Is this the first time you are using your DSLR camera for a stop motion animation or stop motion photography? If this is the case, then you need some essential information to set up your camera properly. Below, you will all the essential information you need to know about your DSLR camera for stop motion animation and photography.
Setting up your DSLR for stop motion
Use a tripod
Before you start shooting, always make sure to use a good tripod. While you may not want to spend the time on your tripod setup, this is absolutely essential for shooting stop motion images.
Of course, not all tripods are made equally, so it is important to do a little research to find a matching tripod for your camera. Obviously, you need a sturdy option, but also one that allows you to adjust when you need to.
With minor adjustments, you find that you have more control over the images you need to shoot. Of course, do not forgot to lock your tripod before you commence shooting.
- Adjustable-height tripod made of lightweight aluminum; weighs just over a pound
- 3-way head allows for tilt and swivel motion; portrait or landscape options
- Quick-release plate helps ensure fast transitions between shots
- 3-section, lever-lock legs for easy height adjustments; zippered storage bag included
- Measures 16.5 inches (collapsed); extends up to 50 inches
Use manual focus
Another big tip for animation shots is to use manual focus. For the best results, you do not want automatic focus to take over, as this could cause minor yet visible changes in your photographs.
The last thing you need is poor focus results when you are shooting a story with images. Instead, use manual exposure and focus for the best results.
Make sure lighting is good
Lighting is also important for stop motion. The lighting needs to be controlled as much as possible, but also needs to be constant to ensure consistency throughout your photographs.
Many animators are tempted to use daylight, but the differences in natural light causes serious differences between one photograph and the next. Where stop motion is concerned, you could ruin your project in a heartbeat.
It’s always better to use additional lighting(like an LED cube) to illuminate your subjects and remove any shadows.
Use a remote
Finally, you want to make sure your camera does not move when you take a shot. After all, it could cause problems with focus, positioning, and more. So, instead of taking the shot on the camera, always use a remote. Most camera brands such as Nikon and Canon have a compatible remote for their cameras.
How Can I Make My Stop Motion Better?
We won’t lie to you, making stop motion is a bit of a learning process. However, using the tips in this overview can help you avoid common problems and get you to master the skill in minimal time.
As already mentioned, one of the first things to do is seek a decent camera with a remote. You should also have the matching tripod, as these three things determine the quality of your stop motion overall.
Stop motion software makes life easier
Once you have the right equipment, you also need some software to help you create your story or film. Much like cameras, you can find software with variable prices, so you can find something to match your needs. There are also some free options out there that can help you get started.
When it comes down to using video editing software, it is a good idea to do a little bit of research first. Not all types of video editing software are great for stop motion. On the flipside, there are some options out there that are specifically designed for stop motion. Evidently, you will find that most of those software options provide the best results.
Let your creativity loose in your characters
Finally, unique subjects can transform your stop motion into a true masterpiece. While you could use basic still objects, you could also create your own clay heroes to rival Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run. So, why not play around with your own creativity and come up with some unique subjects for your film?
What Camera Should I Use For Stop Motion?
The right camera for stop motion is a common question from those who are starting with stop motion animation and photography. And there are plenty of choices too, but which provide you with the best images for your stop motion animation? Here are three of our favorite camera options.
Canon EOS Rebel T6
The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is in the medium price range, which means it is affordable for most stop motion enthusiasts. This particular camera is compatible with a variety of lenses, which comes in handy when you want to experiment with different types of stop motion images.
Another big advantage of the Canon EOS Rebel T6 is the settings it comes with. The settings are pretty straightforward, meaning beginners can easily navigate around the settings of this particular camera. Of course, these settings can be customized to meet the preferences for the images you are shooting.
- 180 Megapixel CMOS (APS C) image sensor and high performance DIGIC 4 plus Image Processor for excellent speed and quality
- ISO 100 6400 (expandable to H: 12800) for shooting from bright light to low light compatible with eye Fi cards Multimedia cards (MMC) cannot be used
- Built in Wi Fi and NFC connectivity provide easy sharing to compatible smart devices, select social media sites and the Canon Connect Station CS100 device
- 9 point AF system (including one center cross type AF point) and AI Servo AF provide impressive autofocus performance with accurate results AF Assist Beam Effective range: Approx 131 feet by 40 meter; Periphery: Approx 115 feet by 35 meter
- Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your compatible Canon camera into a high-quality webcam
One of the more expensive models for stop motion is the Nikon D500. This particular model comes with outstanding video shooting features and fast shutter. In addition to that, this camera is suitable for indoors and outdoors.
There are many reasons why Nikon D500 is one of the better choices for still images and animation shooting, but one of the main reasons is how it supports different types of storage media. Of course, this is a professional piece of equipment and consumers should therefore expect the price to match.
- 20.9MP DX format CMOS sensor. Viewfinder: Eye level pentaprism single lens reflex viewfinder
- Expeed 5 image processor; Monitor size: 3.2 inches diagonal
- 3.2 inches 2,539k dot tilting touchscreen LCD
- 4k UHD video recording at 30 fps
- Multi cam 20k 153 point AF system
Related: Use a DSLR as a webcam
Although some people prefer using webcams for their stop motion films, you can get much higher quality and better control over your shots with a DSLR.
The keys to using a DSLR for stop motion are to use a tripod for stability, external lighting for better photos, and a remote for shake-free shots!