9th April 2012

What the Heck is Stop Motion?

So you’re interested in stop motion to make your product demo video, just one problem…what is it? The technical answer is that it is an animation technique that uses objects moved in small increments between photographed frames, which create the illusion of movement when you place the series of frames continuously. Soooo that’s confusing. Another way to think of stop motion is: GUMBY!

Stop Motion

The Gumby television character is a great example of stop motion animation. We all remember watching this loveable cartoon have many adventures with his friend Pokey, and if you don’t remember, you may be too young to be reading this blog. Gumby is a popular example of stop motion clay animation, as well as an icon.

Stop motion actually dates back to the early 1800s (snore…I know, let’s fast forward). In 1975, a film called “Closed Mondays” actually won an Oscar, making it the first stop motion film to capture this award. Soon after, Disney began using stop motion with one of our favorite characters of all time, Mickey Mouse. Even the original Star Wars used this technique in the 1970s and 1980s. Even though computer animation continued to gain popularity, film-makers continued to use stop motion. The Night Before Christmas produced by Tim Burton in 1993 is a famous example of this technique used in feature films.

Stop motion has evolved since its origins; one thing that has improved this technique is the introduction of Adobe After Effects. This addition, before being very expensive but now relatively cheap in comparison, is used in the post-production of films and has gained popularity with time. Companies such as Toon Boom, a Canadian software company, now specialize in animation production software to facilitate the process of video production. Here’s an example of whiteboard using Toon Boom:

As you prepare to make explainer videos, keep in mind this technique which has been used to make numerous animated web videos in the past. Now hopefully you understand what this technique is, why it’s so popular, and how you can use it to make your demo video. Stop motion isn’t right for every type of explainer video, so make sure to talk to your production company before moving forward.

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About the Author

Anish hails from London and holds a degree in software engineering from the University of Manchester. Following his education, he worked for several years in the financial industry as a platform administrator before founding Revolution Productions in 2008. In addition to over seven years of video production, Anish is seen as an industry professional, adding his insight in publications such as VentureBeat, ReelSEO and Wistia.

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