Stop motion: A rundown

The art of stop-motion continues to fascinate and remains one of the most creative forms of animation. Today, some of the most adored and revered films have used stop-motion, from Tim Burton's 'A Nightmare Before Christmas', to Wes Anderson's 'The Fantastic Mr Fox'.

The beauty of bringing inanimate objects to life can be traced back to 1898, when the technique was experimented with to create the short film 'The Humpty Dumpty Circus', by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith. The film focused on a collection of toys and stuffed animals coming to life, one can see the film played a great influence on the children's TV series 'Bagpuss' from the 1970's. From the 1920's onwards, when the film industry entered into its golden age, the cinematic maestro George Melies used it for many of his films, and Willis O’Brien popularised it further in such films as 'The Lost World' and, most famously, 'King Kong'.

Still garnering an impressive amount of affection among cinema goers and general film enthusiasts, stop-motion is a perfect technique to make a video, whether it's something completely bonkers or even something a little dark and mysterious.

One of the benefits of stop-motion is that it's a technique which doesn't require an intense degree of learning, if you have a creative eye, then it's simply a matter of using your camera the right way in order to magically breathe life into the inanimate.  

The tools available to you range in size and technology; if you want to create something quick and simple, you can use your camera phone, many apps, like Vine and Instagram have the added ability to create stop-motion videos, which you can post out there and then. For something grander, however, then you'll need a DSLR camera and video editing software like Adobe Premier Pro.

 Stop motion animation

Writing in Photojojo, Jaclyn Campanaro gives a rundown of how to shoot and edit stop-motion animation: "Let’s say, for example, that you would like to make that sock move itself across the floor. Start at the beginning: place the sock somewhere and take your first photo. Remember, you want to use camera (still frame) mode, not movie mode.

Using a tripod and only moving your object will make it appear as though your object is moving through your frame. Keeping the object in the same general area in each frame by moving the camera along with it will make it appear as though you are travelling with the object. It’s up to you."

One the greatest aspects of stop-motion is that it gives you free rein to experiment and inject as much creativity as you possibly can into it. Finally, a stop-motion video is guaranteed to delight any viewer.