Students Create Stop Motion Videos with Chromebooks, WeVideo and Ingenuity
While we are always inspired by the creative videos students and teachers share with us, sometimes it’s the amazing stories of hard work and ingenuity off camera that steal the show.
Recently, Illinois Hubble Middle School teacher Heather Adams challenged her students to create stop motion movies. Stop motion is a form of animation. One creates the appearance of continuous action by capturing an image of inanimate objects, slightly moving the objects and then taking another image. The process is repeated and then the sequence is assembled in WeVideo to create a complete scene.
Stop motion can be complicated because it requires a high degree of precision. It’s a challenge even in a professional studio. Yet Heather and her students took on this task without the benefit of fancy camera rigs and isolated sets. Armed with little more than their Chromebooks, WeVideo, and some foam core, the class faced and overcame numerous obstacles. Heather graciously shared her class’ clever solutions and secrets with us:
Students had to use our Chromebooks to complete the stop motion project, which limited them to the built-in camera of the device for image capture. The need for each group to have a space for photography that wouldn’t also capture the unrelated activity of a busy classroom became an immediate need. We developed two solutions: a vertical setup and a Chromebook stand.
The vertical setup is nice because you can setup a foam core backboard to create your scenes. It also works well if you are using vertical figures that are able to stand on their own. For example, there was a group of boys who created a soccer video and used printed images of a crowd of fans sitting in stadium seats as the backdrop.
We encountered a problem using the Chromebooks with this vertical setup when, let’s say, we wanted to show the sun setting. We had to physically “tack” the sun to the background so it wouldn’t fall and then move it a little bit and re-tack it again. We wanted to be able to set it on a horizontal surface and move it around. In order to do that, we needed to somehow mount our Chromebooks in a way that would allow us to use the camera app to photograph the paper on the desk. A group of boys and myself became engineers for a day while others worked on creating their characters and scenes. I got out some more foam core, and we went to work!
The Chromebook stand we created allows the students to easily move objects around on a flat surface, while using the mouse to quickly capture the images without much movement. Because we are not machines and could not create the exact same angle on each stand, we numbered them so that the students could select the same one every day.
There is a piece of 10” x 18” construction paper underneath so that the students are aware of their camera area. Once this is setup and taped in place, it’s easy to move figures around within the construction paper boundaries.
It does seem to get a little top heavy, so the students solved that problem by stacking their books on the back of the stand. If you don’t have a mouse, the front edge of the foam core is short enough to access the spacebar to take photos.
We started with a piece of 13.5” x 16.5” foam core.
Scored the top at 3”, 4” and 12.5”. We scored the bottom at 8”.
To secure the correct angles, we used stick pins and an extra piece of 3” x 8” foam core on the sides.
I also ran a line of epoxy down all of the “seams.”
The kids had a great time making their stop motion videos with WeVideo, and this Chromebook stand made it possible for us to photograph on a horizontal surface.
Do you have a similarly great idea for achieving amazing results in your classroom? Drop us a note. We’d love to hear about it and we’ll help you to share it!