Hubby is between jobs at the moment, so we've been having fun making a stop motion animation with some Lego over the last few days. To make the stop motion, we took a heap of pictures with the digital camera and then put them all together into a video using Windows Live Movie Maker.
This would be a fun weekend activity to involve older kids in. Keep in mind, that it can take a while to put it all together and take all the pictures, so younger kids with a short attention span might get bored before you're finished. I'd say this is for kids about 8+.
Tips for Stop Motion
1. Map out your scenes before you begin, with a basic story board. Making a movie frame-by-frame is a slow process, the story board will help you break up the photography into manageable chunks of time.
2. Run through each scene before you photograph it. This will make sure that you know the boundaries of your photo and when things come in and out of frame.
3. Set your camera to Manual and lock as many settings as possible (exposure, white balance, ISO). This will ensure that each photo (or frame) has a consistent look. Make note of the settings if you are shooting over a number of days. Don't worry if you are using a point-and-shoot and can't do this.
4. Stabilise your camera using a tripod, or if you don't have one try and temporarily fix it to something. A small amount of movement is OK though, as the 'jerkiness' of stop motion is part of its charm.
5. Some scenes are easier to shoot backwards and then reverse them when building the animation later. You don't need to shoot the scenes in order either. They can be sorted later in the editing software.
6. Try to keep the movement smooth by moving objects (or yourself) the same amount every time. If you want to make the movement look faster, move more between each shot.