How to Make Lego Movies


Introduction

The kind of animation we're going to do is called stop-motion animation. You might also have heard it called 'frame-by-frame' animation, and if you use clay, it's called 'claymation.' That basically means you take lots of still photographs and put them together like you would an old fashioned flip book. You'll 'flip' through your photos so fast, the objects in them will look like they are moving. You can use Legos or almost anything to make a movie this way - clay, magnets on a board, other toys, drawings on paper or a white board, even real people, if they can hold a pose!
The steps below are based on an Edison Times article by Edwin, spring 2007.

Get Started

  1. Have a plot - the main story idea, with plans for the scenes and action.
  2. Make a stage with a Lego base-plate or a table.
  3. Build the characters (mini figures) and other things you'll need for your plot (vehicles, buildings, etc.)

Animation

  1. To make your Lego figures appear moving, use a digital camera and take a photo of your Lego figures doing whatever you want them to do.
    Tip: Use a lower resolution on your camera, so your pictures don't take too much memory.
  2. After taking that picture, move the figure a small amount if you want it to move slow, move it more if you want the figure to move fast, and take a picture.
  3. Continue this process until your movie is over.
    Tip: Delete bad pictures on your camera.

Make it Come to Life

  1. Use iMovie to bring your pictures to life!legos.png
  2. Select all your pictures at the same time. Adjust the picture duration first! ( 0.14 seconds suggested for each photo )
  3. Save!!!
  4. Add more to your movie. ( Consult iMovie manual for more help )

Add Visual Effects

You can use Skitch to add visual effects to your movie.
  1. Use the Photos button in Skitch to view the photos you've downloaded onto the computer from your camera.
  2. Open the photo in Skitch and draw on the effects you want
  3. Drag the photo back into your folder of images. This will save it with the same name as the original, plus "-1"
  4. Put that image in order with your other images in iMovie

Add Sounds

You can get sounds by recording them yourselves, using the built-in microphone on the Mac, or you can download sounds from the web. Make sure you have parent permission before downloading anything at home!
  • Oddcast CTC Music Mixer - mix your own sounds with this online tool. You need to be registered to 'snag' your sounds
  • Partners in Rhyme - free sound effects, but stick to the 'Free Sounds.' 'Free' means free, but 'royalty-free' means you have permission to use it, but you would still have to pay for it.
  • Simply the Best Sounds - more free sounds for private use
  • Sound Snap - a place to share and download sounds, well organized by categories
Soon, we'll have more information on how to use the sounds you find or make.

I have had fun making Lego movies, and I hope you will, too.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!!!!

More Tips

Note: these links take you off our wiki - due to the changing nature of the web, we cannot guarantee the content will remain appropriate

Another Tutorial

  1. Get an idea for a story or scene
    • Come up with a story or just a funny scene where things do unexpected things - a dancing sock? You can also retell a story you know from a movie, book or fairy tale, for example -- as long as you don't claim you made up the story in the first place!
    • Think a little about scenes and camera angles -
  2. Gather your supplies for the characters, props and backgrounds.
    • Characters - anything goes. Since you're moving the objects, you can use clay, Legos, other toys, paper clips, magnets, just about anything at all.
    • Props - same goes for props - just think about what you need to help move your story along
    • Scenes - use a black sheet for 'outer space' -- use a large sheet or butcher paper and leave it plain or paint a scene -- find a cool spot outdoors -- build a set out of Legos -- or, don't worry about it!
  3. Shoot your animation
    • Use a tripod to keep your camera in the same spot - unless you are ready to change camera angles
    • Set up your characters and props in their 'starting positions'
    • Changing camera angles can really help make your movie more interesting and effective. Sometimes you might want to be in close, maybe even eye-level with a mini-figure! Other times, you'll want a long shot that takes in a lot of space
  4. Download your photos
    • Get your photos into iPhoto. Look them over and delete ones you don't need. Put them all into one "album" with a clear name, e.g. "Bob's Movie."
  5. Add visual effects
    • Follow the advice above about using Skitch to add visual effects
    • Copy these photos into the same album in iPhoto and put them in their proper places
  6. Find your photos in iMovie
    • Once your photos are ready, close iPhoto and open iMovie.
    • Create a new iMovie project and call it whatever you like.
    • Click on the "Media" button to the right above your timeline and select "Photos" at the top right of the window. (On older versions of iPhoto, you'll click the "Photos" button instead of the "Media" button.)
    • Select your album. All of your photos should now appear in order.
    • SAVE!
  7. Animate your photos
    • ...
  8. Add sound effects
    • In iMovie, you can add sounds by recording them, or by using sounds in iPhoto or importing sounds you find other places, like on the web.
  9. Add titles and credits
    • In iMovie, your titles and credits can appear over your images or on a blank screen. You may