Hello people who see this!

I've recently built a set for my first stop-motion short (very excited for it :)))) and I need advice on how to photograph it. I was hoping I might be able to get away with using my Pixel 2 (Google phone) which has a 12 mp camera, but I think I'll need something more robust. I suspect I'll need to rent a camera and possibly lens capable of getting the necessary clarity. Can anyone offer guidance? Thanks in advance for the help!

PS - The set is about 12 inches wide by 8 inches deep. I've included a photo of the set.

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Hi Zach,

Nice set! It looks cool. Your set is pretty small, and getting a big camera in there may be really limiting. you need a small camera and a way to anchor it to the set so it doesn't move. The google phone may be your best bet (with some caveats I'll go into). 

I started off in the same boat as you, kinda, in that I was avoiding getting a DSLR camera due to its perceived cost, (that's the budget question) and started shooting with a Logitech webcam. I liked that it was small, light, and had some zoom control in software. It had a standard mount that I could use a tripod or just screw it to things.

All was well until I had to do some compositing in after effects. Yikes, the compression was horrible and I couldn't use the green-screen tools I wanted. Luckily, I found that out early on in the production. So I had to abandon the webcam.  I don't know what the Google phone does in terms of its compression but I think you should test out what the output looks like. If you don't need to composite and just shoot your movie 'flat' without layers, then perhaps it will work for you. But you will need methods of tying down your camera so it doesn't move.

The 'goal' of the movie: If you are just getting started, not too seriously, and want to do a short film for fun, then the phone may meet your needs. 

If you decide to go for a DSLR like I did, choose a cheap camera body that works with your capture software choice. I found a used Canon Rebel EOS T3 on ebay for $180 with a kit lens, you may be able to save money by borrowing a body from a friend, or if a photographer friend has upgraded and has an old one around, you can make a deal.

If I were you I would only rent a camera to test out the benefits that a more robust camera would offer you. I called a place local to me and they rent for $50 a day, so that can add up quickly (your camera stores probably differ)

Good luck and I hope this helps!

Thanks for the advice, Geoff, very helpful!

Interesting looking set.  I like the style.  Cool trees.  But wow that is small.  Your characters must be tiny.  A lot of animation puppets are 6 to 10 inches tall, and those would tower out of frame.  My main advice is to make sure that everything is firmly glued down so that if you accidentally bump something you don't have twitching of the background while you're shooting.

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