Stop Motion Video in E-Learning

For our next project, we created a stop motion video. I used the Stop Motion Studio iPad app to create the video, and then used iMovie to add in the background music, title frames, and transition elements. I also used iMovie to edit the video color quality and crop a few frames that were off center.

Before I began shooting the video, I did a short run-through with my characters and props. This really helped me visualize the movements needed and locations for each character within the frame. After completing the filming and editing, I uploaded my video to Vimeo and adding it to my portfolio.

creative commons licenseThis work by Teresa Moore-MacBain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.teresamacbain.com.

Initially, I was overwhelmed with this project because I’m not able to draw, or craft, or even write legibly at times! My creativity involves computer based design and music. After considering several approaches, I selected a set of educational characters that I printed out. I also made speech bubbles and hearts to accent the film.

My dining room was transformed into a stop motion studio and I supplemented the room lighting with a simple garage spotlight. Using a simple, homemade iPad rig, I shot each frame using the timer function on Stop Motion Studio. This was a big help in keeping the camera steady and staying within the scene boundaries. After a few hours, and over 500 shots, I began editing within SMS. While the app was great for shooting the film, I found the editing features lacking in most functions beyond the basics. So, I exported the raw video and imported it into iMovie. I chose iMovie because I’ve used iMovie for other projects and I knew it would provide the tools needed to finish my project. After adding a title screen, end credits, and audio, I edited the colors and cropped a few scenes that were off center. All in all, the combination of Stop Motion Studio and iMovie worked well for this project.

Animation is a valuable tool in e-learning. It can be a unique attention-grabber that keeps your students engaged and interested. Animated characters have a license to be a little silly, which can help to break up lengthy training sessions or courses with a bit of humor. When students watch an animated video, it gives them a visual context to the concepts they’re learning and makes them more likely to remember what they learned long after the class is over.

By chunking content into fun, visual elements learning is not only fun, but it sticks with the student. It’s said that a picture paints a thousand words, then an animated video has the power to paint volumes of information. The animated video and stop motion video assignment gave me a first-hand understanding of two important instructional design tools.

Of the two types of videos we produced, the animated explainer video was more gratifying. Using a computer to design creative elements is something I’ve used for many years, and the animated video allowed me to create in a way that was perfectly suited to my skills.

The stop motion video was more of a struggle. I’ve never considered myself ‘crafty’ which created difficulty in developing the things needed for my video. Eventually, I found a compromise between using the skills I do possess (computer aided) and my lack of traditional creative elements is something I’ve used for many years, and the animated video allowed me to create in a way that was perfectly suited to my skills. The stop motion video was more of a struggle. I’ve never considered myself ‘crafty’ which created difficulty in developing the things needed for my video. Eventually, I found a compromise between using the skills I do possess (computer aided) and my lack of traditional creative skills. Once I found this solution, I had fun creating the stop motion video. This was my very first experience with stop motion video. I can’t say that it’s my favorite means to create animation, but I can see the benefits of this type of animation in e-learning.