Last week Sophie Burrows, from Into Film, came to work with the FDLT year 1 groups to introduce stop motion animation as a technique for engaging learners.
Sophie introduced the group to the basic principles that underpin stop motion animation: persistence of vision. We looked the work of Eadweard Muybridge, an early pioneer of photographic and moving image projection. We also looked at making thaumotropes as an easy way into to demonstrating this concept to children. You can read more about this and other optical toys here: thaumotropes.
Sophie introduced us to three types of stop motion animation:
silhouette (using a light box)
claymation (using plasticine)
and the free app Stop Motion Studio. After playing a little with app to explore its functions the students worked in groups to make a short animation using any of the techniques above. They then edited the films using the app iMovie which gave them the opportunity to add sound and music.
Making stop motion animations draws upon a huge range of skills, knowledge and understanding and can be a great opportunity to plan meaningful and engaging learning opportunities across the curriculum for learners. Here’s a padlet of examples to get you thinking!
Rico and Sophie, explaining how to use the equipment.
Over the last few weeks we have been exploring digital technology with FDLT Y2 students. We were fortunate to have support from Rico Lowson and Sophie Burrows from the organisation Into Film.
In the first session Rico and Sophie introduced animation and shared some ideas to help children understand were the process had come from. This included exploring the illusion of movement created by the ‘persistence of vision’. this can be explored through looking at the work of Eadweard Muybridge, an artist working with photography at its earliest stages, or making flip books, zoetropes or thaumatropes.
if you haven’t got a tripod, you can use a clear plastic file stand to hold the ipad still as you work.
Using digital technology we can now make a range of simple types of animation in the classroom. Rico and Sophie introduced us to claymation (using plasticiene), paper cut-outs and silhouette animations. In the sessions students used the apps imotion, imotionR and imovie to film and edit animations, and it is possible to use other equipment and software as well. It was very useful (for both students and tutors!) to have Rico and Sophie with us to show us examples and give us practical tips.
The MK group at work
using imotionR with imotion (through the wireless network) so that one ipad could remotely control another, eliminating movement when the ipad is touched,
ensuring that hands were kept out of the picture by having a line to stand behind when images were being captured and some agreed signals for when items could be moved around,
taking 5 shots for the opening or for any reading (credits) and then taking 2 shots before moving the items,
using the ‘onion skin’ on the app so we could see where each had had been, and move a little, or readjust if necessary,
going through and deleting any shots of hands in the imotion app, before exporting to imovie.
UN group at work
Across our groups at Park Campus, Northampton; Beauchamp College, Oadby and Milton Keynes we continued to work on this in another session, exporting them to imovie to edit. We created eight short animations to and they can be seen on this YouTube playlist
Reflecting upon the experience (both as observer and film maker) I was interested in the possibilities for learning inherent in the activity of creating a stop go animation. Teamwork, co-operation and negotiation was vital throughout the process. Creativity, having ideas and making them real, was apparent from beginning to end and there was so much practical problem solving. It was essential to be organised in both planning and filming the animation and there were numerous roles to perform at each stage. As adults with limited time in a taught session we produced enough of a film to get a sense of the overall process but I can imagine that going from the initial idea to the end product could be an absorbing and rewarding experience – and a film show on a big screen would be great occasion in school!
The Oadby group at work.
In Northamptonshire there is an organisation called filmnorthants who will screen films from children and adult film makers – this could be a great opportunity for class films. Another possibility is setting up a film or animation club after school or at lunchtime – many children are keen to learn how to do this and pursue it in their own time as well as at school.
The CPD session that Rico and Sophie led for us was a great springboard to having a go ourselves, first with their support and later on our own – you can contact them through Into Film. If you are a school who would like to book training for 15 or more staff, you can email CPD@intofilm.org or ask to speak to the CPD team on 020 7288 4520.