Stop motion animation in pedagogical videos

Raisa Laukkanen / Citizen’s Forum

From the beginning we had an experimental idea of making the non-formal course of intergenerational learning in the form of three videos, which consist of lecture-kind voice-over, visualized with stop motion animation.

Stop motion animation is created by moving stable objects and capturing the movement frame by frame, with a digital camera and a stop motion software, which creates instant continuum of the frames. The editing of the clips continues in editing software, where the graphics and sound are added. In these Ge&In-videos, I used for example cut-out paper figures and objects made of clay.

But why and how do visuals created as stop motion animation work as pedagogical content? On one hand, listening to the voice-overs can be compared to just reading the text, or listening to it as form of audio file. This is why the animation needs to support the text, and not steal the attention.

Interesting animation, which is visually synchronized with the vocabulary, help with construing the informational content. Animation also gives nice rhythm to the text. Thirdly, interesting and attractive animated elements lower the threshold and enhance the attractivity of the videos, despite the academic and pedagogically oriented content.

Creating stop motion animation itself is a magical journey. I never stop wondering the miracle of making things alive, and how moving elements and different materials have their own characteristics. This makes stop motion animation so fascinating. You think you can create life, but you cannot completely master the outcome.

In general, the meeting of audio and image strongly lead the immediate interpretations people make of the content. A third element is born, and it draws influences not only from the given audio and imagery, but it also mixes elements of the connotations in viewer’s mind.

Even small and modest animated objects deliver strong emotions, and this is why stop motion animation is powerful and partly uncontrollable tool for pedagogical purposes. The fact that there are no limits for imagination, while wondering in the world of animation, doesn’t make it easier. Luckily, in the case of pedagogical video, the limits are drawn by the informational content: delivering the knowledge and learning are the most important things, and best animation supports the essential both on emotional and cognitive level.

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