MAKING PRODUCT MOVE: A MARKETER'S GUIDE TO STOP MOTION
BY LUKE WHITELEY, PHOTOGRAPHER
There's no question that incorporating video into your digital campaign can hugely impact its overall consumer engagement. In a recent HubSpot* study, 76% of marketers said video content increased their company's sales and site traffic, with 80% reporting increased site dwell time thanks to video. And it's not just businesses that are loving the benefits of video; consumers themselves are too with 85% of them wanting to see more brand videos in 2018.
The question we're often getting asked nowadays isn't why use video, but rather how use video. How, in a saturated digital landscape demanding high volumes of "throw away" content, can businesses make the most of video with the often little budgets they have? One solution is with Stop Motion.
Stop Motion is a playful and captivating medium that can prove to be both cost- and time-effective, using a similar crew to a stills shoot. Though the internet is brimming with these frame-by-frame animations, a lot offer little merit in terms of style and uniqueness so it's important to get Stop Motion right if you want to stand out.
Here’s a rough guide of how to get the most out of your Stop Motion content (and your budget!). We've used food as an example, but the same principles apply for fashion and lifestyle products too...
SELECTING YOUR STYLE
1. De- and Re-construction
This is where you'd start with a blank background and build up to a complete, fully populated image. Think of this croquembouche as an example - it starts with a plain set of profiteroles and builds and builds until you get a beautiful tower of chocolatey goodness! You could also use this style if you're wanting to build up to a particularly complex or busy end frame, for example a Sunday Roast. Starting with an empty, un-dressed table and ending on a full spread with all the trimmings appearing frame-by-frame. This method also works particularly well if you're wanting to build up lettering to reveal words or phrases.
This one's where we get the hands involved and incorporate a human element into how a video develops. Maybe you’d like to show bites being taken from a burger in your Summer BBQ shot, or hands entering your party scene and grabbing at a deliciously tempting buffet (like in this example clip). It's also great for showing process - a step-by-step of how a butcher selects, cuts and wraps a Chateaubriand, or your development chefs prepping and cooking it, perhaps.
3. Moving Cheese, Gromit
This playful style requires a little bit more pre-planning and post-production but yields excellent results! It's a bit more experimental as the amount of movement may need some testing/planning to achieve the required results but it really brings a sense of personality to your product. Imagine toast soldiers standing to attention and diving into a soft-boiled egg of their own accord, or all your ingredients dancing into a mixing bowl to reveal a freshly baked cake. Using smoke, mirrors, Blue Tac, fishing line and Photoshop... the possibilities are endless!
CHOOSING YOUR POV
Extremely popular in the world of food photography and videography, Overhead (or Top-Down) seems to be everyone's go-to POV for large scale shots or recipe content. That's because it works brilliantly when the view you need is to see what's going on from above, for example the contents of bowls or hands entering from all angles. If you're wanting to push the boat out further, you could be crafty and add in a few more dynamic angles to cut through the current Overhead noise.
2. Three Quarters
This is a great one to use when you're wanting to hero a particular product (like this blueberry pie). Particularly for animating products, if shot using a long (telephoto) lens, the tight angle of view may allow the photographer to position the subject using his/her hands without them being in shot. This can save oodles of time in post-production. The Three Quarter rig is also great for anything hot, as we can back-light to beautifully capture steam, smoke or delicate changes to the surface of food.
The handheld POV seems to be seldom used, but we like it a lot. Providing that the change in viewpoint is minimal and consistent between frames, the video flows in a unique way. It gives it a bit more of a rough-and-ready feel whilst still being made up of high quality shots. A handheld POV is particularly suited to recipes or instructional pieces, but only really when these are pretty simple and not too busy.
If you're wanting your product to move around the frame, a fixed POV is the obvious choice so as not to overcomplicate the piece. As you can imagine, a moving camera, as well as a moving subject, could result in some pretty messy content! This is probably the most common POV over handheld as it can clearly communicate more complex recipes.
*Source: HubSpot - 'The State of Video Marketing in 2018' https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/state-of-video-marketing-new-data