When my first picture book was coming out, I knew I wanted to create some kind of “book trailer.” I did my research. I looked around at a lot of the book trailers out there, and found some simple but wonderful ones, some fancy ones, and some real sleepers. I even took a Video Idiot Boot camp class with Katie Davis.
Enter my then eight year old daughter Anna, and my friend Xin Xin, an animator and designer now working for IDEO.* The three of us brainstormed about a short movie to capture the spirit of the book. I most wanted kids to go outside and just watch: What happens when the wind blows?
So, we went outside. There wasn’t much wind that day but we founds lots of cool stuff in my back yard. So, we went outside. There wasn’t much wind that day but we founds lots of cool stuff in my back yard like pieces of birch bark, dried grasses, colorful leaves, small rocks. We collected it all and then laid it out on the kitchen table.
OK. So now what? I know most book trailers show more pictures of the book (as Jan Christy does so well here), but I wanted to create something that kids could make themselves. I also wanted to capture the movement of the wind. Xin suggested we try stop motion. Brilliant! If you’ve seen the movies Chicken Run or Fantastic Mr. Fox, you’ve seen stop motion.
Here’s how it works: You take an object that you want to “animate.” It could be a clay model. A little red ball. A Lego figure. Click. You snap a photograph. Move the object a small amount. Click. Take another photograph. Move the object again. Click. Repeat. When you run the photographs together (using a stop motion app – I used this one), the objects appear to move on their own. Voila!
Why not try making a short stop-motion video with your kids or your students? (For more detailed instructions, see my Workbench). If you make one about a windy day, you can post it here.
If you need some inspiration, check out this Stop Motion classic:
Game Over (2006). Directed by PES. USA