One thing is critical in stop-action animation photography.  The camera must


not move until all of the shots of each action sequence have been taken.

This is especially important if some of the objects in the set (such as the

background or buildings) do not move.  In this case the camera must remain

perfectly still or the non-moving objects will appear to jump around when


the animation is played. So unless you want to film an earthquake sequence


keep your camera as "quiet" as possible!  This is not so crucial if all of the

objects in the set are moving since it will be difficult for the viewer to know
which movements are intended and which movements are accidental.
At the very least you should mount your camera on a tripod.  If you are

using a film camera, a cable release for the shutter will help a lot.  And a

film camera with automatic film advance would be the best bet.  If you are

using a digital camera or web cam you can use the image viewing software


to toggle back and forth between each successive frame.  Or you can simply


preview the animation to check for jerkiness in the non-moving objects

before sending the animation on for final editing.  To do this though you

should keep the digital camera or web cam hooked up to your computer via
its data transmission cable. That way you don't have to unscrew the camera

from its stand during the shooting of an action sequence in order to transmit

the images to the computer.

You can also use registration marks in the set that will allow you to monitor

the position of the camera during the shoot in case it is nudged accidentally.

If this happens the mark(s) will allow you to reposition the camera close to

where it was pointing before it was moved.



A piece of black electrical tape fixed to the backdrop of the set will serve as

a mark.  Or you can use the edge, corner, or other point of some non-moving

object in the set for a mark.  Simply make sure that the mark(s) is positioned

in the corner of the viewfinder (or LCD screen of a digital camera) before you

take each shot.  


The most accurate way to eliminate unwanted movement in your animation
is to edit the image frames in an image or photo editing software that lets
you layer the images on top of each other so that the non-moving objects can

be registered frame by frame with each other.  Then you can crop all of the

frames at once so that the frames will all be in register when they are

imported into the GIF animation program.  This procedure will eliminate
most, if not all, of this problem.

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