Getting started with stop motion animation is really quite simple. Just make sure you have the right equipment from the outset and you’ll save yourself so much time and hassle.
Not sure what kit to invest in?
Below you’ll find my essential stop motion animation kit and also items that are ‘nice to have’ in your stop motion animation toolbox.
Let’s get started.
Get Started with Stop Motion Animation: Equipment
Camera – I use a Canon 60D DSLR but you can also shoot stop motion animation on your smartphone camera too.
Tripod – as essential as the camera. Without a tripod, your stop motion video animation will literally be all over the place and the effect won’t work. You’ll also need a boom extension arm if you’re creating overhead animations. I’m currently using the Manfrotto 131DB Horizontal Double Head Accessory Arm.
Remote control shutter release – even touching the camera to take an image can cause the camera to move and potentially ruin your stop motion animation. A remote or tethered shutter release is a useful addition to your kit. I use the VILTROX JY-710 2.4GHZ Wireless Remote Shutter Controller.
Editing Software - I use Adobe Premiere Pro but started out using iMovie which is free for Mac users and perfectly good for stop motion animation.
PC users can choose from other free video editing programmes such as Windows Movie Maker (although I haven’t tried this program myself).
Really Nice to Have Kit
A Lens Band (for overhead shots) – I only recently discovered this simple but effective piece of kit.
Heavy lenses on DSLR cameras can ‘creep’ meaning they’ll extend or zoom unintentionally. I’ve shot an entire sequence before only to discover the lens on my camera ‘zoomed’ in slightly. So frustrating!
The lens band will keep the camera lens in a fixed place. I use the Lensband Zoom Lens Creep Reducer.
Lighting – natural light from a window will do a grand job at lighting your image HOWEVER you’ll be amazed at how quickly light changes.
The subtle changes in light will result in flickering on your stop motion animation. Therefore I recommend using a continuous lighting kit. I use the 50x70cm Soft Box Photo Studio Set.
Prop Kit Toolbox - keep a toolbox with useful bits and bobs; the most important being plasticine for keeping things in place.
I also have a selection of skewers, pliers, wire (in a variety of gauges), a ruler, pencils, tweezers, cocktail sticks, medical gloves (essential for avoiding finger prints) and foam pads for propping things up.
Backgrounds – gather a selection of coloured paper backgrounds (minimum 150 gsm, but preferably 300gsm to avoid getting creases), painted wood or photo boards.
Other props, products and paper – I make many of my props using paper. I also love scouring the pound shop, craft shops, car boot sales and charity shops for interesting props to use in my animations.
Craft Supplies - keep a variety of paint and spray paint for decorating your stop motion animation props. Also string, cotton, real/faux flowers, pencils and pens. All fantastic if you want to create your own props or repurpose old ones.
Learn about the importance of storyboarding for stop motion animation in the post: Get Started With Stop Motion Animation: Storyboarding