DIY Motion Picture

Let's Get Animated!

Got some time on your hands? Why not make a motion picture ...and by motion picture, I literally mean a picture with movement.

If You Can Dream It, You can Do It. 

For my first motion picture, I went with a classic, Steamboat Willie. Fun fact about this 1928 animation, it is the first cartoon to have fully synchronized sound. Mickey Mouse whistles "Steamboat Bill", a popular tune of its time. It was groundbreaking!  Well done Walt. 

Of course your film can be absolutely anything you'd like.  Here is a step by step guide to building your own in-home movie studio. Scroll to the bottom for a video tutorial. 

Step 1 Get Moving

Start by taping together the portion of your picture that you want to move. I printed and cut three 10 inch landscape scenes to move behind the steamboat, but it turned out I only need two pieces (20 inches when taped together). 

Step 2 Cut it Out 

Having a foreground picture is optional. For my mini movie (pun), I printed a picture from the original cartoon and removed the background with an utility knife. 

Step 3 Box it Up

You can use any box you have on hand. I happen to have an abundance of box tops. Reuse Reduce. 
For a some tips on building out of a cardboard box, here is a great picture tutorial.
Once you have your box, cut a rectangle/square slightly smaller than your photo. If you are using a foreground picture, attach it to the inside of the box. I added a few strips of foam-board to give some depth. 

Step 4 You Spin Me Right Round 

You will need two straws or wooden dowels, or really anything that is long and cylindrical. Cut two holes at the top of your box for each pole.
Because of the open back of my box top, I had to add more foam-board pieces to the bottom to keep my two straws in place. If you end up doing the same, make sure it is not too tight. You want to be able to turn your poles/straws/dowels easily. 

Step 5 Just Roll with It 

Once your poles are in place, glue one side of the moving image to one pole and roll it up. 
Then repeat with the other side. At this point you can see your animation come to life! 
Extra step: I taped a black piece a paper to the inside of the box - not the moving roll of paper just the box - to keep any light from shining through. 

Step 6 ACTION! 

Go ahead, give it a turn. Oh boy! That's swell! Now go the other way and it will look like you are rewinding. 

Here is that video tutorial I promised at the top of the page:


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