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2018 - Term Three - Week Six - Stop Motion

Welcome to spring everyone! 


At Stem Club a few weeks back we watched a cool music video by Wellington based musician Nigel Stanford.  He incorporated a pile of sound based physics demonstrations into his track “Cymatics”.


Check it out:



This week we used one of the tricks in this video to start a discussion on video frame rate.  It turns out that if you point a video camera at a stream of water interesting things happen when you vibrate that stream at or around the frame rate of the camera.


We created this setup using a Subwoofer speaker, a small motorised pump and a tone generator.  Our video camera was operating (as most do) at 25 frames per second so we were using frequencies from around 23Hz up to 27Hz.  When we looked at the video feed from the camera the water seemed to freeze in mid air and at times even flow backwards.  Awesome!  


If just so happened this tied nicely into our main activity of the day which was Stop Motion animation.


Everyone had their own Stop Motion rigs (built using webcams) as well as a plethora of materials to choose from.



We were using a piece of software called iStopMotion (  We’ve found It has a nice intuitive interface and just the right amount of flexibility.


In no time at all we had people telling their stories 1 frame at a time.

It was really interesting seeing all the different styles and approaches being used… 

 …and I was really impressed with how well all the groups concentrated on the task.  The older groups especially were so heavily engrossed in what they were doing we could just leave them to it… 


And the work that came out at the end was fantastic.  Here are a couple of stills…



Towards the end of each session we played a little clip that showed Ardman Animation in the UK doing some of their claymation work.  These are the people behind the “Wallace and Gromit” series and the film “Early Man” from last year.


Apparently on a good day they will shoot enough for about 8 seconds of footage.  I can report that we far exceeded that with all our groups!


Now we’re just in the process of collecting together everyone's files.  We’ll get them edited together shortly so that our animators can share their work with friends and family.