it looks pretty close to what i had in my head when i first started.

Looking forward to any comments people might have and feedback, i hope to do a few more in the future.

thanks for watching
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Old January 30th, 2014, 03:18 PM   #8
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

I think that's rather nicely done.
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 09:09 AM   #9
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

. I would like to try to make something like this. How would you suggest I get started?
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 05:14 PM   #10
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

Hi Ron, would be more than happy to go through how i did it, just depends on what type of film you were wanting to make and what things you already have.

Were you wanting to make a war based stop motion film like my one ? or another type of genre ?
If you were going for another genre with say claymation or somthing i would try and help the best i can but ive never really done anything like that myself so probably wouldnt be the best to ask (maybe other people with more experience than i could chime in with a few things).

In terms of the war genre, this was the first time i actually had ago at stop motion so a lot of what i did was either learnt from asking people question and posting little test clips on forums like this and just making it up as i went along.

Initially the best peice of advice i could give in relation to making a sequence like this is take your time.
Usually when me and my friends make short films (generally for small film competitions) we leave them to the last minute and have to rush through them and they end up being ok but you can tell they were rushed, However on this one i decided to take my time, i spent about a month and half making the buildings and landscapes and didnt touch the camera once in that time, then when it came to filming and editing i probably spent a further 4 months (this wasnt full time, just a bit here and there every few days)

And the second thing that helped me was that i had a pretty clear picture in my head of what i wanted the look of the film to be and i had this to work towards.

So yeh those are just the initial thoughts that i had when i first got started but if you want a few pointers on how i made certain things and the types of equipment and materials i used then i can list those too.
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Old February 4th, 2014, 10:17 AM   #11
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

Do you have a formula for how many pics to take per second of video? For example do you try to take say 15 pics for 30 frames per sec? Do you measure how far you are going to move then incrementally stage each movement? I am just trying to figure out where to start.
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Old February 4th, 2014, 03:26 PM   #12
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

Never really worked out a formula I just did a few test shots until I was happy with the speed and movement.
I was going for 25 photos per second which took a while especially when I had multiple vehicles in the same shot.

And I never really measured anything, I was just framing the shots in my head and using the camera screen to decide when and where the tanks would go.

The cool thing about some of the shots are they arnt actually stop motion, they are just a single photo frame animated with camera shake and the explosion special effects to make it look like its a moving image.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 08:34 PM   #13
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

For one of the next videos i was thinking about setting it on the coast for a possible amphibious landing like Dieppe or D-day.

One thing i wasnt sure about is how i would go about adding the ocean ?

I would of thought filming it practically with real water would be too much of a hassel and too restrictive, what would be the best way to go about this digitally ? filming the ocean seperatly then compositing it in ?and how would that work ? and other ways that it could be done ?

Thanks
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Old May 20th, 2014, 12:12 AM   #14
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Re: Stop motion miniature work flow

I have decided to delay the coast video and set it in north africa instead also i have bought a few 1:72 model planes that i hope to use in it.

I think i have a pretty good idea on how i want to film the planes (although any advice is welcome) but what im not sure about is the background like the sky and the ground especially. where would one go about getting backgound video or images that would be suitable for such a project ?

I saw this video -

Mine wont look as professional as that i'd say but any advice on where i could find similar backgrounds and how i could use them in After effects would be much appreciated

thanks
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