Creating a stop-frame animation film with campers isn't as hard as it sounds! You just need a few free programs and a little creativity. After the group thinks up a general storyline for the Trickfilm, they need to start taking the photographs. Move each figure in the shot a tiny bit before taking the next picture. You'll need a lot (thousands) of pictures to make a film that lasts a few minutes. After you've got the pictures for a scene, use these programs to turn them into a movie (complete these steps for each scene in your movie):

1. Tinypic--most newer digital cameras take pictures with a really high resolution. The large file size bogs down the programs you'll need to use to make the Trickfilm, so you'll either need to manually set the camera to take smaller sized pictures, or convert them to a smaller size using the program Tinypic. It's super easy and fast to use, and as a bonus, it's a German program! It's available at:

2. Irfanview--next, look through the pictures. Chances are there are at least a few with someone's hand or finger in them, or pictures where the figures have fallen down, which will need to be deleted. The villagers will probably need to take the pictures over a series of days as well, so if anyone else is using the camera in the meantime, the pictures will need to be renumbered so that there are no "holes" in the numbering system. For example, if you have pictures numbered 1, 2, 3, and 5, the program needs to have a number 4, so it will insert a black screen where the 4 is missing. Irfranview quickly renames all of the pictures in your scene to solve this problem. From the File menu, choose Batch Conversion/Rename. Make sure the batch rename option is chosen. Then choose the correct folders for the input and output (be sure to create a new folder for the renamed pictures), make sure that the pictures are in the correct order in the input file box, and then start the batch. Viola--in a few seconds you'll have chronologically numbered pictures! The program is available at:

3. VirtualDub--now you're ready to finally turn the individual pictures into an animated scene for your movie! Be sure that all of your renumbered pictures are in their own folder, and then simply drag the first picture into the VirtualDub program. The program will automatically link them together to make your scene animated! If you're happy with the way it turns out, you can save it as an .avi file. The program is available at:

Once your scenes are finished, import them into Windows Movie Maker (or another program). Then you can also add a title, credits, and lots of fun effects. The best part, though, is that you can have the villagers record themselves speaking to make the dialogue for the movie, and add it to the film. You can also add sound effects and music.

To see an example of a Trickfilm villagers made in 2009, click on the link below: