6 steps to making your own Lego movie

We all grew up playing with Lego, but the team behind The Lego Movie has taken things to a whole new level. Opening here tomorrow, it tells the story of a humble Lego construction worker who discovers he is actually a Master Builder. Student and Lego enthusiast Raelynn Chan, who has made several stop-motion short films, shows you how to make your own Lego movie

1. WORK OUT A SIMPLE SCRIPT

Write a script with a simple plot and with only a few scenes or no more than three mini figures. It could be as simple as a man taking a walk in a park and tripping on a rock. You should not try to create a complicated storyline if you are just starting out.

We are shooting this movie with the app iMotion HD on an iPad or iPhone (free to download for iOS devices, the export option costs US$1.99 (S$2.50).

The technique, called stop motion, makes a physically manipulated object look like it's moving when played back at normal speed.

2. GET SOME BRICKS

The fundamental ingredient in this project are the Lego bricks and before you fire off a single frame, a Lego baseplate (50x50) is needed. This is for you to build the background scene and it ensures that your Lego mini figure and background bricks have enough studs to sit on.

The background can be anything from a few Lego trees to a Lego house, depending on your storyboard and the amount of bricks you have to work on.

This is where your imagination kicks in. Now, all you need is a Lego mini figure to begin shooting.

3. SET UP THE SCENE

Place your Lego baseplate on a sturdy table, preferably against a wall, and keep it down with Blu-tack. Place two lamps on either sides of the baseplate, but cover the lamps with butter paper to lessen the glare on the mini figure. They help ensure that the light in the room does not affect the lighting on your mini figure.

Make sure that your iPhone/iPad has a stable base to rest on, you want to ensure that it does not shift when you click on it while shooting.

Set up all the props and scenery for the first scene.

4. SHOOT AND MOVE

First, take a few shots of the background to establish the scene. For every frame, make sure that the mini figure moves very slightly.

Move the figure slightly, then shoot one frame. Repeat the process until you have finished the scene.

Make sure that throughout the filming, your background remains still.

After taking about 20 photos, stop and check if it runs smoothly. Adjust the speed of frames per second (a suitable range would be from 12 to 20 frames per second). Keep checking on it every 20 to 30 frames.

5. MUSIC AND MAGIC

For this project, the post-production software we are using is called iMovie (US$5.99 from the Apple AppStore).

You have to export your stop-motion video directly to iMovie, which enables you to add music, sound effects and even captions to your video. Make sure that the sound effects match the movements of the mini figure to make it seem coordinated.

6. UPLOAD AND SHARE

From iMovie, your finished project can be uploaded to several social media websites such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

After uploading it, your friends will be able to watch it and share it with more people.


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