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Whiteboard life cycle


Using a camera on a tripod, a whiteboard, some markers and Stop Motion Pro you can make a film very quickly.  This film illustrates a mosquito life cycle as a science project.  A great way to integrate science, art and technology.

A handful of materials is all you need.  Some whiteboard pens and eraser, we also used a paper cut out mosquito for some of the film:

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The film was mostly made by just erasing part of the drawing on the whiteboard, then drawing a new bit, taking a frame, then erasing a little bit and so on.  We filmed the animation at 12 frames per second.  There were quite a few pauses, where we captured multiple frames.

At the start of the film, we wrote the title :"Mosquito life cycle"  Then a mosquito comes in and rubs it off as it flies through. This was filmed in reverse, so we had the title written, then we rubbed it out as the mosquito moved backwards.  Once the title was gone, we simply went to the Stop Motion Pro editor, selected all the frames and selected "reverse selected frames" from the action list.  The advantage of this process was that we could write the title fairly neatly, then quickly erase it as we went, as opposed to trying to write it and animate the mosquito at the same time.

Using a cut out drawing also saved a lot of time.  In the sequences that did not require transormations, we used a cut out instead. 

The cutouts were stuck onto the whiteboard using blu-tack.

Tape folded back on itself in a loop could also do the job.




whiteboard_drawing_tools.jpg The image to the left shows all the materials used in the film.  Very basic.

Despite the rather rough look of the film, the sequence was planned, a good excercise in itself.  The life cycle was researched so as to be accurate, the flow of changes and extra information was also decided on before filming.  Rather than a traditional round presentation of the life cycle, we animated the transitions, utilising the linear process of storytelling that the animation medium allows.

Why not make your own whiteboard life cycle?  Frogs, beetles, flies and humans all make good subject material, as does planet formation, evolution, making a cake - in fact any sequential concept is well suited to this style.


Next steps:
For a different look, you can see we used the timelapse tool in Stop Motion Pro when we drew the boys head.  Timelapse is a way for Stop Motion Pro to automatically capture frames at a predetermined interval.  It can be found in the Tools menu of all versions of Stop Motion Pro.


Stop Motion Pro boxshot