Media, Video

Stop motion animation sermon intro

Dec 19, 2013 — In January, we kicked off the new year with a new series called “The Essentials,” which was about the basics of the Christian faith.

We start our sermons with a brief video that serves as a transition into the sermon, only about 15 or 20 seconds long. We call them “sermon bumpers.”

The metaphor for the series was about unpacking the essentials that God has given to us in a lifetime of our spiritual journey. What better image to use than a backpack?

Alex, our serious backpacking guru, brought in his bag of essentials he uses for backpacking and we used it to make a stop motion video. If you’d like to see the finished product, click here. (In fact, you should probably look at it first so the rest of the post makes sense!)

Marisa is the other main video editor for our church and she and I had fun working together on this video!

However, it was totally a ghetto setup… no budget and no fancy equipment (other than the very nice DSLR camera!).

We set up the camera on a tripod on a folding table (you can see the legs on the right side). We also set up a flat sheet on the ground. Looking through the viewfinder, we used paper chains we fold lying around to signify the edge of the frame so we knew what was in the field of vision. Actually, to be accurate, we used a paper chain, an old bulletin, a camera lens cap and a stapler (all visible in the photo below). Yessir, no fancy equipment for us! We just used whatever was lying around the room. Here’s Marisa, hard at work!



Then we laid out the items on the sheet in a very organized fashion. Even though the video shows the hand unpacking the items, we did it backwards because we had to make all the items organized. It was easier to do it this way than to unpack the bag and hope that everything was laid out perfectly on the sheet.



Because of the keystoning in the camera (the warping because of the angle of the camera), we actually had to adjust all the items so they looked straight in the camera, but in real life they were all slanted at weird angles.

We also noticed the right side was super dark, so we put up our ghetto reflector setup. We found a folding chair, propped up the reflector and held it in place with an easel and a pillow.


Oh yeah, we also squished a coat in there because it kept slipping down. We are a super high tech team and spare no expense to get our equipment to work correctly.


Anyway, then my arm went around putting things in the bag while Marisa went trigger-happy with the camera. She was clicking so much that at times we had to stop and wait for the camera to catch up because it was writing the images to the card. (We used a Canon 5D Mark ii.) I wore a black jacket to cover my arms to make it a little bit more gender neutral (cuz I have skinny wrists… obviously not a man’s arm!).


The final version of the video actually had a different layout of items, but these sequential pictures give you an idea of the process. We had to change the layout because we realized this one would not work with the title added.

14-0407essentials06 14-0407essentials07 14-0407essentials08

I used textures to overlay in the colored accents and type in Photoshop and sent the layered file to Megan. Marisa edited all the photos in reverse order and made the raw footage, Megan did the motion animation in After Effects, and I added in the finished final image with the color layers as well as the music. Three people editing one 16-second video! That’s what I call collaborative team work!




At the end of the shoot I also made a vertical version for our study guide, which was printed on letter-sized paper.


Here’s the finished cover.


I love collaborative projects and this was about as collaborative as you can get!


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