Behind the Scenes: Hiring College Students to Make a Stop Motion Video

Make a stop motion video using student freelancers
October 1st, 2016
Adam Thornhill
Adam Thornhill
Co-Founder of Slance
make a stop motion video: behind the scenes production

Students can build a brand and make a website – the Howard CDI case study proves this. But, can students make a stop motion video? Let’s find out…

The idea

It’s funny what can spark an idea. A chance encounter, a random dream, or a video on Twitter. For us, it was the later. One of those fascinating moments ironically came from a tweet from @FascinatingVids. This was our inspiration:


The concept

The agency-made, animated explainer videos just didn’t match our vision for this project. That’s not to say they’re not effective. They’re just so… ordinary. Content is saturated nowadays, so we needed something original. Stop motion animation was that something original.

We first needed a brief. Half an hour of YouTubing was all it took. We had enough knowledge to be dangerous, and so created storyboard 1.0. We pushed boundaries with what we thought students could achieve. To our surprise, our student freelancers embraced this challenge and countered with creative concepts and feedback. The sparring of ideas and collective brainstorming was over before it begun. Storyboard 1.3 was born.

Stop Motion Animation Video Storyboard

Making stop motion

Project management tools

Basecamp is our preferred task management software for managing projects and freelancers. But, when it came to making stop motion animation, we honestly didn’t have a clue where to start. For this reason, we needed a simple messaging app to accommodate our frequent brainstorming sessions. To this end, we used Slack. (And yes, to answer your question, Slack really is as good as everyone says it is!)

Consistency is key

Channon Chung was our graphic designer for this project. She is a junior at Parsons School of Design pursuing a BFA in Communication Design. Here’s Channon’s takeaway:

“It’s important to encapsulate the brand in the look and feel of all creative work. It helped to have a brand style guide on hand to know what color palette and style I needed to follow. I set out to design a consistent set of backgrounds to create a cohesive journey for the main protagonist. This helped make for a smooth transition from frame to frame, all the while keeping the audience’s attention.”

Channon can be found on our student freelance marketplace if you are in need of getting graphic design, logo design, illustration and animation work completed.

Create your animation

Our very own stop motion animation maker, John Mulcahy, is a sophomore at Pace University studying Computer Science.  Here are John’s key tips on how to make a stop motion video:

“Planning is definitely the most important aspect of the entire process; stop motion can be tedious, and proper preparation is needed so you don’t have to work backwards.

Stop motion is a very simple process – don’t over complicate it. There are programs advertised that are hundreds of dollars, when all you need is something as simple as Adobe Flash, or even Windows Movie Maker if you are starting out.”

John is also active on Slance, and can help you with all things graphic design, logo design, and animation.

Create short videos

Longer videos are great. Think with Google has shown longer may be stronger. But, audience’s still crave short, succinct video. Create short videos from your main video to use repurposed content on channels where audience engagement is shorter.

The results

Agencies quoted us an arm and a leg to make a stop motion video. We quite like our arms and legs, so decided to follow our mantra of hiring college students. We’ve ended up with a 60 second stop motion video that was under budget and over exceeding our expectations. We also ended up with two 30 second videos and student freelancers who we are already using again for different projects. Here is our main stop motion video:

Lesson of the day – don’t use agencies for video creation. Use students.

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Students can build a brand and make a website – the Howard CDI case study proves this. But, can students make a stop motion video? Let’s find out…Click to Tweet

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