Hi everyone, I would like to start a topic on FRAMING for stop motion. I believe it is a very important part of the whole creation of a stopmotion since the composition of shots or scenes can change a lot in our brickfilms. From what I see, a good stop motion is most likely supported by good framing. Although I am not really sure if you guys find it as important. :snicker:

Please share your thoughts and if you have some TIPS and TRICKS about this.

I'll start with the basic that I know

RULE OF THIRDS

It's basically saying that the point of interest or what you are showing in your picture or scenes should be on one of the 4 intersecting points when you break an image down to 9 parts by drawing 4 lines both horizontally and vertically dividing the image into thirds. I'm not also sure if I explained it correctly but you can also look it up to have a more detailed explanation. :)

this really helped me a lot and by watching other brickfilms, I can say that it was applied most on those that I like watching the most!

Please share your tips and tricks for everyone here including me  Very eager to learn from everyone! Thank you!

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Good topic. Here's a few thoughts to add.

One advantage we have with stopmotion is that we are often capturing frames with many more pixels than HD. My Canon captures in effectively 5k. This means that it is possible to reframe the shot without losing quality. But it doesn't mean that you can just set it up any old how and fix it later. That's sloppy practice.

I quite like the rule of thirds as a guide, but it should not be adhered to strictly. Look at any TV drama and you will see lots of rule-breaking going on, sometimes to good effect, sometimes annoyingly pointless. My aim is to direct the attention of the viewer to what I as filmmaker want them to concentrate on. This might involve making the subject the brightest part of the picture to attract the gaze. But that's getting off topic. The great thing about thirds is that it does mean you get the main action well contained within the overall frame.

Framing can also be done to great effect within the picture frame... What I mean is that you can use a doorway or pillar to obscure part of the frame, with the action confined to the bit you can see. Great for isolating an action, used a lot by Spielberg and other great directors.

Lastly, I recommend the books Setting up your Shots and the Mastershots series which show how to set up dramatic and exciting shots.

I agree. The rule of thirds is common in most films but breaking it is fine if it helps the audience see the vision of the film. 

I always think as if im the audience watching the piece for the first time. Remembering that over the well asserted version in my head. Helps keep things organised and in some ways simple for the viewer. Tell your story through the audiences eyes. If that means using the rule of thirds then so be it. But be prepared to change it up. 

I certainly tried that with my film “Dan of the Dead” you can view it here:- https://youtu.be/k6i-BY5Xf4M

want tips and tricks on everything stop motion? Check out my channel. http://www.youtube.com/myanimatedlifepeterellis

great post @Simon Tytherleigh! I learned a lot just from reading what you posted.

1. It was a dilemma for me to crop my shots since I was thinking I might lose some quality in the process, now since you mentioned Canon, If I get to use a DSLR with 5k, I can be flexible with my shots since I can still get a 1080p shot if that's correct.

2. Now I know why some good films do not employ rule of thirds as much, sometimes we can still capture the audience's focus and interest using different framing techniques. I might try the one you said about brightening the subject and the one using a pillar or doorway.

3. Thank you for the book recommendations, will try to get my hands on one of those soon!

Great film with "Dan of the Dead"!! clearly saw what you meant! May I ask what other techniques can I use for framing good shots? I've actually just read about the rule of thirds after finishing my Episode 1 and all 5 parts of it, so I didn't had the chance to apply it. Though I went on doing my shots by just how I felt it looks good hehe. Here are the links:

https://youtu.be/eziO6Ak19oY - EP 1 Part 1

https://youtu.be/fRqTw199nUI - EP 1 Part 2

https://youtu.be/M9dly9zStEg - EP 1 Part 3

https://youtu.be/tt1wq8vVqfk - EP 1 Part 4

https://youtu.be/kgQu1BLGIN0 - EP 1 Part 5




Peter Ellis said:

I agree. The rule of thirds is common in most films but breaking it is fine if it helps the audience see the vision of the film. 

I always think as if im the audience watching the piece for the first time. Remembering that over the well asserted version in my head. Helps keep things organised and in some ways simple for the viewer. Tell your story through the audiences eyes. If that means using the rule of thirds then so be it. But be prepared to change it up. 

I certainly tried that with my film “Dan of the Dead” you can view it here:- https://youtu.be/k6i-BY5Xf4M

want tips and tricks on everything stop motion? Check out my channel. http://www.youtube.com/myanimatedlifepeterellis



A couple of things I have noticed that you could work on. (BTW the opening shot with the door in one corner and the character coming diagonally across shot is excellent)

You might consider varying shot size, as most of your shots are wide-angle, so full length shots of the figures. Mid shots are from the waist up, and close-ups just the head and shoulders or just the face. So a good place to put in a couple of close-ups is where Gollum leaps out of the toilet. As shown it is quite weak, because both characters are looking across frame, so we cannot see their faces. Making quick cuts to close-ups will bring the audience right in close to the characters. There are plenty of other places where this can work to good effect.

Another point to consider is the relationship between characters. So when Batman goes to the urinal, we see a shot looking down at the lobster, but Batman is nowhere in this shot, so we are not being invited to link the two together. I presume the impression intended is that Batman gets a shock from seeing the lobster (I was really hoping it would attach itself to him....!) but the effect is lost because we can't see them together.

