The Missing Meatball Stop Motion Animation Camp  

This past week at Little Tree Art Camp we had an imaginative group of kids who worked together to create a stop motion animation film.  The story they wrote was a comedic adventure about two aliens and a meatball.  The two alien archeologist have been searching for the missing meatball of harmony and are so excited that they finally found it but all of a sudden their meatball rolls off the table into space.  The meatball eventually lands on another planet that was dark, dead and gloomy until the meatball revives life to the flowers, river and animals.  The aliens need to retrieve the meatball but the butterflies on the planet don't want them to take it back since its brought harmony back to the planet. Lucky for them a tornado splits the meatball into two half pounds so everyone is happy!

Day 1

Little Artists created there story as a group (12kids) through a process called Story Mapping.  Story Mapping is a fun way  to write a story using everyday objects found around a classroom .  To begin a box is filled with enough tantalizing objects for everyone in the group.  The box is then passed around to each child so they can choose one object that sparks there interest.  A teacher  usually starts the story process using the object they drew to set the stage, "Once upon a time..blah blah blah...." then the next group member adds to the story using the prop they pulled from the box.  The props can be used  in the story for what they are literally or used symbolically.

After writing our story we pulled it apart into different scenes to make a story board.  A story board will work as a guide to shoot each scene. The boards are filled with a quick sketches of each scene and notes about characters facial expressions and movements, backgrounds and how we would like to shoot the picture; zoom, tracking shot, perspective or wide shot.  We then made our set design and prop list.

Day 2

Today artists made the movie sets, clay characters and props for each scene.  Then all the artists created their own "name animation" for the final credit roll.  This "name animation" was a great opportunity for each child to add their  personality to the film with music and sound effects.

Day 3 and 4

These days were spent shooting the pictures for the movie frames.  We used a Cannon 5D camera with iMovie.   Our i move was set to .1 sec which is 600 photos per minute!!  Our final movie ended up being over 8 minutes-Thats over 5,000 photos!!  Watching the quick playback of all the clips was very rewarding after all of the small clay movements we had to make.  The hardest part was being careful not to bump the camera ;) or movie props while moving our characters.

Day 5

We learned how to record our voices into imovie and also add theme music and sound effects.  This is another reason why imovie was a perfect program to use because it has a huge library of music and effects as well as a easy recording system.  We finished our flip books, movie posters, and other iphone animations.