Best Free Stop Motion Software(Trials and fully free versions)

Stop motion animation is more popular than ever. So there are plenty of stop motion apps and softwares out there.

Unfortunately, there is only one completely free stop motion software, and all the others have free versions that have limitations, or free trials for a short period of time.

Best Stop Motion Software

1. qStopMotion

When you want some stop motion software that is completely free, then qStopMotion is a great place to start.

qStopMotion is a free software that can run on Linux as well as Windows. It comes with a simple user interface, which means beginners will find it easy to start with this software.

On the flipside, this app could use a bit of an update. Nevertheless, the company releases regular updates to keep the program running as smoothly as possible, so that is a big plus in our books.

Check them out here

2. Stop Motion Animator 1.1

Contrary to the other options in our overview, Stop Motion Animator 1.1 is an extension for your browser. So, if you do not want to download a program, then Stop Animator 1.1 could be a better option.

To work with this extension, you will need to use a webcam. Alternatively, you can upload previously recorded video from your camera. The latest version of this application also allows you to upload music, which is great for an extension!

And if you have a bit of the programming bug, you can contribute to this extension yourself. The source code for this extension/application is available for everyone to download and contribute to.

Check them out here

2. FilmoraPro(Free with limitations, paid unlimited)

filmora pro

This is a great stop motion option for filmmakers, as it comes with a variety of other features too. However, this particular option stood out for us for one particular reason, as this app stop motion software actually has one of the most user-friendly tools.

Another interesting feature that is included with FilmoraPro is keyframing. For those of you not familiar with keyframing, this is an important feature for anyone passionate about animation.

This feature looks at the a beginning and an end point of a selected video clip. With keyframing, you can select this feature in your free stop motion software and look at options in more detail such as opacity, scale and even positioning.

Evidently, keyframing within a stop motion app requires a bit of research and exploring. Still, if you are serious about your stop motion software and working with films and animation, keyframing is a feature that will become your best friend quickly.

FilmoraPro is available as a free version which has all the editing features but outputs a watermark in the final video. The full version is $149.99.

Download it here

3. Dragonframe(paid)

One of the most popular apps for stop motion is Dragonframe. The reason why this stop motion software is so popular does not have to be sought after for long, because this stop motion software is specifically designed for stop motion animation.

Like FilmoraPro, Dragonframe comes with an easy user interface. So, even if you are a beginner in the world of motion animation, this stop motion software is pretty easy to get the hang of.

Please note that this is the best free stop motion software for animation specifically. In other words, when you want to use stop motion software for filmmaking as well, we recommend one of the other options in the overview.

Check them out here

4. Stop Motion Studio(free with in-app purchases)

stop-motion-studio

While there is plenty of free stop motion software out there, not all stop motion software options offer a lot of versatility. Fortunately, there are some versatile options out there, this includes Stop Motion Studio.

Stop Motion Studio is designed for a variety of platforms, which makes it an amazing stop motion software for anyone on the go. At the time of this article, this stop motion software is suitable for iOS and Android.

Nevertheless, it is not an expensive software and affordable for most beginning filmmakers and animators.

Check them out here

5. Boinx iStopMotion(free trial, $10 app)

istopmotion

While this stop motion software has a really strange name, do not let the difficult name fool you. In fact, this stop motion software is the best option for beginners. Even if you never did stop motion animation before, Boinx iStopMotion makes it incredibly easy.

Boinx iStopMotion is a popular stop motion software for schools, as it has an excellent teaching system. You can try this software out for free and it is available for a variety of platforms.

Like our previous suggestion, Boinx iStopMotion does offer a license option, which means you can purchase a license for this stop motion animation software. Fortunately, the licenses are really cheap and well-worth investing in if you like the free version.

Check it out here

6. Eclipse Stop Motion Pro(free trial, then paid)

stop motion pro

The Eclipse Stop Motion Pro is another popular option currently available. It provides functionalities for most films and animations, and even offers the ability to hook up a webcam or a digital camera.

One of the interesting features about this animation software is the functionality it provides for your webcam or digital camera. With the animation software, you can alter options such as angles and zoom, which offer your better shooting capabilities.

Another great feature of the Eclipse is it has some lip synching features too. So, if you want some animation software that enables you to do voice overs on your created animations, Eclipse is certainly a wonderful option.

