A Step-by-Step Guide on how to Transform your Flat Lay Photos into Stop Motion
With almost 5 Million #FlatLay hashtags on Instagram alone, it's no secret that this style of showcasing your product is here to stay. Instead of posting a *boring* static photo to your feed/stories, why not bring the products to life with video?! If you're an influencer, brands will love you for going the extra mile!!! In this blog post/ in the video above, I'm going to show you how to create a flat lay video using stop-motion...and guess what?! You don't need a tripod, DSLR camera or computer!!
WHAT YOU NEED:
Objects for your Flat Lay
My free stop-motion video app, Life Lapse: https://lifelapse.app.link/hTTmWLfHGO
Optional: Bristol board for a colored background
Traditionally with stop motion, you place your camera on a tripod. I understand that everybody may not have access to a tripod and even if you do, it's difficult to get those overhead shots of your product without getting the tripod legs in the shot - unless you have an arm extension on your tripod. That's why I searched around my house for an easy DIY solution for not owning an overhead tripod. The chair & book worked perfectly!!!
Once you download Life Lapse, create a new project. You can do this by click on the "+" icon on the top left-hand side of the screen. Before you place the phone down on the chair to shoot your flat lay, you need to do a couple of things: lock the exposure, white balance & camera orientation AND set up your timer.
You want to get the exposure & white balance on lock-down because you don't want flickering lights/color throughout the video. Especially as you move products in & out of the shot, if the camera isn't locked, the auto settings will be constantly changing. You need to lock the camera orientation because when you put the phone flat down on the book, it may set your project upside down. If you want your video to be verticle, take 1 photo holding your phone upright so the camera icons are upright too.
I always tend to use bright colorful bristol boards for my backgrounds which is why when I'm getting that first shot I lock down white balance, exposure & orientation, I point the camera somewhere near the flat lay that has natural colors & similar lighting. The reason I say neutral is because if you point to let's say a blue painting on your wall, it will offshoot the white balance and your video will have a very yellow look to it. That being said, don't just point it to a white ball, cause then it will be underexposed. This may sound overwhelming, but I promise it's easy and you'll get the hang of it once you start shooting! PS. You can lock the White Balance (AWB) & Exposure (EXP) from the top tool bar in the camera of Life Lapse. You will need to swipe right on the tool bar to see Expsoure lock. You'll know it's locked when the icon is locked....*duh*. lol.
Once that's done, set up your timer. I recommend doing this because it will allow you to focus on moving your objects without having to go back to the camera each time to take the picture. Also, since we don't have the phone on a tripod, it would be easy for your to accidentally move the phone. We don't' want that. You want the phone to be static in the same spot for the whole duration of your making the video. Otherwise, your video will look sloppy! You can activate the timer in the camera mode. Make sure both timer in the top tool bar are activated. If you have just the timer on the far left activated, it means it will only take ONE photo 10 seconds from now. If you have both, it will take a photo EVERY 10 seconds. This is what you want! You can also customize how far apart you want the photo to take - all the way up to 60 seconds apart.
Now that you have all 'yo shiz on lock down, it's time to bring that flay lay to life with video! Place the phone ontop of the book and take your first shot. Once you have the shot, you move your objects A LITTLE BIT in the direction of your choice. If you move your objects too far it will very jolty. That's why you do it little by little, so it looks like it actually moving on it's own. Okay, so once you moved the objects a little bit, wait for Life Lapse to take the next shot - keep an eye on your phone so you know it took....you'll see the shutter go.
How many shots you need is 100% dependant what you want the movement to be. I've done videos with only 9 photos and I've done videos with 40+ photos. Once you're done the video exit the camera. You're going to want to look through the thumbnails and delete shots that your hand may have made it into. You also want to delete that first shot that we took to lock down the exposure, white balance & camera orientation. When you play the video, it's going to look slow AF, so click on the "speed" icon at the bottom of the player and move it more to the right. You can also add music, filters, add a boomerang effect & change the ratio. Slide to the far right of the bottom tool bar to save. :)
If you are using bristol board, I'd recommend taping it to the ground
If you're shooting right beside a window, look outside to see the lighting conditions. If it's overcast or sunny, you're good. If it's sun & cloud - you may want to consider going to a controlled environment to shoot (with a lap), otherwise the lighting may flicker throughout your video.
Change your phone's auto-lock time (can be accessed from Settings> Display & Brightness) so that you can see your screen while you're making the flay lay video. I set mine to "never" while I'm shooting
Think about the motion and how it will look if it's looped on Instagram. If it's short you want it to loop nicely! For example, if you start with a blank slate then you have your product come in - if you don't boomerang it - it will look very jolty when it loops on instagram because the product will come in, then all of a sudden it will start from the beginning and go to the blank slate.
FLAT LAY MOTION IDEAS
Have the items come into frame, then go out
Add motion to only one item so it stand-out. Up & down, back & forth, in & out, etc. This is perfect for influencers that are doing product based sponsored posts
Show the process of something - i.e. A lipstick container opening and the lipstick coming out. Apply boomerang effect so reverses after and you have a fluid video.
If you have any questions or comments or would like to see a different type of tutorial, please comment below!! Also be sure to follow Life Lapse on Instagram to stay inspired with different Flay Lay videos! :) https://www.instagram.com/lifelapse_app