How to Use a Sony Handycam for Stop-Motion Animation

by Jack Gerard
Stop-motion animation is used to animate dolls, clay figures and more.

Stop-motion animation is used to animate dolls, clay figures and more.

Stop-motion animation uses frames captured from real-world scenes to simulate motion of models and other inanimate objects. As digital photography and video recording became more common, stop-motion animation software adapted to allow users to capture individual frames from video feeds streaming from a camera. By connecting a digital camcorder such as the Sony Handycam to a computer with stop-motion animation software installed you can create your own animated scenes without the need for specialized equipment or extensive animation training.

1

Set up the scene you wish to animate. Make sure that you include a backdrop for the scene if you don't wish the room around it to be visible.

2

Attach a tripod to your Handycam. Turn the camera on and position it so that it faces your scene, using the viewfinder screen to check the angle and positioning as necessary.

3

Connect the Handycam to your computer. Depending on the Handycam model you have, this may be done with a Firewire cable, HDMI cable or USB cable.

4

Launch your stop-motion animation software. Start a new animation project or open a project that you previously created. If your software does not automatically detect a video stream, select the Handycam as your streaming video source within the software options.

5

Capture the first frame of your animation from the video streaming from the Handycam.

6

Make a slight adjustment to your scene, taking care not to move the camera. Keep in mind that many animated films use at least 30 to 45 frames per second and may use 60 or more. Keep your adjustments small to create natural-looking movements within your animation.

7

Capture the next frame of your animation from the video stream. Continue making adjustments to your scene and capturing frames once the adjustments are made until you have captured all of the frames you need of that specific scene.

8

Review the captured frames within your animation software, deleting or editing frames as needed and adding any desired effects. Preview the scene to ensure that the animation looks correct.

9

Save the animation project. Construct a new scene or perform additional edits to your existing scene if desired. If you are finished with the animation software, close it and disconnect the Handycam from your computer.

Warning

  • close Not all Handycam models are capable of delivering a video stream via USB. Consult the users manual for your Handycam to ensure that it offers this function before using a USB connection for stop-motion animation.

Items you will need

About the Author

Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.

Photo Credits

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