I created “the campsite“, a stop motion animation short using my Canon EOS 10D camera and Monkey Jam. I have been reading about and watching brickfilms and some stop motion animation films online. I had the crazy idea that it would be fun to blow my sons mind by making a short film of some of his toys. It turns out that it’s a lot of work.
First, I had to raid my sons toy collection. I picked a couple of figures from an adventure sport/camping play set. They had chairs and tables and a bunch of coleman gear that was already their size. I figured this would be the easier way to create a “set” without using Legos.
Set Construction and Lighting
I cleared an area on one of my computer desks and put an old checkerboard down for the set area. The background is a large piece of graph paper stuck to a LCD monitor.
It took a while to arrange the scene for a sense of depth. I experimented a lot with the shrubbery.
I put my camera on the tripod and connected the remote capture cable, a USB cable, to my laptop. My Canon EOS 10D has Remote Capture abilitiy. So I can shoot the camera from my laptop. I used my EOS 550 EX flash with a Stofen Bounce Flash to even out the light.
Then I experimented with the exposure and depth-of-field. I ended up focusing on the firepit at f/8.
Here is the setup:
I shot 27 frames of animation. Then I used Monkey Jam to make the movie. At 15 frames per second, it looks a bit jerky. At a faster fps, the motion looks smoother, but obviously doesn’t last as long.
I discovered that it’s really hard to keep the set in place. I knew enough to stick the shrubs and firepit to the checkerboard. I also stuck the checkerboard to the desk. But the chairs weren’t stuck and neither were the table and cooler in the background. When the figures got close to those items, I bumped them and you can see the jump in the animation.
Also, it’s really difficult to get the “actors” to behave. I used plasti-tak to hold their feet to the checkboard, but the plasti-tak stretched and stuck to the checkerboard more than it did to their feet.
Looking to the Future
The next thing to do will be to actually create a little script and then add some sound effects.
You can view the animation by downloading from
- YouTube, The Campsite by Eric Holsinger