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Nathan Midgley
November 8, 2013

3 things we learned making a stop-motion Vine

When we did Tnooz’s ‘startup pitch’ Q&A, they hit us with an extra challenge: make a Vine clip that gives a creative take on what the company does.

Content isn’t the easiest thing to depict. We don’t have a physical product or an interface to demo, and didn’t want to resort to a ‘showreel’ of work – Vines composed of unconnected images can make six seconds feel like a very long time. It’s instructive to see how much narrative still matters in such a short and compact format.

After a bit of thought and a lot of trial and error, we came up with a stop-motion clip that starts with ‘just’ a blank postcard:



While Aardman can probably sleep easy, we did learn a couple of things in the process of putting the clip together:

1. Use marks

If you look closely you’ll spot tape beneath and to the left of the postcard.

There are a couple of layers there, ensuring the postcard goes back into the same position after each new word is added.

It’s also worth having some cotton gloves on when working with paper or card, as the material takes on dirt easily and can stick to fingertips, which makes it hard to position.

2. One ‘story’ at a time

An early version brought the travel props in simultaneously with the text, so that one prop appeared with each new word. It was confusing. You didn’t know which of the two elements to follow.

The final version gives viewers a chance to read the text first, and brings in the props afterwards.

3. Tap, don’t press

Vine’s interface makes you want to press and hold until you see feedback from the progress bar. Unless you have incredible muscle memory, that approach will lead to inconsistent frame lengths.

Instead, use a single or a double tap. The standard frames here are doubles. This also makes judging longer frames easy: we wanted to linger on ‘Just A Postcard’, so that frame is six taps instead of two.

Ignore the progress bar while you’re doing this. It will jump around. You haven’t lost frames or shot too much – just keep at it and you’ll be rewarded with a fairly smooth animation.

Nathan Midgley (@nathanmesq)

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