It’s hard to imagine anyone on Earth not knowing what Lego is. The plastic bricks have been with us since 1949 and although they have gone through a whole host of visual changes and licences, the design hasn’t changed one bit – in fact, a brick made in 1949 will interlock with one made in 2020 no problem!
The 28th January 2021 marks International Lego Day, held on the very same day that Godtfred Kirk Christiansen submitted his patent for the original Lego brick, and it’s your chance to celebrate Lego’s creation with maybe some creations of your own! Lego have made lots of different forays into interactive tech versions of their toys – the Mindstorms block allows you to program a Lego robot that you create, and the more recent Lego Super Mario lets you take the plucky plumber through a whole host of levels you build out of different bricks. However, perhaps one of the best tech uses of Lego is stop motion animation.
Many filmmakers start their directorial interest with stop motion animation, a technique that involves using inanimate objects that have their position or action slightly changed in each frame, creating the illusion of movement. Lego is perfect for this type of filming, and although the Lego movies are created with computer graphics, they are animated very purposefully to look like stop motion.
The question is, how do you film and edit these creations? With modern tech, it’s really very simple – apps, apps, and more apps! If you have an iPhone or iPad, consider downloading Stop Motion Studio. This app will let you create stop motion films by simply taking a photo, changing the position of your Lego, and then taking another photo. It then automatically stitches all those photos together, and lets you play it all back as a movie! Stop Motion Studio will let you do more advanced editing techniques as you get more comfortable as well, such as cutting and pasting frames, and using grid overlays to get more accurate animation and scenes.
If you’re on Android, you could look at ClayFrames – this is a paid app, but lets you do the same kind of things Stop Motion Studio does. It even has a timed shutter feature, so that you can prepare your app to take a photo after a certain amount of time has passed. Perfect if you need to create an action shot that needs your involvement!
Lego also offer their own Lego Movie Maker app which is available no both iOS and Android – kid friendly and comes with templates to help construct your movie.
Stop motion is great fun and a wonderful introduction into technology, whether you’re using Lego to film your movie or not. Make the most of International Lego Day and try to create a movie of your own – who knows where such an experiment might take you?
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