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Kid Movie Making Ideas: 3 Question Interview with Daddy STOP MOTION Animator, Dave DiBartolo

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When it comes to Kid Moviemaking Ideas, Lego Stop Motion is super, super high on the list. Not only does it allow our little ones to generate fun stories that can be easily captured, but it also extends the creative thinking to constructing worlds, and engaging problem-solving skills in not only the child, but parent as well.

After fellow parent, David DiBartolo completed his Fine Arts degree he landed in the world of video, and now applies these skills at home with his son Drew. Below he shares some tips and tricks for parents looking to get into Lego moviemaking. Also, don’t forget to comment for free access to the film Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

See Also: 3 Question Interview with Professional Stop Motion Animator Alex Kobbs

How did you get into making Lego videos with your little one?

When my son Drew was four he got his first Lego set, a Star Wars spaceship of some kind. I noticed he had some really imaginative play with just the ship and the three characters that came along. I thought it would be a great idea to film him and capture some of the great stories he was telling. As his/our passion for Lego grew we began watching some really great stop-motion Lego movies on YouTube, and it was Drew who suggested we try to make our own.

Like any creative endeavor, it began very basic. I wanted to find a way to make it easy for a four/five year old to make his own movies as well as keep his attention so he doesn’t get board of the monotony of the stop-motion process.

We had no lights or tripod. I chose the brightest room in our house and suggested we shoot on my iPhone as appose to the DSLR cameras that many of the YouTube videos are shot with. As for a stop-motion app, we landed on the “LEGO Movie” app. It has some canned effects, stock music, and a pretty simple UI for a four/five year old to grasp.

Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.
Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.

Can you tell us a little about the Lego Stop Motion App? How easy is it to use? Do you need to know about Stop Motion and Movie Making?

The “LEGO Movie” app is pretty simple. It gives you the option to chose your focal point, turn on the flash on your phone, and use it as a light. An “onion layer” option so you can see the previous shot for a fluid sequence. As well as some pre-canned effects and music to help make the post-production of the video a little easier.

What advice can you offer parents looking to make Lego videos with their kids?

Start simple and plan out the story before going into the shoot. Drew and I have a “pre-production” meeting where I try to limit his grand ideas into a simple story. He has a great imagination and sometimes imagines stories that would rival most summer blockbuster films.

The best thing I learned is to give him rules to work within, otherwise he’d either get frustrated, or bored, and not want to finish – or we’d end up working all night!

I have him choose a hero, a villain and some supporting cast. I also have him choose one location and work the story around that location. I ask him what problem his hero has to solve. If the solution begins to get a bit too violent I ask him what his hero could do to avoid the violence. Asking questions about his story really helps hone in on the core of the story he is trying to tell. I let him create the story I just guide him in a positive direction.

Sometimes he gets really excited about his idea and I suggest we draw storyboards so when we go into filming I can refer to this so he stays on task.

As for useful equipment, using a tripod and/or a studio light help. The main reason is to get a level steady shot and try to even out the light, so the shadows don’t get too heavy.

Check out one of Drew and David’s films below.


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Kid Movie Making Ideas: 6 Easy Steps to Making Movie Magic

Moviemaking is great in the development of storytelling skills. Add magic to the mix and you’ve got an additional dimension for creativity to flourish. There are lots of kid movie making ideas out there, but the 6 simple movie making tips below are very easy to perfect and offer a nice final product once finished. The activity is also nice introduction to parents with little to no experience of filmmaking.

OUR RESOURCES: iPhone, iMovie App

Step One:

Set up the magic trick. Practice how it will work. You will need a pause or as little movement as possible where you plan to make the cuts in the video. In between these two sections is what I refer to as ‘behind the scenes’ – the part where you physically remove an item from the scene.

See Also: Moviemaking with Children: Making Things Disappear

Step Two:

Record video. The simple way to do this is record the entire thing without stopping. It’s important to keep the video still, especially during the places where the ‘behind the scenes’ action begins and ends. This will be helpful in editing.

Step Three:

Import entire video into a moviemaking app on an iOS or Android device. It might be wise to remove the sound if this is an option in your app, especially if you’ve been delivering instructions.

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Step Four:

Add a ‘split’ (cut), to the video at the end of the first section where the trick is set up. Then add another split (cut) to the end section where the trick is revealed. The ‘behind the scenes’ clip should be in the middle.

Step Five:

This is the part where you delete the ‘behind the scenes’ clip.

Step Six:

Review to make sure the first clip transitions into the remaining clip without it looking obvious – this is why it’s so important to keep the camera steady during filming. Do NOT add a transition or effect between the two clips, as this will draw attention to the edit.

Below is a behind the scenes look of our ‘The Conjurer’ video. This clip shows how we made Lucas disappear in his box, but it’s the same technique for making anything disappear.

There are many kid movie making ideas, but this is one of my favorites. Perfect these movie making tips and you’ll be on your way to producing your version of ‘The Conjurer’ in no time.

Make it look even more professional by adding music, a title, and if not too complicated a fade up and down from black at the beginning and ending of your videos

Export to YouTube, be sure to post the link below and share on our Facebook page.


