Taking Up the Stopmotion Motion Remix Offer (from a Kindergarten Class)

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.
Cupcake Thief Remix

Go view the Star Wars Cupcake Thief remix

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).

Peace (in the remix),
Kevin

 

 

Time Chase Adventure: Lego Stopmotion Movie

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.

Peace (in the break),
Kevin

More Tinkering with Stopmotion Animation

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).

Peace (in a frame),
Kevin

App Review: Animation Desk

It’s no secret that I love stopmotion animation (See my website resource for teachers: Making Stopmotion Movies).

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.

There is a free version of the app but I shelled out the  $4.99 because I wanted all of the features. I think the free version is a good place to start, though.

Check out our short videos:

and

Of course, now I realize that I had better do some app updating on my stopmotion website resource. I don’t even have an App area there.

Peace (in the stopmotion),
Kevin

 

Step Back Stickman: Using Stykz for Stopmotion

Mac Interface

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.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Peace (in the dance),
Kevin

 

Digital Writing Month: The Zombie Factory Movie

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.

Peace (in the movie),
Kevin

A Little Claymation Moviemaking in the Morning

My 8 year old and I made a short claymation video (13 seconds!) this morning, using some new software (Smoovie) on our Mac. I’m moving away from my old freeware on our aging PC laptop that works but can get tricky (you shoot in one software and then need to shift to another, and it can be choppy at times). Although it cost me a bit ($30), Smoovie was simple to learn and easy to use and quickly uploaded to YouTube (and it seems like there is an iPad version). Already, my son is curious about number of views he is going to get.

 

Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

 

Stopmotion, 3D Printers and the Making of ParaNorman


I’m a sucker for “behind the scenes” of stopmotion movies, and the making of ParaNorman is interesting because it is one of the first (according to Wired) to use 3D printing technology to create facial expressions for the stopmotion characters.
Peace (in the frames),
Kevin

Remembering My First Stopmotion Movie


I was in my YouTube account the other day and noticed that there is now an option to move all old videos from the former Google Videos into YouTube. Nice! I thought I had lost a lot of those movies (I used to use Google Videos all the time). Here is the very first stopmotion movie I created, many years ago now, that uses an original song and an art figure that is trying to dance. It’s still fun to watch (for me anyway).

I remember all the logistics of trying to get the camera right, and learning how to use the capture software and then MovieMaker. Luckily, a friend from the National Writing Project — Tonya Witherspoon — was a good mentor, and it was her enthusiasm that got me started.

If you are interested in stopmotion moviemaking, I have a website resource that might be handy for you and your students.

Go to Making Stopmotion Movies

Peace (in the motion),
Kevin