One of my goals this year was to work with my students to make a stop motion movie out of one of the stories they created. We had a story last fall that I though would be good but it proved too difficult (logistically) to make. With the year starting to wind down we had some time in our schedule to give it a go again. We talked again about stop motion and how it works.  I put a free but basic stop motion app on my students iPads called iMotion HD. It’s a very simple to use app that allows you to create stop motion movies.

The first couple we made didn’t turn out well at all… which is to be expected! As we revisited and revised they got better and better. (This was a perfect opportunity for us to revisit our discussion about “drafts” in writing.) The kids decided they wanted to do something centered around Star Wars. (One of the students just had a Star Wars themed birthday party and they were all about it.) I wanted to ride the excitement so we got right to it and started coming up with ideas for a plot. They came up with a simple story line and started working on story boarding. They then started on set design, as well as character, and prop selection. Once they designed the set they worked out the specific dialoge for each scene. They timed how long it took to deliver the dialoge so they would know how long each scene needed to be. We even went so far as to find out how many frames were needed to make 1 second of video. We then multiplied that by the number by the number of seconds we needed to make the scene. This gave us the number of frames we needed to shoot in order to have the correct scene time. This part was a bit of a stretch for them but I thought I’d throw it out there anyways.

Then came time to film. For this we used iStopMotion 3 by Boinx Software. I really liked this software for a number of reasons. First it has a really cool preview feature that allowed you to see what the next frame will look like before you actually take it. The software leaves the last frame taken up in the window and then superimposes the current frame on top so you can get an idea of what it will look like before you snap the shutter. This is also good if you accidentally bump or move a figure as you can see exactly where it was before and move it back in place.  The other feature that I thought was super cool was the ability to use my iPhone as a remote camera. We could set up the scene and use my phone as the camera as we controlled it remotely from my computer.

This is our workspace.

I think this may have been the most fun they’ve had all year. We worked on this for hours!! They loved every minute of it. As their skills improved throughout the project they scrapped a scene and chose to reshoot it because they felt they could do better. Very cool to see them taking such ownership.

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. Here is the movie without sound.

They learned a ton throughout the whole project and they are jazzed  up on story creation. Four or five classes have said they were going to add their own audio and share it back with us. We are very excited to see what they come up with. Please feel free to do the same, any and all ages welcome!

13 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Your project with the kids looks amazing. I find it really inspiring. I work with Year 6 kids and your post has made me want to explore a stop motion project with my class. Thanks for sharing.

    1. A 5th grade teacher I work with is starting a stop motion project with his kids. It’s such a good way to capture a story, no matter what the age. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. If you find the time to make one with your class please let me know!

  2. This is great! I did a short stop-motion project with our first grade students this year but it wasn’t this involved. I love the way your students were engaging in every aspect of the project and the opportunity students had to try and try again. Inspiration for next year, thanks for sharing!

      1. Yes, you can download from right from Vimeo but I think you figured that out. We loved the story of the “cupcake thief”, very creative! Thanks for participating. I love the text and images you added.

        My class and I watched the movie you and your son made. They thought it was very cool. Please pass that on!

  3. Dear Mr. Sheridan and students,
    Thank you for loaning out your incredible stop-motion movie footage to the world. I am a big fan of what you are doing there in your classroom. I read that you were wondering how others might remix your movie, and so I took you up on the challenge. I used an online site site called Popcorn Maker for the remix, and added some audio and text, and tried to make a funny version — about getting in trouble for stealing a cupcake.
    I hope you enjoy what I did with my version of your movie.

    Mr. Hodgson
    Sixth Grade Teacher
    Southampton, Massachusetts

    PS – It looks like you have tried a variety of different programs in your adventures with stopmotion. The program and app that I use now with my son is Smoovie. I’ve used different ones in my classroom, too. Here’s a movie that my second grade son and I made together, using a story that he wrote as our script:

    1. Mr. Hodgson, thank you very much for your comment and for taking the on the challenge to remix our movie. My students and I really enjoyed watching the version you made. We will be sharing your version, along with others at our next school assembly.

      Please pass on to your son that we really enjoyed watching his movie! Very cool that you two work together on projects such as this. Also, thanks for passing along the Smoovie recommendation. Cheers!

  4. It is super fantastic to see this work going on in the classroom, Mr. Sheridan and students! I read about your work on the Mozilla Webmaker community and I wanted to make a remix for you because I love what you’re doing and I love Star Wars.

    Here is a Popcorn video called “Are You My Star Wars?”

    I hope you enjoy it!

    All the best,
    Chad Sansing
    Humanities Teacher
    Central Virginia

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