Stop motion videos are a compelling video format you can use to craft a funny, touching, and engaging message. Made up of photos that transition quickly, stop motion videos give you a different perspective on action that might not be possible with real-time footage.

Creators can find examples of "stop motion" – the effect of strobing images in all over Instagram, YouTube, and other social media. Some platforms like Instagram and TikTok are experimenting with a native Stop Motion effect for the Story camera.

In this post, I’ll introduce Kapwing’s free online software tools to help you make and share good-looking Stop Motion videos.

How to make a stop motion video

There are two ways to make a stop motion video:

  1. Take a series of photos and stitch them together into a video.
  2. Start with a video and snapshot a series of frames to fake effect #1.

Approach #1 is the classic technique. It’s a great way to make inanimate objects look like they’re moving, and all you need is a smartphone and some creative vision to make it happen.

Approach #2 is easier and cheaper because you can take any footage filmed on any camera and retroactively transform it to emulate the stop motion look. However, you won’t be able to make inanimate objects look like they’re moving.

A stop motion sequence on Kapwing’s Montage Maker

Kapwing has tools for both approaches and is a great software option for creating the stop motion video. You can use the Montage Maker to combine images into a video and the Stop Motion Video Maker to transform existing video into awesome stop motion clips. Kapwing is a video editing suite that works on all phones and computers and is free to use. It's designed for any person to be able to create animations, videos, GIFs, and slideshows.

Approach 1: Stop motion from a sequence of images

To make a stop motion video, set up the scene you want to animate in from of a camera in a stable position. Then, make small changes to the scene and snap photos of every new frame. Check out our blog article on Claymation videos for tips.

Once you have all of the images you want to combine into a video, find the Video Maker on the Kapwing homepage and click “Get Started.” This will open the "Scene" view of Kapwing's Studio.

Montage maker screenshot

Upload all of the images by either dragging and dropping them on your computer or selecting them from your camera roll. After all of the pictures have uploaded, you can see them all play in the preview on the left-hand side. Choose the size of your video canvas under "Aspect Ratio" and click the "Zoom and Crop" button to center them.

Then, click "Edit duration" to make the images move faster. Use the dropdown to change the time to 0.3s and "Apply to all videos." Now, your photos will transition quickly to create an animated effect.

Once your stop motion video preview looks good, you can go to the Studio to make other edits like adding a title scene or music. You can use the drag-and-drop controls to reposition your images on the video canvas.

Then, click “Publish” to stitch the images together into a continuous stop motion video.

Kapwing will process your video and return the MP4 file to you. You can share the URL of your final video page or download the stop motion video directly from Kapwing. After you've created your video, share to Facebook and Instagram or send to your friends.

Stop Motion Examples

There are many different subjects that can be used to create fun, funny, or moving stop motion videos. For example, you can use legos or action figures to enact a drama. Claymation is another variety using clay to create your own figurines.

The stop motion technique is popular for students in classrooms and is a great remote learning activity. Here’s a stop motion video that was made by one of Kapwing’s EDU creators on a white board.

Animators can create drawing stop motions using a paper and pen. Alternatively, you can create animations with Kapwing's shapes and design tools.

Of course, stop motion is also possible with "live" photos of people.

Approach 2: Make stop motion from an existing video

If you have an existing video clip, you can apply a Stop Motion effect to transform it by adding pauses between frozen frames. With this technique, you can retroactively add a stop motion feel or use footage from YouTube. Some video types look particularly cool with the stop motion effect:

  • Action clips: Film someone flipping, running, playing, punting, etc
  • A movement or changing expression: Watch something unbelievable happen with great second-by-second views
  • A memorable moment: Bring on the wedding and birthday clips
  • Creative process: Show off the process behind making something complicated
  • A Selfie: Put an original spin on a selfie video or one filmed from your perspective
The stop motion maker from Kapwing
Stop Motion Video Maker home page

Find the Stop Motion Video Maker on Kapwing.com. You can watch this tutorial on how to use the Stop Motion Editor, but the site is totally self-explanatory. Just upload a video, choose a clip rate and speed to customize your output video, and click create.

When you use the Stop Motion maker, your output video can look a bit like Instagram's Boomerang effect. Check out this YouTube video from Fengbo Zheng, one of our awesome creators, showing how to use the Stop Motion tool.