I read about stop motion photography at Digital Photography School. After that I had to try it. There is another reason why I wanted to do a trial run. I have booked my trek to the Everest Base Camp in May and I want to try this out with my trek pictures. So doing a trial run made sense.
I selected a little more than 500 photographs in a separate folder and opened the Windows Movie Maker. By 200 photographs I was lost, didn’t know what to do with the sequence. Deleted all the pictures.
So in the next iteration I numbered the photographs 1 to 500+ in the sequence I wanted them to get displayed. My feeling is a natural selection like a trekking route would work better rather than the random pictures I selected.
By now it was late in the night as I was doing all this while keeping my daughter entertained over the weekend, my husband is trekking these days. It was finally her bed time. And on cue she took 45 minutes to fall asleep. I think the culprit was the fan speed, it was too high and she loathes using a cover. Once I reduced the fan speed she fell asleep in the next 3 minutes. Now I had all night with me to play, after all it was a weekend.
I started with editing manually. I am quite tenacious but the finger I was using to drag pictures on the timeline to 1/13 of a second or so, developed a small blister after a while. Still I reckoned that there were 200 odd photos to go and it felt within reach. Then it happened. The program hanged and crashed. They offered to recover something on starting again but it was taking so much time that I canceled it.
So I was back to square one. As I said, I am persistent and I started again. Around 250 pictures and with frequent saving this time, the end result was the same, the program crashed again. By now I was desperate for some batch edit skills. So I Googled an learned how to compress 500 or so pictures at one go. It took some time but the pictures got compressed alright. I think the file sizes were too heavy to be compressed successfully, with all those multi megapixel cameras, each file is many MB.
I should have at this stage looked for batch edit in Movie Maker as well. But that was not to be. As I said I do not mind doing repetitive things again and again. But this time as I was approaching 100 pictures I noticed that it was taking increasingly longer to save the files and it was not a good sign. So I decided to save those 100 pictures as a video, do this for every 100 picture or so and try to merge them later in a single video. But when I started with the next 100 files I realized try as I might I was not able to compress the pictures at the same speed 1/13 of a second.
By now it was approaching 4.00 am. I was still not willing to give up. So I played around in Movie Maker tools section. I selected all the pictures in the tray, went to tools, options and advanced. With that I could select the picture duration and transition duration for all the 500 pictures. There I was. I selected .125 as picture duration and .50 as transition duration and hey presto all my 500 + pictures were added to the timeline after a bit of groaning and creaking on my laptop’s part.
After that it was a breeze. I saved the movie, it was past 4.00 am but I had my movie. Of course at first look I hated it. Then I crashed. In the morning my daughter told me she was up and awake and she is going down to Nani-Nana (grandparents) and I blissfully slept more.
And here I am again writing in bits and pieces. I started it around 2.00 noon and I am able to complete it while she is taking her late afternoon nap.
The three key lessons I learned in making this video is-
1. Batch editing tools are my best friend if I want to try out something like this.
2. People say it works well if you have a central focus. There are videos which work even otherwise. But I need a series of pictures that will help depict motion. 3 pics give some sense of motion, 5-7 work out even better. I have not experimented with more, so can’t comment as of now.
3. Music makes it come alive. I have seen this without music and I was so disappointed that I named he video a flawed attempt originally. Only after adding music in Youtube I changed the time from flawed to first. Music makes that kind of a difference.