The Deadline Looms; Stopmotion Work Quickens

Today is our last day for working on Stopmotion Movies in class. As I told my students, they either get done today or they won’t get finished. This is our final full day of school, with Monday eaten up by awards ceremonies and other last-day-things-to-do that won’t allow time for playing around and creating movies on the computers. We’re in the “now or never” phase of production.
A few students finished up their movies yesterday — they are short films and some are more focused than others. That’s what happens when a movie project that should be about three weeks gets crunched down to a single week. But I can say that the kids are totally engaged in the work, and they love making stopmotion movies and using our music creator software for the soundtrack.

Here are a few of their creations:

Peace (in the motion),
Kevin

A Quick Peek Inside Our Stopmotion Work

stopmotion
stopmotion (1)

Shhhh.

My students are in their last week, engaged in making a short stopmotion movie.

Oh never mind. They can’t hear you anyway. They’re too engrossed in what they are doing.

The question is: do we have time to finish?

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin

PS — I love the shot of the two boys using the study desks. There’s something about that middle dividing line between the computer and the scene that just seems to perfectly capture the small scale of stopmotion work.

Bored? Make a Stopmotion Movie!

My six year old made this movie, mostly by himself, the other day when his calls of being bored got to me. I helped with the technical aspects but he designed the set, shot most of the video, and came up the story idea. He then watched it about 25 times in a row and is very proud of his movie. I love that the tools are such that even a six year old can imagine themselves a movie producer and then go and produce a movie (without any of those pesky actors to deal with, either.)

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin
PS — If you want to learn more about stopmotion movies, check out my website resource Making Stopmotion Movies.

The NWP(eeee) Dance Party(eeee) Theme Song

This morning, as I was planning out my NWP Makes! Session a bit more for next Saturday at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting, it dawned on me that a dance party stopmotion movie is what my group should create during our hour long working time (and then, they will document what we have done with technical writing). They’ll be using clay and wikistix to create little people.

And, so, I thought: I need to write a song for the video. A song about an NWP Dance Party. So, I composed it (using some music software) and wrote it and recorded it this morning, and have it now all set to go for the session.

Wanna hear it?

NWP Dance Party Theme Song

And here are the lyrics:

Put down your pens
Put down your papers
Put down your laptop
‘Cause you’ll get to it later

You’ve got to move-move
You’ve got to shake it – shake it
You’ve got to bend it back
An don’t even try to fake it

NWP Dance Party!

Ten thousand words
Can say the same thing
But this is like a language
that can make your heart sing

Come on the dance floor
And give it a little shake
Who knows where it’ll go
or what you can make

NWP Dance Party!

Peace (in the boogie),
Kevin

Whisper: A Stopmotion Shadow Video

This is interesting: using stopmotion with shadow puppet techniques. I like the video itself, but I really like the “behind the scenes” video even more because it shows us how they did what they did.





Peace (in the shadows),
Kevin

A Stopmotion Workshop Teaser/Prototype


I’ve been invited to be a presenter at what could be a very interesting session at the National Writing Project‘s Annual Meeting in November down in Orlando. NWP is teaming up with MAKE Magazine to offer a session on technical writing and Do-It-Yourself exploration.

Here’s the blurb from the three-hour working session called NWP Makes! Making and Technical Writing (which I see is now completely full):

A special Saturday event hosted by the NWP Digital Is project’s partnership with Make magazine. Participants will be invited to explore the connections between making and technical writing through hands-on projects and shared reflection. Come to learn about the making/crafting/tinkering/DIY movement and explore connections to your own practice.

I’ve been asked to do a one-hour session on stopmotion moviemaking. After my small group makes their movie, their task is going to be to document what we did in technical, expository writing. So, they experience it and then explain it for others.

Yesterday, I used some wiki stix (actually, they were knock-off stix and were a pain to use — note to self for workshop: get the real ones) and made a prototype movie that also became a teaser of sorts for the NWP Makes! session. I was trying to make the dude talk (I used Audacity to change my voice) and that is hard to do, I found out!

Right now, I am trying to come with “story” scenarios for 10 people to make a movie around in an hour. An hour is not long when you are shooting frame by frame. I have some ideas, though.

Peace (on the make),
Kevin

PS — If you are interested in stopmotion animation, I created a website with hints for teachers and students. Go to Making Stopmotion Movies.

Dot: the world’s tiny stopmotion movie

This is pretty neat: the world’s smallest (so they say) stopmotion movie made with a tiny microscope attachment to a mobile phone’s camera. The movie is called Dot, and there is a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the movie, too. I love when they do that. The character of Dot is just 9 millimeters tall. She’s tiny!




Peace (in the little world),
Kevin

Using Videos in Animoto


I’ve used Animoto many times in many ways over the last few years to showcase work of my students, but I had not yet tried the ability to upload videos into Animoto, and create moving project. Our recent name movies seemed a perfect fit, since Animoto only allows for small chunks of video (I think it is about 20 seconds) which you can edit down to smaller pieces at the site itself. The process was fairly intuitive.

I guess if you had a larger video, you could upload it and then duplicate it a bunch of times, editing different moments to create something a little different. Seems like a lot of work, but it could be done.

I like this new theme they have at Animoto. The folding boxes seemed a nice design fit for a movie of stickfigures.

Peace (on the small screen),
Kevin

Starting the Year with Names in Motion

Names in Motion 2010 (1) from Mr. Hodgson on Vimeo.

I like to start the first day of school with some fun technology and last year, I had my sixth graders jump headfirst into Pivot Stickfigure to make a movie that included letters in their name. I love that when parents ask “what did you do today,” they can answer, “we made a movie.”

Their only instructions from me are that I want them to include the letters of their name in their short stopmotion movie. What am I looking for? Time to chat with my new students and a sense of who is pretty comfortable with the computers and with trying something new (only one of my students had used Pivot before). I smiled when I heard a boy shout out from the back of the room, “I’m the expert. I can help.”

That’s what I want to hear!

I then grabbed finished movies (a few are still in process) and put them together into longer collections.

Here is one such collection:

Peace (in the names),
Kevin