Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Stopmotion Explosion {TOS Review}

My 10 year old son, Eli, had the amazing opportunity to review the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion. We received the full Animation Kit, which includes the following:
  • 720p HD video camera with internal microphone, manual focus and clip
  • 290 + page Stopmotion Explosion book
  • animation software, which includes sound effects and sample movies
Eli read the entire Stopmotion Explosion book and learned so much! This book is packed full of information, illustrations, and step-by-step directions. There are 17 chapters in this book:
  1. How Movies Work
  2. Animation Actors
  3. Creating Stories
  4. Building Sets
  5. Cameras
  6. Lighting
  7. Composition
  8. Animating
  9. Flight
  10. The Art of War
  11. Sound
  12. Video Editing
  13. Files and Formats
  14. Frame Conversion
  15. Sharing Your Animations
  16. Animating with DSLRs
  17. What Next?
As you can see, this book covers a lot of ground! It is great for a beginner - someone who knows absolutely nothing about making stop motion videos {like us}. This book walks you through all of the steps, starting with creating a story. I highly recommend you read the book first, as it will explain a lot of things you may not understand and keep you from making a mistake.

Eli chose to use Legos as the main "actors" in his movie. He also used Play-Dough to create a "blob" monster, which worked really well! There are instruction in Chapter Two on building your own Armature, which is a professional, all metal, stop motion figure. We didn't make one, though, as we decided that Legos would be simpler and easier to work with.

The first video that Eli made was about 15 seconds long and around 250 frames. We didn't add any sound effects, but I think he did an excellent job for his first time. Here it is:

Here is a move that he is still working on {hence the name, part one}. We hope to add sound effects later.:

You can see how much his videos improved over the course of a few weeks. He figured out the best lighting, camera resolution and focus, and how to move the characters. He even had the characters "throw" a cup in the last video. He also created his own background with colored paper and cardboard boxes, as opposed to the first video when he put a blue binder up for a background. He got so much better at not moving the camera and set when he had to move the characters, and he figured out how to make them do some neat things - looking like they were swimming for instance.

The camera they sent us is a nice camera for beginners. It was easy to focus {once Eli realized he could, haha} and very easy to clip to things to get a good angle. If you want professional-looking stop motion videos, I suggest spending more money on a better camera; but if your child just wants something to play around with and learn on, this camera will work just fine.

We played around with the lighting some, but didn't buy anything special. Eli found the lighting was best on our kitchen table by the window, with the overhead lights turned off. He could get a much better picture this way as opposed to when the harsh, overhead light was on.

The software we received included tons of sound effects, sample movies, and the Audacity program to record your own sounds. We have yet to add any sound effects to his movies, but we still enjoy making and watching them!

What We Thought:

Stopmotion Explosion has been a really fun activity for my son. He has enjoyed creating movies and showing them to his friends and family. The Animation Kit is a great investment at $79, as it includes everything you need. Creating these videos has really brought out the creativity in him! He has learned to make "sets", create characters, build plots and story-lines, and work the camera and software. This has been really good for Eli, as he needed a creative outlet. He has involved Mikaela, his older sister, by having her "grab" the frames and help build the sets. His younger sister and brothers love to watch the short videos he makes, and of course, they think he is just the coolest guy now!

The book is fantastic! We learned so much from reading the book and referred to it often while making these videos. The step by step directions are so easy to understand, with illustrations and diagrams and screenshots. There are even step by step directions to making your characters fight, fly, and more!

The only downside is that is that it is time consuming. It takes a while to build your set and get your characters together, even longer to grab all the frames while moving them slowly, and even longer if you choose to add sound effects. Eli could work on it about an hour a day, and then he wanted to go outside and play {the weather has been beautiful!}. This would be a wonderful activity for a rainy day or when the weather is really cold outside.

Eli's Opinion:

I asked Eli to give his opinion, and here is what he had to say:

"I really enjoyed Stopmotion Explosion. I like being able to make my own Lego movies. It's really fun coming up with fun, cool ideas. It's very easy to use, but sometimes the camera is a little slow. Sometimes the lighting doesn't turn out good, but it's still a really fun program to work with. I'm glad that I can keep making videos."

I think this would make an excellent gift for any child who is interested in stop motion films. Eli has had a blast making these movies! Thank you, Stopmotion Explosion!

Check out Stopmotion Explosion on Facebook and Twitter!

Stopmotion Explosion Review


  1. SO fun! My son is taking a stop motion class and would looove to have this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. How fun! I purchased this a few years ago for Brent. Hopefully they will start using it. Great review!

  3. We've had a local homeschool family recommend this kit to us and it's been on our Amazon wishlist for awhile. It sounds amazing!

  4. Love his videos! We had almost as much fun with the sound effects as we did with making the videos!!

  5. Great job on these films! An easy way to improve the quality would be simply taping the camera and LEGO baseplate to the table surface you're working on. This will prevent the camera and actors from sliding around while you work. :-)