A project resource that I was working on with the National Writing Project and the Mozilla Foundation has been released, and it is a tutorial and hackable activity around creating stopmotion movies. This is part of a larger partnership to create resources for folks as part of the Summer of Making and Learning.I wanted to try to find ways to teach people how to use stopmotion tools for creative expression. There are a few pages to the resources, each of which can be “remixed” thanks to the Mozilla Thimble website tool. And two activities use Popcorn Maker as a way to experiment with video design.
Check it out and give it a try. Make a movie! This connects nicely with both the Teach the Web MOOC and the Making Learning Connected MOOC.
We kicked off the first day of the Making Learning Connected MOOC with a flurry of activity. It was so energizing to see the variety of ways that folks are diving into the first cycle of making, by creating representative media to introduce themselves. We’ve already had audio, video, artistic, interactive, and more examples.
This animated introduction is how I introduced myself to the community. Since I am asking folks to explain their process of making, I should do the same, right?
First, I used an app called Animation Desk. I paid the upgrade version, but there is a free version, too. It’s a pretty powerful stopmotion animation app. It’s not the simplest one out there, but I like the options for what you can do, and to be honest, I think I have only begun to scratch the surface.
I decided to draw a picture (note: I am not a visual artist and I don’t even play one on the Internet, and I don’t have a stylus so everything is finger-drawn, as if you could not guess) and I thought about having important elements of my life revolve around me. So, I began with my kids, then my wife, and then music and writing and teaching. Perhaps it goes without saying, but this took quite a long time. You have to play with every frame. (I later kicked myself for not doing a simple thing — I should have had my eyes following the movement. That would have been cool. Oh well.)
See this screenshot? This is just one page of frames.
Next, I exported the animation out of the app, and it allows you to export directly to sites like Youtube. But I emailed the file to myself, and then dumped it into iMovie, where I added the titles, voiceover and soundtrack, and then hosted it up on Youtube, in order to easily share with the Making Learning Connected community.
I hope it captures a bit about and maybe inspires you to try something different.
You’ll likely be seeing a bunch of different teasers coming into the Blogosphere here and elsewhere, as a group of us who are facilitating the Making Learning Connected MOOC this summer work to get folks interested in the free, online space for exploration and making and learning this summer. We’d love to have you, too. The sign-up site is not quite ready to share out, but it will be soon enough. For now, we’re creating various teasers in various media formats as a way to spark interest.
This summer, you may want to explore making stopmotion movies …
Here, I used WikiStix on my radiator and a free stopmotion program called JellyCam to create a short stopmotion piece with the words Making Learning Connected. I also turned on my iPad with a free stopmotion/time lapse program called iMotion HD and aimed it at me, working, in order to quickly (don’t blink) capture what I was doing. In both cases, I uploaded directly to YouTube and added a soundtrack there. So, I didn’t bother with any video editing program on my laptop.
I’ve had remix on my mind the past week, as part of the Teach the Web MOOC (now in its third week), and I came across this blog post by Kindergarten teacher Ben Sheridan, who writes about doing stopmotion movies with his students. The post is a nice example of reflective sharing, and then Sheridan tells his readers (the world) that some students created a video and they want to invite others to remix it and add narration. The class published the video, without audio, and Sheridan explained:
“We talked it over when we were done shooting and decided to share it out without adding any audio. They would like other classes to add their own audio and share it back with us. They want to see how many versions of the movie can be made. We even talked about having people remix the video as well but that may be a bit of a stretch. We’ll see if any one take that approach.” — Ben Sheridan
How can one resist that challenge and it occurred to me that using Popcorn Maker might be the way to go, since I could just borrow the video from Vimeo, and layer in some audio and other things. So, I did, using their Star Wars theme and twisting it around a bit to create a story of a cupcake thief (figuring the kindergarten kids would get a kick out of that). I then wrote a letter to the class at the blog, sharing my remix and encouraging them to be creative.
What I noticed as I was remixing was the “invisible audience” of Sheridan’s classroom. I wanted to amuse them and also respect the work that they had done. It was an honor that they bestowed on us to use their work for new purposes, and even as I was re-imagining the story (thinking, too, of the story they were probably thinking as they created their video), it felt less like theft and more like appreciation. And I guess that is the goal of most remix efforts — celebrating the original even as you try to move it in a new direction. In my mind, it would not have made sense to record an audio track that matched exactly what they had in mind when filming. I felt the need to move the remix in an unexpected direction, and by doing that, I was empowered to be creative in my efforts. That’s been the real lesson around remixing, I think.
How about you? You want to try a remix of their video? Either go to Ben’s post or use their video down below to remix your own story. You don’t have to use Popcorn Maker, as I did, but you can. If you do, be sure to share the link and remix with the class, and I’d love to see it, too. (You can even use the remix button my Popcorn project, if that helps).
The first day of February break, my youngest son asked: “Can we make a stopmotion movie?” You bet we can. We worked on the filming over a series of a few days with a software called Smoovie, and then created the soundtrack on the Garageband App, and then used iMovie to pull it all together. Just to say, a 2 minute stopmotion movie required a lot of shooting of frames.
Nothing like a Snow Day to hunker down and tinker … I started this as a saxophone with notes and then morphed into an animation for my band. I am now thinking I want to do one just for the band, for our website. (That’s us playing, and me on saxophone).
I love watching it as magic on the screen and I enjoy trying to make my own, too. I’ve always often brought stopmotion animation into the classroom. So I was intrigued by this app called Animation Desk, which is available for the iPod and iPad. I have it on the iPad, where the canvas is larger and easier to use. Essentially, it is a fairly intuitive program to use that allows you to draw, frame by frame, and then create a simple movie that can be exported to YouTube and other sites. I liked the relative simplicity of the design of the App, and while I am still trying out some of the bells and whistles, I had made a short video (Bouncy) in minutes and when my son joied me, we worked together on another one (Dognose). It was a lot of fun.
The other day, I wrote about the technology hemming me in, and I use a song that I had written and recorded as a demo as an example of why I was feeling that way. Today, I wanted to share what I did with that song, and maybe reversed things a bit. I still liked parts of the song, even though it had been changed irrevocably from what I had first envisioned it as for my band. And I didn’t want to lose it completely. As it turned out, I had also finally gotten around to downloading and toying around with the free Stykz software — which is a sort of updated version of Pivot Stick Figure stopmotion software (both are free).
I wondered: what if I created a stopmotion video in Stykz that used the chorus of the song? Yeah.
My son was hounding me to create a stopmotion movie yesterday and so I finally agreed, after dinner, to help him get set up. As he started to talk about his “story” (which is something I require him to have in mind – a mental storyboard — before we get started so that it doesn’t just devolve into complete chaos), I realized that he was envisioning a sort of zombie-like story.
Which was a strange coincidence, because I was in the midst of playing the Twitter Vs. Zombie game (although no one in family knows it) as part of Digital Writing Month. With a couple of story tweaks, we decided to base the movie around a Zombie King and a zombie factory, and a hero who destroys it and captures the Zombie King. He was the hero. I was the Zombie King.
We got to work — using the Smoovie app software to create scenes with Lego pieces, and then iMovie to add narration and music (from Freeplay Music), and then Youtube to publish (he is very conscious already of “views” and maybe that is a topic of another post on another day, given that he is only 8 years old). I shared the final video out as part of the Twitter vs. Zombie game last night, adding our creation into the narrative mix of the unfolding game.