2. Put together a storyboard or shot list.
Filming a stop-motion short can take many hours. The most efficient method of production is one that involves lots of planning ahead. Create a storyboard or shot list of the scenes you plan on shooting. This way, you know what’s coming up in the story and how you want your characters to move to tell the narrative.
3. Get your tools together.
It should go without saying that you’ll need a camera and a tripod to shoot your film. You should also consider the following equipment:
- Additional clay for fixes and new models.
- Scene backgrounds.
- Lights to illuminate your characters, creating depth and shadow.
- Shaping tools. These are for fine movements that fingers can’t quite get to.
- A table or flat board on which to base your scene.
4. Set up your scene.
Put your background and scenery together. Think about where your story is set. If you set your tale at sea, then shooting the film against your bedroom wall isn’t going to convey the sense that the characters are on the ocean. You might even want to make your scenery items out of clay, too.
5. Start the shoot.
Set up your camera and lights and play around with the starting positions of your figures until you’re happy with the framing and lighting.
You’ll want the camera settings, such as ISO and aperture, to remain static. Automatic adjustments made by the camera, such as adjusting to changing light, can lead to frames having a different look and feel.
Lastly, claymation requires a slower frame rate than traditional films. Choose what frame rate you want to shoot at depending on how smooth you want your picture to look. Aim for somewhere between 12 and 24 frames-per-second (fps).
Once you’re happy, hit record.
6. Shooting frame-by-frame.
For stop-motion, you’ll be shooting frame-by-frame so that you can adjust your characters poses for each new shot. It’s like taking a series of photos that you’ll stitch together later.
Make sure your character adjustments are minor. Lots of small movements, when stitched together in post-production, will seem much smoother than a few, larger, more jarring ones.