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:
And here's an example of a longer build:
Step 1: Get the stuff and write a story
- 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.