Last week I was in my car driving to work and listened to an interview with author John Tammy. He has a book out called “The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job.” The gist of the book is that as the economy continues to develop, jobs that wouldn’t have been practical today will become the norm of tomorrow.
This is because automation will eventually give more people, even more, leisure time. Thus we will need more entertainment. And you can already see that with the rise of custom content on places like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.
If you have ever wanted to create a movie, then an easy way to do that is with LEGO stop motion.
Stop-motion animation is created by taking a series of photographs. In each picture, there is a slight change. This could be the movement of a figure’s arm or a vehicle.
The playback result looks like the characters and vehicles are moving.
In LEGO stop motion, you create animations using your mini figures and LEGO bricks. It is much easier to do than traditional stop motion which required manipulating clay models.
And if you do a quick search on YouTube, you will find thousands of them. And it’s a hobby I also enjoy as well.
But a common beginner question is which camera to use. And we will answer this question in this article.
The Best Camera For Beginners
Here is the best news of the entire article. The best camera to start with, you most likely, already own. And based on my Google analytics, you’re most likely using it to read this article.
It’s the camera on your smartphone.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an Apple or an Android. Modern smartphone cameras are capable cameras. And by far the easiest to get started with. To be candid unless you are going to turn this into a profession, they are likely the only camera you will ever need.
I would also point out that Apple continues to make the iPod Touches. These look like iPhone but don’t have actual phones. I’ve considered buying one just to use for my photo and video. This is because I take so many photos and video that I hate having to constantly setup my phone. Which includes having to take it out of its case to fit into my stand.
But I mention it here because if you are making films with your kids and don’t want to give them your phone to do this, you can invest in one of the Touches. I don’t know if there’s anything a Touch device in the Android community.
My Example Video From Facebook
Here is a movie that I have made using nothing more than my iPhone:
The Best Webcam for LEGO Stop-Motion Movie
If you don’t want to use your smartphone camera, then the next best option for beginners is a webcam.
You do not want to use the webcam built into your laptop. It’s a quality camera but you won’t be able to position it properly.
I am a fan of the Logitech C920. And it’s in the table above. Because it’s affordable, versatile and easy to use. It has been around for several years and continues to be a well-regarded camera.
Another benefit of the camera is that it has a tripod adapter. So you can mount it on a tripod which will give you the most control over your shots.
If you get serious about making LEGO stop-motion movies you will want to invest in a tripod. The basic ones you can find on Amazon or Walmart work just fine. And you will also want to get a slider which is a piece of equipment that makes it easy to do panning shots.
Just make sure that you put your laptop in a steady place that the webcam USB cable can easily reach.
Also when using the webcam to take photos, make sure to disable the automated focus and white balance feature. Otherwise, you can result in poor looking films.
The Professional Digital Camera
The next step up is to get a professional digital camera. The type that has interchangeable lenses and enough settings to make you dizzy.
We still have one of these gathering dust in our cabinet on the table that holds our television. We recently got it out to take photos of our niece’s college graduation. When I started the camera up, I realized the last time we took photos with it.
When my niece graduated high school four years earlier.
I don’t think you need to use a professional camera like this to make brickfilms. In particular, since most of us are only creating these as a hobby. I can’t see a reason to invest the money in one.
And I’m not even going to pretend I’m an expert in choosing a camera. The one above is just the best deal I saw on Amazon.
If you want more help in picking a professional style camera, I would check out the team at Digital Photography School.
How To Make A Smart Phone Stand
It’s impossible to take the photos and do the work to move the figures or bricks to create the movie. You want something that keeps the phone safe and secure. And more important steady.
Luckily, you already have the equipment you need. And it’s just plain ol’ LEGO bricks. Take a base plate and put some bricks together so that it will hold up your phone. The should be 1 stud apart. And you will have to take the phone out of its case.
Here’s what mine looks like:
The Most Fun First Movie
The best stop-motion film to start with is animating a LEGO car
This is easy to do.
Start by building a LEGO car.
Then get a stop motion animation app. I like this one for the iPhone. I don’t know anything about the equivalent apps for Android.
Put your camera in your stand. And then take a photo of the car. Move it slightly. And take another photo.
The more space between photos, the faster the car will look.
Here’s one I made:
And if you want a guide to help you, I really like this kit