Shooting a stop-motion project is difficult and time-consuming. That’s why you should fake it. In this quick guide, we’ll show you how.

A while back, I produced a tutorial showing users how to get started creating stop motion videos. In that video, I show how to animate a basic paper crumple effect. The shot consists of a crumpled paper moving onscreen, uncrumpling, recrumpling, and then moving back off screen. To achieve the popular blocky-style look, I shot 50 images to create a 5-second animation at 10 fps. Yeah, all of this work for 10 seconds of video.

As I’m sure you’re already aware, it takes a bit of time to set up, shoot, and edit a proper stop motion shot. In the tutorial above, I focus on a few basic production techniques, including camera position and angle, lighting, and editing an image sequence. But, let’s say that we’re working on a project that’s already shot, and we want to achieve this same blocky animation look. How can we make this happen on an existing video clip? It’s actually quite simple.


Faking the Look in Post

Creating this look is really as simple as applying a default effect in Adobe Premiere Pro. As I mentioned before, the blocky animation shot I created in the previous tutorial was shot and edited at 10 fps. To recreate this look, I simply need to set the frame rate of my existing clip to the same fps. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1 — Go to Window > Effects and search for the Posterize Time effect.
  • Step 2 — Apply Posterize Time to your clip(s)
  • Step 3 — Adjust the Frame Rate to 8-12 fps

While 10 fps will give me a nice, blocky look, I can always test out different rates for different results. The composition, movement, and frame rate of the original shot will certainly play into the final look. For example, shots with little to no motion blur work best.

But what else can I accomplish with this effect? Well . . .


The Old Film Look

A great use of the Posterize Time effect is helping simulate the slow frame rates of older cameras. Use this effect in conjunction with other effects to create a very realistic old film look. For example, I’ll set Posterize Time anywhere between 8-12 fps, and then add the Lumetri effect to desaturate, lower the contrast, and add a vignette. To apply this look to a large number of clips, I can simply apply all of the effects to an adjustment layer, instead of individual shots.


Motion Graphics

Apply Posterize Time to your motion graphics to quickly change the look of your design. For this example, I’ve gone into Premiere Pro’s Essential Graphics panel and found a motion graphics template. I’ve specifically picked one that has a “fluid” look. Once I’ve placed the graphic on the timeline, I’ll add Posterize Time, and set it to 8 fps. Take a look at the difference between 8 fps and 24 fps.

In addition to these ideas, you can also use Posterize Time to create flashbacks, dream sequences, or even a drunken or drugged POV shot. The creative possibilities are vast.


Looking for more post-production tips and tricks? Check out these articles.