How to build a DIY stop-motion animation rig.png

One of my favorite genres of explainer videos is the stop-motion animation/stop-action animation video. First made by Common Craft for explaining Internet concepts, then used by Kathy Maister’s Start Cooking video podcast, these have been a select part of video online for over a decade:

The tough part about doing the stop-motion animation on paper video well is positioning the camera directly over the drawing area. You can buy fairly expensive rigs and light tables built expressly for this purpose, but if you’re doing it for hobby purposes rather than professionally, you may not want to invest hundreds of dollars in one. 

To build your own, all you need is some PVC, a 1/4-20″ bolt, and a selfie stick camera mount. You’ll also need a power drill with a 1/4″ bit and a PVC pipe cutter. Finally, you’ll likely want an inexpensive desk lamp. For this project you’ll need approximately 20 feet of PVC – I went with 1/2″, but use the diameter you like. If you anticipate setting up a heavier camera than a smartphone, you may want 3/4″. You’ll need 4 corner pieces and 4 T joints of the same diameter. 

stop motion animation

Begin by measuring the height at which your smartphone’s video camera captures a sheet of paper. Be sure to have video mode on! Photos have a different distance on some smartphone models. Once you know the height, add an inch for safety and cut four legs. Attach the corner connectors to the legs.

The length and width of the frame can be whatever you want them to be; I’d recommend you choose something around a tabloid sheet of paper size, 11″ x 17″ so that the legs of your construction don’t show up in the video.

Cut the length poles in half and attach T-connectors to them:

stop action animation.jpg

Begin to set up the upper frame:

IMG_1757.jpg

In one of the middle T-connectors, drill a hole through the center to accommodate the 1/4″ bolt:

IMG_1759.jpg

Next, cut enough PVC to add three small segments between the middle two T-connectors. This will accommodate a light and the smartphone mount, or alternately provide a place for a tablet to rest:

IMG_1760.jpg

Insert the bolt through the T-connector and then attach the selfie stick mount:

IMG_1761.jpg

Add the light, and your stop motion table should look like this:

IMG_1774.jpg

That’s it! It may take some trial and error to get the pieces to the length you want them to be, which is why I recommend you should buy 20′ of PVC, in case you mess up a few times. The results of the video are at the top of this post, shot using Apple’s built-in time lapse feature.

Build your own stop-motion animation rig and make your own stop-motion animations!


If you enjoyed this, please share it with your network!


Want to read more like this from ? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here


Marketing Blue Belt
Get your copy of Marketing Blue Belt!

Order your 2017 Marketing Planning Framework
Download your 2017 Marketing Planning Framework!


Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This
Subscribe To MyNewsletter

Subscribe To MyNewsletter

Enjoyed the content here? Make sure you never miss anything important. Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter, Almost Timely!

You have Successfully Subscribed!