The Lego Studios Movie Maker combines an innovative toy with simple but useful video-editing software. The system comes accompanied with all the Legos and accessories you need to create and record a dinosaur adventure movie. The process uses stop-motion digital video technology to allow users to shoot, edit and export their own masterpiece. The system is a user-friendly kit for filmmaking. The following is a guide to creating your own action/adventure movie with the Lego Studios Movie Maker.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Lego Studio Movie Maker
Start with a script. Organise your ideas into a cohesive story with an introduction, conflict, climax, resolution and conclusion in that order. Once you have your script ready you can create a story board. A story board is basically a box-by-box paper drawing of what each shot will look like. Movies rarely shoot in the order they appear in the script but are instead grouped together based on similar time of day, background and characters. Your story board will then allow you to write up your shot sheet. A shot sheet is a list of shots you need to acquire in the order you need to acquire them.
Build your characters. All of your characters can be created with the selection of Legos that comes with the set. There are instructions to building Lego-inspired characters or you can use your own ideas to create original characters. The sets and props need to be constructed, as well. This particular set comes with the basics of a dinosaur movie, based on Stephen Spielberg’s "Jurassic Park." Depending on how familiar you are with Legos, this step could take you a considerable amount of time so be sure to plan for building time.
Record your movie. There is a set of studio lights provided that snap together quickly. The tiny USB camera that comes with the kit records at 15 fps (frames per second). Character movement is created by moving the character a fraction of an inch and capturing in a still and so on. The process is extremely time-consuming and takes a great deal of precision and patience. You can hold the camera yourself or use the included trucking equipment to mount it and movie it around with ease. If you don’t have much experience with camera work, the user manual gives you plenty of pointers and suggestions.
Edit your film. Lego Studio Movie Maker comes with real moviemaking software from a company called Pinnacle which also gave us the popular movie editing program Pinnacle Studio 10. The version that comes with the Lego set is designed so that even an 8-year old can use it with little to no complications. Once you upload your footage into the system you can drag and drop scenes into a timeline where you can cut them, which is as easy as clicking and dragging starting and ending points of the clip itself. You can then add any of the many included special effects or animation to make the shots come to life.
Add sound. Once you have your shots arranged in your timeline, you can use the microphone in the camera to record your own sound. The software is also loaded with an assortment of sounds and music licensed by Pinnacle. The timeline uses 2 separate tracks for audio. I would suggest one for sound and the other for music. Once again, it is as simple as dragging and dropping your audio clips into the time line and dragging the starting and ending points to cut them. You can add your own music as well but the software only allows for WAV files (the kind used to record CDs) and does not support MP3 files.
Export your finished product. The software uses a menu to offer a one-click solution. If you wish to upload your video to the Internet, you will want to export your movie as an Mpeg. This file format is compact and easy to store on a server. If you wish to make a DVD of your movie that you can play for your friends and family, you will want to export your movie as an AVI file. This file format has a better resolution and a larger screen size for viewing. Once you export your AVI you can burn it to a DVD for sharing.
Tips and warnings
- Get all the shots in a particular setting while you still have it set up. You don’t want to go back and remake everything.
- Before you export your movie, add credits. If you become famous one day people will want to see where you started.
- The included camera has no zoom feature, so when you plan your shots you will want to plan for a truck in, instead of a zoom.
- Do not to touch or bump the area where you are shooting. Even a small non-planned movement will throw your scene off and you may have to start from scratch.
- If you wish to use your own music, check that you are not violating any copyright laws.