Stop motion – Indiana Jones

A stop-motion brick film about the LEGO® Indiana Jones™ – Temple of the Golden Idol set 77015.

We talk a lot about toy photography here at Stuck In Plastic, but that is not all we do. Some of us are into landscape photography . Some like to take photography to the next level by stitching images together in what we call stop-motion or brickfilming.  And that is what this post is all about. Taking a deep dive behind the scenes of making a stop motion mini movie.  Let’s start at the beginning …

What is stop motion?

Stop motion is a technique used in animation. It creates the illusion of movement by manipulating physical objects incrementally. The process involves capturing a series of individual frames. First, a photograph of the subject is taken. Then, slight adjustments are made to its position or appearance. Another frame is captured after each adjustment. When these frames are played back in rapid succession, the slight changes between each frame create the illusion of movement.

You can do stop motion using various materials. People use clay, paper, fabric, and most importantly LEGO. When we use LEGO, we sometimes refer to it as brickfilming. Now, let’s dive into my workflow step by step… one movement at a time.

THE PROCESS OF ANIMATING

Animating the Characters:
Moving characters or objects in small increments and taking a photograph after each movement, barely moving by myself and being patient, were key techniques I used to create my Indiana Jones stop-motion film. I chose a frame rate of 24 fps and tweaked it with some scenes if I thought a movement needed a special feel. Before starting the actual stop-motion animation, I did a test run in real-time to better understand the motions I wanted to animate. This allowed me to see and feel how the movement would look, and make necessary adjustments.

Well… some movements were just thought through as they were impossible for me to perform in real life. For example the second jump also called a reverse backflip or grainer jump 😆🤭🫣😜😬

THE LIGHTING

First of all, I made sure to block out natural light to avoid any inconsistencies in the lighting.
To find what worked best, I experimented with different lighting setups using LED panels, LED lights and SMD Lamp Wired Micro Litz LEDs to create a consistent look and feel throughout the scenes of the film.
To further enhance the mood and atmosphere of certain scenes, I also used color gels in front of the lights, which allowed me to experiment with different color tones. Color gels are commonly used in lighting to add color to a scene or to create a specific mood, such as warmth or coolness.

STABILITY MAKES A DIFFERENCE

To avoid any unintentional movement or shaking, I ensured that the tripod or camera was always in a fixed position and moved only slightly between frames when necessary. This resulted in a seamless animation. Once I had everything set up, I used Dragonframe, a stop-motion animation software that provides precise camera control and frame-by-frame editing capabilities, to start shooting.

EDITING

After taking all the photographs, I compiled the individual frames into a video sequence (FCP X) and added any necessary effects or adjustments. In the editing process, I made decisions on the final timing by holding certain frames to emphasize specific moments or skipping frames to create more dynamics and excitement. Eventually, it all comes down to whether it feels right.

As a toy photographer we all have post processed some images. In brickfilming you will spent a little bit more time in post after you are done shooting your stills.

SOUND EFFECTS

For my projects, I am fond of mixing different sounds that have completely different purposes, but when used together in an audio setting for a specific scene, they create a harmonious result. If necessary, I record my own sound effects. For this stop-motion movie, I used the sound library that comes with the video editing software.
Working on the sound (music and sound effects) is as important and enjoyable to me as the filming process itself, and it brings me immense joy.

CHALLENGING SCENE

The lasso that Indiana Jones is holding to swing over the pit is not very flexible.
It was tricky to capture the movement.

In the end, I used a toothpick to carefully stretch the lasso by hand. After a few attempts, I was able to achieve the desired look.

Thank you for reading and I hope that you will enjoy watching my Indiana Jones stop-motion brick film. TAP TO WATCH 👀🎥🎬 😁🍿🎞

CONCLUSION

Overall, stop-motion animation is a time-consuming process that requires problem-solving skills to bring ideas to life.

I love stop motion and I find the process of working on it to be relaxing and enjoyable. It is my personal happy quiet moment. Just focusing on the click sound of my camera and be happy about seeing things come to life.
While working, I sometimes find it helpful to listen to music that fits the scene, such as the original score, as it helps to set the mood and brings an extra layer of emotion to the process.


I would like to thank the LEGO® Group and Stuck in Plastic for providing me with this set. I absolutely love it. The set is a beautiful detailed recreation of the iconic opening scenes from „Raiders of the Lost Ark“.

Here are a few more BEHIND THE SCENES while I can’t wait to see what Boris has to say on his shoot of Indy. Keep an eye on the blog and look forward to the next post. Cheers, Jennifer.

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Estelle
Estelle
9 months ago

Awesome artwork

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