My older son is working on a stopmotion movie for his eighth grade science class around the thought experiment of Schrodinger’s Cat (is the cat alive or dead, or both states at the same time?). The stopmotion element is part of a larger video project that he and his friends are working on for their investigation. But all of the equipment is set up: the camcorder, the computer, the background paper.
During a lull in our vacation this week, the seven-year-old brother asked if he could make his own stopmotion movie. He’s done it before, so I said, sure. He proceeded, with a little help, to make the following movie:
What is interesting is that he revisited some characters — The Pea Detectives — that were invented by his older brother years ago (first as a comic and then as stopmotion movies), and used the echoes of some old stories that he remembered for his movie. Here is part of his brother’s Pea Detective movies:
It reminded me of the power of siblings, and how often the experiences of our brothers and sisters shape our own ideas around the world. I’m not trying to get him to branch out a bit. His next movie, which he again did almost entirely by himself, left the Peas behind, but he is still clinging to the idea of “treasure” as the hook of all of his movie stories.
It was nice to see that the Google page is dedicated to one of the pioneers of Claymation Stopmotion — Art Clokey. The Google Search site features the Gumby Google Doodle today, and if you do a little clicking around, you can discover who is hiding in the balls of clay and other odds and ends. (Hint: Clokey was the brains behind Gumby and Pokey).
We do stopmotion in our classroom, and some years it is claymation (it all depends on the time we have to do the unit). If you want to know more about ideas around stopmotion animation for the classroom, you can check out my resource site: Making Stopmotion Movies.
Here are some of the stopmotion movies my students created this week. There was a mad rush yesterday to get as much done as possible. The one movie that did impress me, and would have been better with more time, is the remake of King Kong, using the black and white effect, and flashlights, and the scale of the figures. These boys had a vision, and I wish I could have given them more time. But, now that they know how to do it, I bet they will be doing stopmotion at home this summer.
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.
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),
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.
I experimented a bit yesterday with using the Jellycam software (which runs off Adobe Air) to create a short stopmotion movie, which I then moved up into Jaycut for editing, and then used FreeplayMusic to get a soundtrack. The results were pretty decent. And fun to do. My Hat is Moving!
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),
PS — If you want to learn more about stopmotion movies, check out my website resource Making Stopmotion Movies.
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.
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),
PS — If you are interested in stopmotion animation, I created a website with hints for teachers and students. Go to Making Stopmotion Movies.