Also, do think about 'crossing the line'. When Batman looks in the mirror (why not have a real mirror there?) we see him reversed, or do we see the mirror's POV, or what? I found it visually confusing (although you were consistent) because it disorientates the viewer. The 'line' just means that the camera doesn't swap from one side of a character to the other without some indication of doing this. So when two characters are having a conversation and the camera is looking over the R shoulder of one of them at the other (so character 2 is on the L), when the camera is looking over the shoulder of character 2 it should be the L shoulder with character 1 on the R. If you try it with both shots over the same shoulder, the impression is that they are both facing in the same direction, and it is very strange.

Mostly I think you were right to follow your instincts with framing - get the significant stuff in the middle or around the middle, try to vary straight on shots to make them visually more impactful (as in your first shot), and think of ways that the camera shots can emphasise the gags.

Wow! @Simon Tytherleigh

This is greatly appreciated! thank you for making this one very detailed and a full review on one of my videos!! this is perfectly just what I needed! There are a lot of info in this one although I will do my best to digest everything! 

1. A couple of things I have noticed that you could work on. (BTW the opening shot with the door in one corner and the character coming diagonally across shot is excellent)

- thank you! glad you liked this one, when I was doing this I had little information about wide angle shots and close up or even about camera lenses. I used a smartphone camera for this one. luckily it might have turned out well. since you commended this one, I might use this angle again on the next episodes :)

2. You might consider varying shot size, as most of your shots are wide-angle, so full length shots of the figures. Mid shots are from the waist up, and close-ups just the head and shoulders or just the face. So a good place to put in a couple of close-ups is where Gollum leaps out of the toilet. As shown it is quite weak, because both characters are looking across frame, so we cannot see their faces. Making quick cuts to close-ups will bring the audience right in close to the characters. There are plenty of other places where this can work to good effect.

- got that! From what I understand, please correct me if I'm wrong, I can do a shot of the toilet or just maybe half of the toilet around the part that Gollum leaps out. then change shot to both Gollum and Batman or just Batman's expression?

3. Another point to consider is the relationship between characters. So when Batman goes to the urinal, we see a shot looking down at the lobster, but Batman is nowhere in this shot, so we are not being invited to link the two together. I presume the impression intended is that Batman gets a shock from seeing the lobster (I was really hoping it would attach itself to him....!) but the effect is lost because we can't see them together.

-  the shot that Batman was looking down at the lobster was point of view, how can I invite the audience to link the the two together? What are the possible shots for that one?

3. Also, do think about 'crossing the line'. When Batman looks in the mirror (why not have a real mirror there?) we see him reversed, or do we see the mirror's POV, or what? I found it visually confusing (although you were consistent) because it disorientates the viewer. The 'line' just means that the camera doesn't swap from one side of a character to the other without some indication of doing this. So when two characters are having a conversation and the camera is looking over the R shoulder of one of them at the other (so character 2 is on the L), when the camera is looking over the shoulder of character 2 it should be the L shoulder with character 1 on the R. If you try it with both shots over the same shoulder, the impression is that they are both facing in the same direction, and it is very strange.
- it was the mirror's POV. I see what you mean with the camera and the R and L. I'm not just sure how to do it with a mirror. hehe.

4. Mostly I think you were right to follow your instincts with framing - get the significant stuff in the middle or around the middle, try to vary straight on shots to make them visually more impactful (as in your first shot), and think of ways that the camera shots can emphasise the gags.

- got that. I would really want to vary my shots from time to time. I'll try more shots that could go well with a scene. :)

thank you very much!!!!

@ Simon Tytherleigh

Just to add, you can check out Part 3 of Episode 1 which is Captain America, although Batman got lucky with the lobster, Captain America was not so fortunate! :) Thanks a lot!

Here are the links:

https://youtu.be/eziO6Ak19oY - EP 1 Part 1

https://youtu.be/fRqTw199nUI - EP 1 Part 2

https://youtu.be/M9dly9zStEg - EP 1 Part 3

https://youtu.be/tt1wq8vVqfk - EP 1 Part 4

https://youtu.be/kgQu1BLGIN0 - EP 1 Part 5

Hi there. In reply to point 2, yes, a shot of the toilet and close-ups on the reactions is what I mean. One tip is to watch something where you like the editing, but with the sound off. So instead of following the story you can just look at how they assembled the shots.

And the POV shot of Batman looking down at the lobster - you could make a simple cut-out with the Batman ears and mount this in front of the camera so it is out of focus, but clearly indicates you are looking over his head or shoulder. If you were feeling really cheeky you could include a pink Lego brick to simulate his willy... Basically with a shot like this, you have to cheat things and set them up just so they look right in the camera, and not worry about the physical world.

I don't think I mentioned the establishing shot. This is a basic principle of cinematography, and is the shot that shows the audience the way in which all the elements of a scene relate to each other. It is necessarily a wide shot, so often the shots in a scene go from wide to mid to close-up, although to stick to this all the time would be incredibly boring and tedious. Have a look at some videos and see if you can spot the establishing shots in there.

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