I’m the king of the Stikbots!!

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I got my first video camera when I was about 14 years old.  And as soon as I figured out how to use it I was trying to make stop-motion videos.  But clunky old VHS camcorders weren’t made to do stop motion so of course my experiments never worked out.  Ever since then I harbored a secret desire to create a successful and GOOD stop motion video.  So when I heard that Zing Toys was running a Stikbot-themed video contest for stop-motion animators I decided to go all in and create the biggest, craziest, most epic entry I could.  (Stikbots are these amazing little robot guys that kids use to make stop-motion videos on their cell phones.)  I was hoping that maybe I’d place in the top three but I actually wound up winning the $15,000 grand prize!!  Here’s my submission:

I’m very proud of this win and I’m extremely proud of my entry.  There was no public voting so a panel of judges picked all the winners.  And as a nice little bonus, it seems like Stikbot fans really liked the entry too.  The view count for this video just kept going up and up and up and it’s currently at 147,000 views.

I probably put at least 60 hours of work into this project since I was basically learning stop motion by trial and error.  I figured out a lot of helpful tricks during this shoot and by the end, things were moving really quickly.  So I think I might try and do more stop motion videos in the future. For anyone who may be interested, I shot this video with my Canon T4i.  To eliminate camera shake, I used a 2 second timer to take each photo.  I wanted the lighting to look as natural as possible so I used a very fast lens.  But that gave me a really narrow depth of field sometimes.  So in close-ups, one stikbot would be in focus and the one behind it would be soft.

The entire process was kind of grueling but I did have fun.   It was definitely the most creatively challenging video contest entry that I’ve ever done.  Here are some behind the scene pics:

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My stikbot set. I only made one small section of the cave and I used photoshop to make it seem bigger.
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Here’s the wideshot I used in the video.
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And here’s what the shot look like before I photoshopped it.
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I’m not sure if many people actually noticed this but I put a working LED light inside a toy lantern.
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This set was pretty much dirt, sticks, lease and some fake Halloween moss.
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I found that Sticky-Tack was the secret to getting a Stikbot to hold things. You can see some on this guy’s left hand.
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Here’s a shot of the bots falling into the cave.
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And here’s that same shot before I erased the rig I used to drop them.

Zing is actually planning to do another big Stikbot contest this fall so if you’re interested in entering you should watch their facebook page for updates.