Stop Motion videos are popping up all over the place, and after playing with Stop Motion Studio app, I can see why! Stop-motion is a great way to create animated videos using objects or drawings instead of people. Students are able to exercise their creativity using stop motion, and it’s not as scary as starring in a feature film (well, for some students, at least– some students crave the camera!). This particular app, Stop Motion Studio, is free, although there are some in-app purchases that will allow students to enhance their creations, but students and teachers can easily use the free version and still create high quality projects.
How Does Stop Motion Work?
Stop motion is basically a string of snapshots that get played one after the other in video form, and it makes the objects in the snapshots appear to move. It’s just like the old-school flip books we used to make in elementary school, when we would draw stick figures jumping over rocks at the bottom of sticky-notes, and then flip through them quickly. Remember that? It was awesome. Students can draw their own pictures to use in the video, they can create clay figures, or they can use other action figures they may have.
Launching the app for the first time will bring up the Welcome Video. It just shows a little movie made with some small pieces of paper.
Starting a new stop-motion video isn’t entirely intuitive. Swipe the screen to the right, and a plus sign will appear where the starting screen of the other video was before.
Tapping the plus sign will open the camera along with some help text for navigating the controls that are on the first screen.
Once you’ve set up your materials, you are ready to begin taking your photos! Each photo is stored as a frame in the reel at the bottom. Tapping on any frame will reveal an additional menu which allows you to copy, move, capture, hold, select, or delete a frame.
If you aren’t sure what an icon does, tapping on the question mark will bring up the help menu.
Tapping on the settings gear at the top of the frame reel at the bottom brings up another menu that mades adjustments to the camera as well as allows the user to turn on the grid. This gives the creator an idea of how far their characters have moved and how far to go next.
Another feature of the Stop Motion app is the option to add sound. Tap on the microphone icon to record directly into the movie. The picture/musical note icon brings up a media import menu.
Tapping on the settings gear at the top of the frame reel at the bottom brings up another menu that allows students to make adjustments to the playback settings.
In order to create the 13-second video below, I captured about 60 photos. I don’t have any music stored in my iPad and I didn’t want to do a voice-over, so I exported the video to the camera roll and added the music in iMovie. This isn’t necessary, but it was easier (for me) than trying to do this in the app itself.
Common Core Connection
Like many of the apps I’ve featured on Come On, Get ‘Appy, this app is fabulous for developing the 4 Cs, which helps students achieve the Common Core State Standards. Students might use this app to create a story from scratch, or they might use it to retell a story they’ve read in class. If it were used in this way, students would be developing many of the reading standards.
In order to create a well-balanced stop motion video, students need to create a storyboard. This requires them to write their ideas and place them in sequential order. In some cases, they may even write a script. This would require them to be working with all of the Writing Anchor Standards that fall under Production and Distribution.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Additionally, students can use Stop Motion as part of Speaking and Listening Anchor Standard 5.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
There are so many ways to use stop motion (or any video, for that matter) in the classroom. Here are just a few examples.
- retell a story
- illustrate original narratives
- animated reader’s theater
- show the steps of a scientific process
- animate a P.E. concept or sport
- animate a math concept
- recreate a historic event
What Do You Think?
Many students are already using Stop Motion in the classroom. How have your students used it?