Check them out here

7. Frames(30 day free trial, $40 to buy)

frames_logo_50

When you are starting to master your animation efforts and are ready to take the next step where animation software is concerned, it is time to look at Frames. While this is a software you have to pay for eventually, it does offer a thirty-day free trial where you can evaluate the software fully and explore all the stop motion animation features it provides.

When it comes to features Frames is one of the most extensive stop motion animation softwares. Any feature you could possibly think about when it comes to stop motion animation is included here. So, once you become more advanced, this is the option to consider first and foremost.

Check them out here

8. MonkeyJam(completely free)

If you rather not mess around with trials and want stop motion animation software that is completely free, MonkeyJam is the software to look at. The software is designed to capture webcam, camcorder and even scanner, which means you have tons of options to create your animation.

In addition to the basic functionalities in terms of webcam and camcorder upload, it is also possible to import images and sound files that are already on your PC. Interestingly, this stop motion animation software was originally designed to make animations from pen and paper, but it has grown into so much more.

Check them out here

9. IKITMOVIE

Another excellent resource for stop motion animation software is IKITMOVIE. It is a great option for beginners, as the website offers countless resources for animators.

Please note that there is a free version of this software with limits of 10 projects of 10 minutes each, but also a bunch of licensed options. Licensed options are usually most suitable for schools who want their students to learn everything about animation and filmmaking. Schools can look at IKIT to obtain 25 licenses or more at a really affordable price.

Even if you do not end up using IKITMOVIE immediately, it can be a good idea to check out the resources they offer. This website includes some of the best and most detailed instructions on animation and filmmaking, so beginners will find this information invaluable moving forward.

Check them out here

Conclusion

Every stop motion animation option mentioned today has something unique to offer, so it is all about finding that option that meets your target.

If you are into filmmaking, then there is little point to choose a software that is solely designed for animation. If you are into animation on the other hand, then a software created for animation specifically is the best choice.

Evidently, skill level must be considered as well in your selection. Software such as Frames is quite advanced, and not that suitable for beginners.

If you are a beginner, it is usually better to choose something like IKIT or Boinx, as those are specifically designed to teach animation. While they do contain some advanced features too, they take the user by the hand and show features on step at a time.

In conclusion, the best stop motion animation option always matches your skill level, but also the type of film you want to create. So, write down your skill level and your target film first and foremost.

Then, go through our list of free options to determine which matches those two requirements best. Doing so will narrow down the options dramatically, and give you that perfect app in minimal time.

How Do You Set Up Your DSLR Camera For A Stop Motion?

Is this the first time you are using your DSLR camera for a stop motion animation or stop motion photography? If this is the case, then you need some essential information to set up your camera properly. Below, you will all the essential information you need to know about your DSLR camera for stop motion animation and photography.

dslr setup for stop motion

Setting up your DSLR for stop motion

Use a tripod

Before you start shooting, always make sure to use a good tripod. While you may not want to spend the time on your tripod setup, this is absolutely essential for shooting stop motion images.

Of course, not all tripods are made equally, so it is important to do a little research to find a matching tripod for your camera. Obviously, you need a sturdy option, but also one that allows you to adjust when you need to.

With minor adjustments, you find that you have more control over the images you need to shoot. Of course, do not forgot to lock your tripod before you commence shooting.

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Use manual focus

Another big tip for animation shots is to use manual focus. For the best results, you do not want automatic focus to take over, as this could cause minor yet visible changes in your photographs.

The last thing you need is poor focus results when you are shooting a story with images. Instead, use manual exposure and focus for the best results.

Make sure lighting is good

Lighting is also important for stop motion. The lighting needs to be controlled as much as possible, but also needs to be constant to ensure consistency throughout your photographs.

Many animators are tempted to use daylight, but the differences in natural light causes serious differences between one photograph and the next. Where stop motion is concerned, you could ruin your project in a heartbeat.

It’s always better to use additional lighting(like an LED cube) to illuminate your subjects and remove any shadows.

Use a remote

Finally, you want to make sure your camera does not move when you take a shot. After all, it could cause problems with focus, positioning, and more. So, instead of taking the shot on the camera, always use a remote. Most camera brands such as Nikon and Canon have a compatible remote for their cameras.

How Can I Make My Stop Motion Better?

We won’t lie to you, making stop motion is a bit of a learning process. However, using the tips in this overview can help you avoid common problems and get you to master the skill in minimal time.

As already mentioned, one of the first things to do is seek a decent camera with a remote. You should also have the matching tripod, as these three things determine the quality of your stop motion overall.

