Equipment

Transforming an idea into a complete video requires lots of equipment and software. Here’s what I use from start to finish. Starstreak Media is not affiliated with the companies selling any of these products.

  • Screenwriting: Celtx. Celtx is an online-based software for writing scripts of all sorts. There is a basic free version that I use but you can purchase plans to gain access to more features if you so desire. Recent updates have made it less friendly to free users but it’s still usable.
  • Sets and characters: LEGO products. LEGO products make a great medium for stop motion animation. This is especially true for beginners who may already have a small collection or even just one set. The ability to take apart a set or vehicle and build it into something you need for a different scene is invaluable.
  • Camera: Nikon Coolpix P7000. This compact camera has held up remarkably well over eight years of animating. It certainly doesn’t compare to a DSLR when it comes to image quality but it does everything I need it to do.
  • Tripods: Davis & Sanford Provista 18 with FM18 head, Manfrotto MTPIXI-B Mini. The Provista 18 is a good choice for stop motion due to its heavy weight (kicking it accidentally may not ruin your shot) and geared center column. The only issue to be aware of is that the minimum height is rather tall. Meanwhile the miniature Manfrotto tripod is nice for getting angles a larger tripod can’t reach.
  • Lighting: Limostudio 600W Continuous Lighting kit. This set comes with two large light stands, one small light stand, three photography bulbs, and two white umbrellas. I also purchased two silver umbrellas to use as primary lights.
  • Composition: Notion 4. This music notation software allows you to create your own scores and play them back with good-quality virtual instruments. I’ve used this to create unique music for several of my videos.
  • Production: Final Cut Pro X. Apple’s video production software is surprisingly robust for stop motion. Free updates since launch have only improved the software’s suite of options. It costs a fair bit and I would recommend beginners look into free editing software first.