The anatomy of branding a stop motion video

Ok, so we’ve covered branding a pie and the front of your house (we’ve also branded a pumpkin, but don’t have a DIY for it)– but what about branding a video? What about those stop motion videos that all the cool kids are doing? I was curious. Very curious. Could I pull it off myself? There was only one way to find out.

First things first, this took waaaaay longer than I expected. Way longer. I figured I was committing to maybe 3-4 hours total. It probably took closer to 15. On the bright side though, it cost me less than $3.00, which was the price for a large bag of candy hearts…you know the ones with the little phrases on them? The ones that were so popular in middle school? The ones that could make your day amazing(First Kiss, Be Mine, My Hero, etc) or completely crush your entire world (No way, Get Real) depending on who gave them to you? Those candy hearts. (And as it turns out, they taste way worse than I remember. Maybe it’s my thirty-something palate, but wowser, they were disgusting. My 2-year old loved them though, so at least you have that going for you, candy-heart-manufacturing-company)

hearts

Step 1: Plan

I knew I needed a few things: a way of collating a whole bunch of pictures, some kind of stand to hold my camera in place that would also allow me to shoot directly down (read…not a standard tripod), and a way to make sure-from the beginning-that my final product would look good.

I searched the app store for “stop motion video” and found a bunch of free options. I downloaded them all and took a few minutes to use each app. Since I was going to upload this to Instagram, I knew I wanted an app that would let me record something square. I also knew I wanted to be able to adjust the speed that the frames cycled so I could make sure the final video would fit in the 15-second time limit. Lastly, I wanted something easy to use. I ended up with iMotion HD

Stop Motion 1

Now that I knew I would be using my phone to capture the pictures, I needed to find a way to keep it firmly in one place – since there was going to be so much movement in the video, I didn’t also want the camera to move. I ended up using a boom mic stand left over from my band days in college (shout out…Brooks Quarter Band), some clamps, and a couple of binder clips. Elegant? No. Functional? Yes indeed.

Stop Motion 2

Stenciling is a technique that I’ve used on my previous branding endeavors, and this wasn’t any different. I did need to consider a couple things: (1) the size of the paper the stencil would be on – I didn’t want to see the edge of the paper in the video frame, (2) how dark the ibby logo printed – I needed to be able to follow the stencil with the candy hearts, but I didn’t want it to be dark enough to see on the camera. And since I couldn’t see the logo through the camera, I used post-it notes to mark the outside edges so I knew where to line the stencil up.

Stop motion 3 Stop Motion 4

Step 2: Start snapping those pics

Once your set-up is done, it’s really just a matter of methodically moving the hearts one at a time and taking a picture of each movement – being careful not to move the mic/camera stand or the table (the paper was taped down, so at least I knew that wouldn’t move).

Stop Motion 5 Stop Motion 6 Stop Motion 7 Stop Motion 8

Options:

There are a couple of options when making a stop motion video – as with most things in life, one is easier and the other is harder.

The first option is to put a heart in place and then never move it. Heart #2 would just be placed immediately after heart #1, and then #3 and 4 and so on. So basically, you are only ever moving one heart at time. This will make the process go MUCH faster. It also won’t look as cool.

Option two, the harder and more time consuming one, is the way I chose to go – because I can never just make things easy on myself. In this scenario, every heart on the screen moves before every picture. This results in such a cooler look, so much livelier, that it really is worth the extra time…and patience. I’m almost 100% certain that George Harrison was talking about stop motion videos made with candy hearts when he wrote:

Its gonna take time
A whole lot of precious time
Its gonna take patience and time, ummm
To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it,
To do it right child
 

Step 3: Finish

Once all the hearts made their sugary way around the ibby logo, the iMotion app made is really easy to export (note…iMotion has in no way sponsored this, which is kind of unfortunate because I like their app a lot, and would love to do more videos like this and have them involved.  Hear that iMotion????  Have your people call my people, we’ll do lunch).  I tried it at a bunch of different speeds to see what felt right: 7 seconds was too fast, 13 was too slow, but I Goldicks-ed it right at 11 seconds.

After having the stop motion portion finished, I used iMovie to put our logo and a Happy Valentines Day message at the end.

Here’s what the final product looks like:

Overall, I used 188 hearts, took 107 pictures, and spent almost 2 work days on this 15 second video (this was my first one though, so theoretically, the next video I do should take less time).

So in summary, if you are committed to your brand enough to spend so much time hunched over a table moving tiny blobs of sugar and taking pictures until your neck and back decide that they’re no longer interested in being part of the rest of your body, then making a sweet, sweet (pun intended) stop motion video is for you!!

Happy branding.

-TJ

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