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How to: Stop Motion Video

Oh, hello!

I often get a lot of questions on my stop motion videos so I wanted to do a quick BTS on this one. Hope this helps you dive into the fun (and tedious) waters of stop motion shooting.

All opinions + recommendations are my own. Some links below are affiliate links, meaning I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you.

01 - Setup

Use a tripod (an absolute must for a quality stop motion) and an arm extension to hover your phone/camera over your workspace (to adapt the arm for a phone, grab this guy). To be clear, I use my phone to shoot everything. There's no shame in it. Work with what you've got.

Connect a bluetooth remote to said phone/camera, and tuck it under your big toe :) I'm not kidding. All hands (and feet) on deck.


02 - Shoot

...and shoot and shoot and shoot. For this particular project, I moved the needle or yarn just an inch or so each time, which resulted in 168 frames. In another Instagram video I recently shot, I moved considerably each time and only used around 50 frames. There is no wrong way to do it, just different final effects.

And so on...


03 - Edit

I prefer to edit my images in VSCO first before assembling the video. You can of course apply a visual effect/filter to the entire video in most editing programs, but there's no guarantee it'll match your feed (hollering at all the perfectionists in the house). *Note that the above photos were already edited so you can more clearly see what's happening. Below you can see before + after. #thankyouVSCO



04 - Assemble

Bring all your images together in movie editing software. I use Adobe Premiere Pro. There are cheaper options out there, so don't reach for your purse before doing some research. There is an app called flipagram which will also work, you'll just be limited on some of your editing options. But free is always a great place to start. (There's a high chance you'll decide that all the work that goes into a cute little stop motion, is just not worth the cuteness. I literally hit that wall every time I make one and swear I'll never make one again. Until the next time of course).

  • The entire video is cropped to a 4:5 ratio.
  • I assign each image to play for 00:04 seconds.
  • I grab public domain music (do not grab your favorite song, even if you rightly purchased it. Insta will pull your post for copyright infringement).
  • Export as H.264 format



05 - Upload to Insta

No special tricks here. I do recommend spending a wee bit of time to pick the perfect cover photo rather than using the default. You're looking for something that both matches your feed, and inspires a bit of interest. You've only got a couple seconds to capture your followers attention, so don't waste it on a dull moment from your video.


06 - Be kind to yourself

Video making is exponentially harder than shooting a cozy "candid" (I'm literally air quoting that one as I type this because well, errr, Instagram is hardly known for being candid anymore). You'll inevitably make mistakes as you attempt to bridge the chasm that lies between your idea and your execution. So don't be discouraged if your first one doesn't land on the moon. Be kind to yourself for trying something new, and taking the path less traveled.