We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Stop Motion?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Any film project is essentially a series of individual photographs moving fast enough in front of a viewer's eye to give the illusion of motion. One popular animation technique which takes advantage of this illusion is known as stop motion. Animated cartoons could be considered stop motion, as well as the appearance of a giant ape in the film King Kong or a group of dancing raisins in a popular series of commercials. Instead of filming a real ape or raisin, a model is filmed frame-by-frame, with the animator making small adjustments after each frame's exposure. When all of these individual images are projected at a rate of 24 frames per second, the animated film should look almost as natural as live actors performing the same movements. Stop motion can be a very labor-intensive and time-consuming process, which is why most of these movies are relatively short in duration.

In order to film a clay model raisin singing a Motown song, for example, the animator must first determine precisely what the finished sequence should look like. The model may have to grab a microphone, sing a line from the song, perform a spinning dance move and fall to his knees. In order to recreate this sequence, the animator would film the clay model reaching one hand towards a microphone, but only 1/24th of a second at a time. If the movement should take two seconds to perform in real time, the animator would have to shoot 48 frames and adjust the model's hand and arm very slightly after each frame. If the animator wanted to create a faster, comedic effect, he or she could shoot fewer frames and make larger movements per frame. Some early stop motion comedy sequences were shot at 8-10 frames per second and projected at 18-24 frames per second.

Sometimes an animator will first film live actors performing a scene in real time, then recreate the scene using animation drawings or models. This technique is often used in feature length animated cartoons in order to present a more realistic sense of movement. Special computer software can also be used to extrapolate all of the individual frames necessary to animate a character's desired movement. A character could be positioned on one side of a room, for instance, and the program could calculate how many frames it would take to move that character to the other side. Some animators prefer to work in teams, with individual members moving a specific character or background image simultaneously between frames.

One of the most common uses of stop motion among amateur filmmakers is the coordinated movement of inanimate objects or people. A volunteer actor could be filmed jumping in the air frame-by-frame, for instance. Since the camera does not capture the moments when the actor is on the ground, the finished film would show him or her apparently floating in mid-air. Toy soldiers could also be arranged and filmed one frame at a time to create an animated battlefield. Certain video cameras with frame-by-frame capability can also be used to create stop motion films, although the frame rate per second can be closer to 30 fps, compared to 24 fps for traditional film cameras.

Creating stop motion films can be a tedious process, with productivity measured in seconds per workday, but the finished production is often fascinating to watch.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick , Writer
As a frequent contributor to Musical Expert, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By Pippinwhite — On Feb 11, 2014

If you've ever seen a Gumby cartoon, or watched "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," you've seen stop motion projects. Subsequent Rankin-Bass stop motion productions included "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "The Little Drummer Boy" and "The Year Without a Santa Claus."

Stop motion has generally given way to Pixar-style animation, but still exists in some formats, as in the delightful series "Wallace and Gromit." It's a style of animation that hearkens back to a less technologically dependent time. I always enjoy watching a stop motion production, simply because I recognize the tedious, hard work that went into it.

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick


As a frequent contributor to Musical Expert, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
Learn more
Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.