Stop-Motion Animation using iPods

Design brief given to students

At our school’s recent Festival of the Arts (a bi-annual two-day event where we are able to work with a small group of 10 or so students intensively on an art project), I tackled Stop-Motion Animation.

Having used plasticine last time I did it with students with varying success, I was keen to try a slightly different medium – as well as contribute meaningfully to the overall Festival.  With a school song which had not been re-recorded in nearly thirty years (originally recorded on a tape, no less – complete with that “oops” moment during the second verse where someone, sometime accidentally pressed record for a moment), I felt a modern update was on the cards.

Along with our talented chaplain and another teacher, we laid down new tracks for the updated version, and arranged for the school choir to add their voices.

We decided to film a music video clip based around a school day in the life of a “Goollelal” – the Swamp Hen which forms part of our school emblem. Luckily, I have a very talented parent who was willing to draw the necessary “Swamp Hen” images for the stop-motion – because my draft efforts were absolutely appalling!

With three groups of three students (ranging from Year 4 to Year 7), I decided to use iPod Touches to record the animation – using the Frameographer App.   After half a day of scripting, storyboarding and on-the-spot training, I unleashed out intrepid groups around the school to film.  One of the problems I did have was solving the iPod Touch tripod issue – funding was tight, and I didn’t want to purchase expensive tripod connectors for one job, so a quick trip to Bunnings and I was able to make iPod mounts for around $5 each.

Students filmed their allotted sections, and improved in their skills as they went.  When you watch the video, it will be clear which scenes were filmed on Day One, and which were filmed later on Day Two. Rather than clean them up or re-film them, I felt would be valuable for the students to see the differences for themselves.

As students completed each scene, they uploaded it to my computer, where I simply dropped the pieces together in iMovie.  A completely student-created piece, and one they can be proud of!

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