Taking stop motion photography into the studio

As suggested to me by a tutor I brought my experimenting with stop motion photography into the studio. My idea was to try and manipulate a shadow to follow the path of the sun but obviously created in the studio.

Realising this would have to be precise I set up a trypod facing the object which I used a coffee cup in this shoot. I would move the light from right to left 2 inches each shot so the shadow would decrease in size when I put all the images together in Final Cut Pro. I used a black panel for the base of the coffee cup.

I placed a ruler on to measure the 2 inches to the left I moved the light after each shot.

I placed a snoot cone on the light and had it at full flash power. I had my camera setting set to 1/200th shutter speed, F4.0 aperture, and 100 ISO.

When I got a few shots in I realised the the camera would block out the light when the light gets directly behind the camera. So at this point I decided to raise the light stand up 2 inches after every 2 times I moved the light stand to the left.

I kept notes on each time I moved the light stand here:

Each number means flash moved 2 inch to left,

1,2,3,4(slight adjustment to light),5(move the lamp up an inch),6,7(lamp 2″ up),8,9(lamp 2″ up),10,11(lamp 2″ up),12,13(lamp 2″up),14,15(2″ up),16,17(2″up),18,19(2″up), !directly behind camera (2″up)

By the end the camera was directly behind the camera.

I used the same method of editing the software together as I have done with the BMX videos. At 25 Frames per second and at a 5th of a second on screen time. The resulting video is here.


As a whole I think the video works how I wanted it to. It is similar to a time-lapse of the suns shadow on a coffee cup from sun rise to mid day. The main difficulty I found when trying to shoot was I that there was a hotspot of light that moved each time I moved the light. This was frustrating because this meant from image to image they wasn’t exactly the same lighting in the cup. To combat this, I tried to keep the hotspot in the same place each time I moved the light. This is incredibly difficult to do. I tried switching to a honey cone filter on the light, this worked on the issue of the hotspot but it weakened the shadows massively to the point were they were almost undetectable. I switched back to the snoot.  Apart from that issue I think it worked well and I’m looking forward to experimenting more in the studio with this stop motion work.



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