How to make a Lego stop-motion construction movie

Picture of How to make a Lego stop-motion construction movie
There are Lego stop-motion movies everywhere, but the ones my kids like the most are those where something gets built, as opposed to using the mini-figures as actors.  They were particularly inspired by the Youtube classic Lego Millenium Falcon Stop Motion, and wanted to do something similar. The following project details the creation of short (~ 30 seconds or less) movies that will probably require some computer help, but whose creative inspiration can come entirely from the kids: they can write, direct, execute and shoot the movie themselves.
Here's an example of a short stop-motion movie as an animated gif:  stopmotion

And here's an example of a longer build: 

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Step 1: Get the stuff and write a story

Picture of Get the stuff and write a story
You'll need:

- a completed Lego model, including all necessary actors (mini-figures)
- a computer
- a webcam (or a digital camera, preferably with a tripod)
- a photo processing program (we used Picasa)
- two kids, but one will do if you're prepared to help out

For this style of stop motion, the plot should include some reason for the construction of a Lego set. My boys love Lego Star Wars, and the Force provides a useful excuse as to why something is being magically constructed. Ask the kid(s) to write a few lines describing what will happen in the movie. Keep it simple! The above is an example script.

It helps if you then write down what has to be done, REVERSING the order of everything above. The "trick" that makes this stop-motion effective is the dismantling of a completed Lego set. So for the example above:

- The speeder reverses over the clones, who then jump to their feet. The speeder disappears backwards off the screen, then reappears (backwards).
- The clones back off the screen.
- Obi-wan and the others get off and back away from the speeder.
- Take apart the speeder, and put all the bits down in sight of the camera.
- Back everyone off the screen.
rhinogates2 months ago

Picasa works quite well, although if your on a mac, and don't have a Picasa account, then iMovie works quite well too. iMovie is a video editing software that comes with most macs.

PS: I will also try this great instructable soon!

makendo (author)  rhinogates2 months ago

Thanks for the tip. Good luck!

johnstat0006 months ago

Looks like your kids had a lot of fun!

That,s very cool
How did you know?...
So cool! Check this out
makendo (author)  porcupinemamma1 year ago
Very effective, thanks for the link
Lol guess who saw your instructable...
makendo (author)  justanothergeek1 year ago
Hey John. Small world!
gcanders1 year ago
Thanks for putting this up. I was meaning to find a tutorial on this, and you just delivered a great one to me. Thanks!
makendo (author)  gcanders1 year ago
yr welcome - have fun!
HollyMann1 year ago
ALSO - I am so happy to read that you can use picasa to turn these into a movie!!! :) WOW..i had no idea :)
makendo (author)  HollyMann1 year ago
Thanks Holly - yeah, I stumbled over that feature and it seems to work pretty well.
My kids also like the minifigure acted ones, but they tried it and were shocked to find how much work it was for a few seconds of footage. We have a whole new respect for the patience of people who do stop motion for real...
HollyMann1 year ago
This is really great!!! I have wanted to do this with my son for a while..I think my son likes the ones where there's a plot and people fighting or something! :) Thanks for this! It will help!
iceng1 year ago
Good One ! ! !
I love stop motion! I hope it never goes out of style!