Recently there have been many responses in a poll I created saying a brickfilm forum on Eurobricks (or at least some tutorials as starters) would be a good idea. This is what prompted me to take the time to write this.
Please note: I intend to create a few tutorials. Mostly software is expensive but I will try to demonstrate the methods involved in making a brickfilm with as much freeware as possible.
Second Note: Do not attempt a brickfilm if you have a short attention span - brickfilming is very tedious and requires a lot of patience, but the results (if done correctly) should be worth the trouble!
Part 1 - The Set-Up
This is a very important part of producing a brickfilm as it largely dictates the quality of the final movie. There are things to consider such as lighting, space, hardware etc. They are all very important things that require a decision as to how much you want to make your film making budget.
Lighting - is very important as it plays a huge role in the overall mood of the film. You should have a light for the backdrop (you'll see why later), the main subject, and one illuminating the whole set from behind AT LEAST. The more lighting the better. But remember, plastic gives off a shine so don't be discouraged if it takes you quite a few attempts to get the lighting right so as the subject doesn't give off a reflection.
Backdrops - The most effective backdrop is a solid, well lit green or blue peice of card board. That is what they film all of the huge blockbusters involving action-packed sequences that would be impossible to film in the real location. eg. Starwars. The way it works is simple. The subject is filmed in front of a solid colour backdrop. Then, during post production (editing) the backdrop is replaced with any image or video. This image can be CGI or real - it doesn't matter. The point is, using this blue/green screening method, you can defy the laws of possibility This process is really called charoma keying, but you'll learn how to do that in a later tutorial.
Power - This may seem simple, but trust me. There will be people that will get a huge desk all set up and then realise they have no where to plug their computer, lights etc. into.
Desk - The best place to make a brickfilm is on a desk. I tend to have my laptop on my left hand side as you will see in one of the images, my backdrops bluetacked (adhesive putty) to the wall and my subject and set bluetacked to the surface of the desk securely. I then have my lights positioned accordingly.
Computer - Yes it is obvious, but I just thought I will point out that you do need a computer for this.
Camera - I use a Logitech quick cam go! but other webcams can be used. Some still cameras can be used with other programs, but not the one used in this tutorial. When you are positioning your camera, ensure that you won't accidentally bump the cord or camera as it will make for a jumpy final product.
Frame Rate (FPS)
A fim is actually made up of a number of still images that are played back at a set rate per second. This "rate" is known as the frame rate, or FPS (frames per second)
The most common is 15fps which can produce a smooth image if animated correctly, however there are other speeds such as 5fps, 10fps, 12fps, 24fps etc. The higher the frame rate, the more images per second and thus the smaller your subjects movments must be to get a smooth animation.
This tutorial makes use of Anisazi Stop Motion Animator (SMA) which can be downloaded from here. You will need to download it for this tutorial.
Firstly, open SMA. By default it should be set to 15fps. If not refer to the SMA help menu for help on how to change the framerate to 15fps.
You should have your have your subject in the viewer. This means the camera is pointing to the subject.
Stand you subject like so:
in the first position of the movement. The screen should look like this.
Click grab. You now have one frame.
Next move your subject like this.
Your screen should look like this.
Click grab. You now have your second frame.
Then move the subject like this.
The screen should look like:
After your movement is complete, play it back in the SMA viewer, and save the avi video to your computer.
Edited by Captain Zuloo, 02 July 2009 - 07:58 AM.