 

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Moviemaking with Children: Making things Disappear (The Conjurer)

Lucas likes to perform. He occasionally likes to perform magic tricks, which consist of ‘Daddy, look at this ball… I’m going to make it disappear… Now close your eyes… close your eyes… close your eyes… now open your eyes! As you can imagine the ball has ‘magically’ disappeared. This trick was very cute at first, though I had to watch out for any breakable items that might suffer when the OBJECT ‘magically’ disappeared. Recently I made the decision to burst his bubble and challenge him to make something ‘really’ disappear using the magic of film.

This can be achieved a lot easier than you may think, using a mobile device to replicate the effects used in an 1899 film called ‘The Conjurer’, Moviemaking with Children has never been easier.

This black and white movie applies a simple effect to achieve the illusion that a person has magically disappeared and then reappeared in a different location. Most of the marvel is in the performance and while it was highly innovative at the time, the same effect can be quickly accomplished using something like the iMovie app. All that is needed is a trick, performance, and a simple cut and delete in post-production. As you’ll quickly discover, keeping the camera still is an important component, so a mini tripod like the Joby is advisable, and once you get the creative juices flowing you’ll quickly generate alternative variations to the magic, and might even develop comfort to experiment with some of the special effects available in your moviemaking app.

SEE ALSO:

Here’s our final version, which consists of two magic tricks, a slight tint filter to make it look old, and an upbeat jiggle.

Below is the ‘How to Video’ accompanied with a screen shot of the iMovie app for first time users. This is a great activity to open up endless possibilities for moviemaking with children.

It’s all extremely simple, and the variations are endless. So engage those creative thinking and get making! A competition in in the pipeline so get practicing now.

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COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to @dads4creativityor share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

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Capturing Wonders with our Mobile Devices: 3 Question Interview with Phoneographer Bea Leiderman

There are many cool things that parents can do with their children using smartphones – one of them is Phoneography – the capturing and editing of photos with a phone. In this 3 Question Interview, we introduce the OlloClip – a tiny camera lens that connects to a mobile device and helps capture unique perspectives of our world. When I talk about the potential of this little gadget with parents and educators, I usually go straight to a Bea Leiderman’s work, which is full of inspirational images that engage the curiosity and wonder that can be found in nature. Bea’s work has been shared in a number of her digital books that are available on iTunes. I asked her to provide some advice on Phoneography and how we might use this activity to engage creative thinking skills at home.

How do you take such awesome photos with a device like the iPhone?  

The iPhone has a very powerful camera. I started taking photos with the iPhone 4. Now I’m using an iPhone 6 and I can see the difference when I look through my iPhone library. Each new iPhone has produced crisper images with better color reproduction. But, my macro shots do have outside help. I use the Olloclip lens, and I have also gone through a series of those. 

It takes lots of patience to get macro shots in focus with the iPhone and the Olloclip. I have to get very close to the bugs. So, I have to employ one of two strategies with the fast ones. I either move faster than they do, or I wait and wait and wait until they get used to me and let me get close enough. Keep in mind that I have to get my lens about an inch away from my bug or everything will be blurry.

I find the best times to photograph bugs are early morning and close to sunset. The light is soft enough that it does not glare off wings, eyes, or shells.

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Copyright – Bea Leiderman

What ‘technical’ advice can you offer parents on how to capture that perfect image?

While I don’t take bugs out of their environment, I do work hard to make them look beautiful and interesting. Working with something as small as an iPhone gives me the opportunity to find a good angle. I like showing bugs’ faces. Some look silly, some look serious, and some look surprised to be having their picture taken.

Bug pictures are not for everyone. Still, I think taking good pictures involves many of the same principles regardless of what you are shooting. Make sure what you want to showcase is clearly visible, so look for an angle where the background is not cluttered with distracting stuff.

Copyright - Bea Leiderman
Copyright – Bea Leiderman

How might Phoneography help cultivate creative thinking skills at home?

“Put your device down and go outside to play.” Has anyone heard this? Devices and the outdoors are not mutually exclusive. When kids take pictures of what they find when exploring the outdoors, they create a record for themselves. They also have the opportunity to observe and explore well after the weather has turned stormy. Photography teaches kids to observe, to look closely. With a bit of guidance, kids can make beautiful art with a camera.

When I share my bug photos with kids, I call attention to details that might not be noticeable when they see the bugs in the wild. With pictures, kids can notice all kinds of details and take their time comparing, making inferences, generating hypotheses. Kids could even write a book to share their findings with people all around the world. An app like Book Creator would be the perfect tool for the task.

Little kids love nature and exploring. They are also fascinated by the “ew” factor. I have been writing books for kids that showcase my pictures and are written in accessible language with the hope that the books will encourage parents to explore with their children to help keep the love of science learning alive. I have a big camera with a big macro lens, but I do all my work with my iPhone and my Olloclip because these are much more affordable and easier to use. So, anyone can do what I do.

 Go outside. Find the beautiful bugs in your yard and other green spaces around you. You don’t have to go on a safari to a far away place to discover amazing creatures. Have fun and don’t stop learning.

Click here to view the full interview, or check out one of Bea’s four Digital Books, Calling Nature: Macro Photography and the iPhone, which shares more advice on how to go about working with Macro Photography with mobile devices and is available for free from the iTunes Store.


If you liked this article and interested in capturing video, check out another DadsforCreativity 3 Question Interview with Lego Animator, Alex Kobbs.


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Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to @dads4creativityor share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

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