Making a Stop Motion Movie

Guest post by Laura Adamonis, Robotics Coordinator

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I looked through my LEGO collection and picked the minifigures and bricks that I wanted to use. I found a spot to set up my movie set. I went around the house and collected light fixtures. I tried using a green screen background but my green fabric was too dark so I had to use bright lights to make the green appear lighter to the camera.  Two or three lights on either side help to avoid shadows and to make the figures look more three dimensional.

Stop Action Setup

YouTube was a great resource for how-to videos! I made a stand for the tablet out of bricks — this is a good way to keep the tablet stabilized and help with the characters placement within the scene.

I used a couple of different software apps on my tablet and computer:

  • Stop Motion app for tablet
  • Microsoft Video Recorder
  • Movavi Video Editor Plus (I did end up purchasing the plus so I can do future editing)

Stop Action App

One of the tricks I picked up was to stack green 1×1 bricks to elevate the characters so that when I added a background photo, the characters would be standing on top of the tortoise statue.

Take your time. I did a lot of trial and error. I first wrote out the different scenes that I wanted to take pictures of. I did the movie scene part next and did the basic editing of the movie on the app. Once I saved and exported the movie to my computer I was able to start putting together all the parts of the movie. I opened the voice recorder and made audio clips to go along with the different sections of the movie. I wrote out my script so that when I hit record, I knew what I wanted to say. Another tip is that it was easier to cut the movie into sections and work on each section at a time. The editor software had music clips and transition effects that I was able to add. To make sure everything matched up, I did a lot of watching the movie over and over!

I made sure that I saved what I was working on numerous times throughout the process so that I wouldn’t lose anything. Creating a separate folder that can hold specific pictures and other items for the movie made it easy to access things quickly. I did have a couple of edits and updates that I had to do, so I set up a mini stage to film the last scene.

Click here to watch the completed movie!

Celebrate Earth Day with a BioBlitz

The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is hosting an Earth Day BioBlitz throughout Guilford County on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. This event is free and open to anyone who has access to backyards and/or parks in Guilford County, NC. Please note: The GSC strongly encourages participants using a public space to follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing.

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A BioBlitz is a communal citizen-science effort to record as many plants, animals and other organisms within a designated location and time period as possible. Participants need a smartphone and iNaturalist account. To join the GSC’s Earth Day BioBlitz, select Greensboro Science Center Earth Day BioBlitz 2020 from the Projects menu.

During the designated time (April 22 from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.), participants snap and upload photos to record the biodiversity found in Guilford County.

Courtenay Vass, the GSC’s Community Programs Manager, says, “BioBlitzes are fun ways to engage the public – from young children to experts – to connect to their environment while generating useful data for science and conservation. They’re also a good excuse to explore the great outdoors. We hope that our community members gain a new understanding of scientific practices and their local ecology while connecting with one another through the iNaturalist app. Have fun exploring!”

 

New Exhibition Reveals Inside Story about Toys

Toys-LogoIf your parents never let you break open your Etch A Sketch® to find out how it works, or if you’ve been wondering how to stop your toddler’s push toy from making such an infernal racket, you’ll love Toys: The Inside Story. Greensboro Science Center (GSC) guests can experience this temporary new exhibit beginning Thursday, September 26, 2019. GSC members are invited to preview the exhibit on Wednesday, September 25 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Toys includes 12 different hands-on stations illustrating the simple mechanisms commonly found in toys and lets guests create their own toy-like combinations of gears, pulleys, linkages, cams, and circuits.

Jack Gets Out of His Box gives guests a close-up view of the cam combination that frees our hero “Jack,” while elsewhere we unmask the amazing collection of switches, cams and motors that make Elmo® dance and Mr. Machine® run.

Many of the exhibit elements are free-form and open-ended: Gears at Play illustrates the effects of gear ratios as visitors figure out how to spin ballerinas and a carousel, while the Jeepers Peepers challenge at the pulley table may take a little experimentation to solve.

The Toys exhibition was developed by the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., with funding from a National Science Foundation grant awarded to seven museums nationwide, all seven of which comprise TEAMS (Traveling Exhibits at Museums of Science).

To accompany the exhibit, the GSC’s popular maze will return with a toy theme. Activities in the Toy Maze will include a virtual ball pit, fascinating facts about toys throughout time and hands-on stations that inspire play for all ages.

Toys: The Inside Story and the Toy Maze will be open Thursday, September 26, 2019 through Sunday, January 5, 2020. Admission to both exhibits is free with general admission or membership. General admission is $14.50 for adults ages 14 – 64, $13.50 for children ages 3 – 13, and $13.50 for seniors ages 65+. Children 2 and under are free.