Class Stop Motion Film
Grade Level: Grade 6
Time Needed: Five 45 minute class periods
Focus: This project's focus will be to give the students experience in creating a stop motion film using a plan and collaborative forces.
a. 220.127.116.11.1 - Analyze the elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence.
b. 18.104.22.168.3 - Develop an artistic statement, including how audience and occasion influence creative choices.
c. Develop a film that succeeds in displaying collaborative efforts that followed a planned and thought out process.
Motivational Resources: The students can be influenced by any number of videos found online that are made using figures and the stop motion technique. They will view at least one video on storyboarding as well as one video having to do with stop motion animation.
Art Materials: Clear Tape, Digital Camera(s), Tripod(s), Materials for creating an environment for the characters (paper, objects found around the classroom, other ideas), Figures that can be posed such as toys with multiple joints provided by teacher and student contributions, pencils, 3X5 note cards, scissors.
Introduction to Lesson: Animation as we know it is a way of creating moving images using slides played in a fast enough speed to display "movement." Many animations begin with a plan called a storyboard, which gives an outline and visual layout of the animation through individual panels usually drawn on paper. (Paries) Stop motion in particular is using elements existing in reality and usually using a still camera to take each frame, manipulating the subject by hand between capturing frames. Stop motion often utilizes human like figures to give the illusion of bringing life to lifeless objects. Barry Purves talks of how to bring life to these "puppets" in a way that evokes life in these otherwise inanimate objects. By using subtle movements over a longer period of time, animation creates a trick to our eyes.
For this project the students will be creating short films using stop motion animation. These films are intended to expose the students to ideas of motion using subtlety and patience. The ideas for the films are up to them, but they must (as a group) develop a concept from the ground up and in the end create something that the entire group can agree on. Through the course of this project, they should develop an understanding for animation as well as a grasp on working with a group of people, each holding their own ideas to create a final product.
Class 1: Introduce the class to stop motion animation as well as basic storyboarding. Familiarize them with the ideas behind stop motion using figures or "action figures." Make it known that the goal is to create life-like qualities out of the life-less figures. Inform the students (based on what the instructor can provide) that their groups should provide figures from home and that the more movable, the better. Also inform them that they should not bring figures they have a deep attachment to but they will be able to get them back at the end of the project if they wish. Then split the class into groups based on the number of cameras available, going no smaller than about four students to a group. Proceed to hand out a stack of note cards to each group as well as a pencil to each student. Tell the students to discuss with their group what they would like to accomplish for their film (some sort of dance, a short adventure, etc), and that it is their job to each contribute to the storyboard. Have them keep in mind that the more figures in each scene, the longer each scene will take to create. After the students create their storyboards they should discuss within their group who will bring what for the next class
Class 2: For this class the students will be given access to sections of the classroom to film their movies. They are then to utilize any supplies given to create an environment for their films. They should be instructed to use low picture quality on a 4x3 picture ratio (640X480 pixels), as that will make the editing process much smoother. Also touch on the importance of keeping the camera still and also creating many frames using small changes because each frame will only make up about a tenth of a second. The students should designate and rotate around alternating who will be manipulating the figures and who will be taking the photos. To ensure characters can stand on their own, tell them they can apply tape to the feet or other surfaces to keep the characters standing and since it's clear tape, it shouldn't show up on camera. This is also the time to remind them of some animation techniques such as using their hands as long as their hands are of the frame (this can be done by using clever camera focus). Today is devoted to gathering images and at the end of class or whenever the groups fill their memory cards, they will transfer their images to the computers they will be editing on.
Class 3: This class will again be devoted to capturing images just as the previous session. If any groups manage to finish capturing their images (to a point they feel is done) they will proceed to editing their films. To do this they will be asked to drag their files into iMovie or whatever editing software is available. It will be important for the instructor to be familiar with this process before this class period. They will then be able to edit their films how they see fit, and drag in music using Garageband, if this is not available the instructor is to provide music that the students can legally use in their movies. Help out groups in need of any and continue monitoring progress. Groups should ideally finish capturing images today.
Class 4: Each group should ideally finish capturing images on this day. They should also attempt to finish editing their films and should each hopefully be at least 30-40 seconds in length. If students are having trouble meeting the requirements, tell them they can incorporate still images to break up the film a bit. If any groups finish, they can do an activity deemed productive.
Class 5: Groups have the first half of class to finish editing films. The second half of class, groups will present their films to the class.
The evaluation for the project will be based on the objectives stated earlier in the lesson plan as well as what is included in the introduction to the assignment.
Art Production - Students will develop characters, environments, storyboards, and stop motion animations.
Aesthetics - Students will design each scene based on a vision they can collectively envision.
Art History - Students will experience stop motion animation similar to how professional animators make films today and in the past.
Art Criticism - Students will be asked to provide ideas and criticism to each other as well as point out what works well with each project.
Paries, Jeff, "Foundation Silverlight 2 Animation," Apress, 2009
Purves, Barry, "Stop Motion: Passion, Process and Performance," p. 25, Elsevier Ltd. 2008