4th graders are embarking on a project I've been wanting to try to for a couple of years. We are going to do collaborative lip sync rotoscope animated movies. Each class of 4th grade will make a patriotic movie using their artwork and voice. Together their words or phrases will be edited together to recite the preamble of the constitution, the pledge of allegiance, and the ending of The Colossus poem on the State of Liberty.
1. Assign parts
I went through each of the patriotic themed pieces and broke it into enough "parts" that each student could contribute one word or phrase. I wanted each part to be only 1 second of video if possible. This would keep the number of drawings somewhere between 5-8.
The week before we draw the rotoscope, we record video of each student speaking their part into the camera. I used an iRig microphone to help get better audio. Since audio really counts for this project, I needed to ask all the students for full cooperation. I gave them paper and monster packets to draw from as they waited for their classmates to be recorded.
I set up each video with a tight close up so that students could easily draw their face and the changes in their expression and mouth as they say their word or phrase. I use the iOgrapher tripod mount for my iPad so that I would have steady footage.
3. Prep the footage
I always leave a bit of lead and end time when I film so that no words are cut off. This means that the footage I took of the students needs trimming. After I transfer my files to my desktop (via dropbox or google drive app) I pull up each clip in quicktime, trim, and rename the file to "number_phrase_studentName". This puts all the files in order which will help for future editing.
4. Prep for Rotoscoping
This handout helps students get their video imported into the Do Ink Animation app to the correct layer, add some transparency, get a small frame rate, adjust ghost images (I find them distracting in this project so I turned them off), and set up the brush tool.
5. Contour Line Drawing
Students will be lead through the first drawing so I can share my recommendations for how to draw the features of the face in a simple but accurate way. This contour line drawing lesson will help them get into a good pattern of attention to detail and accuracy.
6. Putting it all together
4-1 and 4-2 The Preamble of the Constitution
4-4 Pledge of Allegiance Lip Sync
This video introduces the idea of contour line drawings.
This Rotoscope video will inspire your students.
Contour line drawing extension:
The students uploaded their favorite single still image from their rotoscope animation to Artsonia. This gallery description lead viewers (parents) to links to their movies. The image was drawn fast and without much art instruction since the focus of our class time was creating a series of drawings to make the rotoscope animation. Eventually, I would like students to spend some time working with their portrait drawing to take it to the next level using Colorscape app. This app will allow them to improve on their drawings and color the art without disturbing the black lines.
Last year my fifth graders made collaborative rotoscope animations that we put into flipbookit.com mutoscopes. It was pretty amazing to see digital art become physical through this fun viewer. See the post with all the how tos here. Below is the display I set up this school year showcasing their flipbookits. I used this display to introduce the concept to my 4th graders.
..and other Individual Rotoscope Animation Ideas
One of the super cool things about Do Ink Animation and Drawing app is that you can pull in photos or videos and draw over them. Drawing over each frame of a video is a technique called Rotoscope Animation. You probably have seen this technique in the famous music video from the 80's A-Ha's Take Me On. I also LOVE this music video and song by Andrew Huang, Every Night I Dream of Dancing, which is a rotoscope collaboration using 30 artists crowdsourced through the internet.
I tried many ways to instruct my students to create rotoscope animations collaboratively, but I've yet to have them create their own...until now. I think I've come up with some ideas that can make this project manageable for very little people.
I'm super excited to have found the Flipbookit in my Twitter feed a month or so ago. The discovery came at a time where I was thinking about how to display our class animations as I was preparing for rotoscope animations lesson with my 5th graders. What a perfect solution. The flipbookit is a DIY kit that creates a retro styled mutoscope, an early motion picture hand cracked flipbook device. This box has a crank that spins a rolodex of cards that you can customize through their online tool printed on labels. It took me 1 hour to put the box together and 1/2 hr to print, stick, and load the art. They are too expensive to have each student make their own, but because of their design, they make for a really simple all class rotoscope collaborative project. I'll try to explain.
Want a high tech option?
We now have a class set of iPads available so I designed a lesson to try an iPad Rotoscope Animation collaboration. It's the same idea but no need for transparencies, scanning, or printing. Everything is organized and created digitally. Explore it here.
I have done a presentation called Creative Digital Projects that turn Stem to STEAM at three conferences over the past couple of years. These 45-50 minute presentations include a bizillion ideas in a media packed keynote file that I have trouble sharing online. However I did create a condensed version of the presentation for the AOE Online Conference last summer. The presentation has been behind a pay wall for one year and can finally come out for public consumption now. The following lessons are shared in the video below. Learn more from my links. Also, see Wes Fryer's review of my live presentation at the Illinois Computer Educator's Conference here.
UPDATE: NEW SONG RECORDED TO INSPIRE YOU TO VOTE:)
As many of you may already know, Dryden has a project, Rotoscope Animation on iPads, in the running for $15,000 on the McGraw-Hill STEMie Awards. That would buy a lot of iPad for our students! Please help us with your vote. You have to login first with an email then vote. That's all! Thanks so much to all the Tweeple that have been helping to spread the word! See below:
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