Stop motion software makes life easier

Once you have the right equipment, you also need some software to help you create your story or film. Much like cameras, you can find software with variable prices, so you can find something to match your needs. There are also some free options out there that can help you get started.

When it comes down to using video editing software, it is a good idea to do a little bit of research first. Not all types of video editing software are great for stop motion. On the flipside, there are some options out there that are specifically designed for stop motion. Evidently, you will find that most of those software options provide the best results.

Let your creativity loose in your characters

Finally, unique subjects can transform your stop motion into a true masterpiece. While you could use basic still objects, you could also create your own clay heroes to rival Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run. So, why not play around with your own creativity and come up with some unique subjects for your film?

What Camera Should I Use For Stop Motion?

The right camera for stop motion is a common question from those who are starting with stop motion animation and photography. And there are plenty of choices too, but which provide you with the best images for your stop motion animation? Here are three of our favorite camera options.

Canon EOS Rebel T6

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is in the medium price range, which means it is affordable for most stop motion enthusiasts. This particular camera is compatible with a variety of lenses, which comes in handy when you want to experiment with different types of stop motion images.

Another big advantage of the Canon EOS Rebel T6 is the settings it comes with. The settings are pretty straightforward, meaning beginners can easily navigate around the settings of this particular camera. Of course, these settings can be customized to meet the preferences for the images you are shooting.

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Nikon D500

One of the more expensive models for stop motion is the Nikon D500. This particular model comes with outstanding video shooting features and fast shutter. In addition to that, this camera is suitable for indoors and outdoors.

There are many reasons why Nikon D500 is one of the better choices for still images and animation shooting, but one of the main reasons is how it supports different types of storage media. Of course, this is a professional piece of equipment and consumers should therefore expect the price to match.

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Conclusion

Although some people prefer using webcams for their stop motion films, you can get much higher quality and better control over your shots with a DSLR.

The keys to using a DSLR for stop motion are to use a tripod for stability, external lighting for better photos, and a remote for shake-free shots!

Stop Motion Tips For Beginners: 6 Great ways to get started

Do you love the idea of creating your own stop motion? Are you playing with ideas for stop motion animations? Could you use some stop motion ideas for beginners to get you started? Then be sure to read on, as we are about to disclose some amazing stop motion ideas beginners can take advantage of.

stop motion characters

Stop motion tips for beginners

Find Characters Everywhere

Some beginners do not even attempt making their own stop motion animation, mainly because they mistakenly believe they have to make their own characters!

While characters resembling Wallace and Gromit’s originality is great, you do not necessarily need to make your own characters for your own stop motion animation.

There are countless objects inside your home that could become characters in your stop motion animation. While we do not suggest using perishables, as this would force you to shoot the stop motion animation very quickly, there are non-perishable objects that could become the stars of your video.

From a selection of storage boxes to shoes and different types of brushes, all objects can become a character in a stop motion animation. So, you do not have to come up with your own characters, simply have a look around your house for some simple stop motion ideas.

Use Your Drawing Skills

While stop motion animation made with clay characters is considered as some of the most popular and best-known type of stop motion animation, this does not mean it is your only option.

In fact, animation ideas reach far beyond that, which includes the world of drawing and painting!

Depending on how advanced an artist you are, you could try some animation ideas on different drawing mediums. You could start with something as simple as a whiteboard and some washable pens.

If you are an accomplished artist, you could use paper or even canvas to bring life to your creations.

One of the additional advantages of drawn stop motion animation is that it is accessible to everyone. The method is affordable and pretty straightforward to execute.

On top of that, this is one of the animation ideas children can get involved in as well. So, if you want to include the entire family, drawing could very well be your chosen stop motion animation.

The Paper And Scissors Method

Anyone thinking of making stop motion animation is usually quite creative from the get-go, and this offers a world of additional possibilities.

Another classic method for stop motion animation is the paper and scissors method, where you cut out shapes and put them on a single color background to create something unique.

There are plenty of examples of stop motion animation made from simple paper shapes and cutouts. We also need to mention that this method is great as a school activity too.

If you are a teacher, you could let children create their own characters from paper and add them to the background for a class-made motion stop.

When you use this particular method, be careful with shadows. Shadows can cause a problem for this type of stop motion, so make sure there is adequate lighting and that the camera stands far enough from the background to avoid these shadows.

Get Into Clay

As we briefly mentioned already, clay is one of the recommended methods for stop motion. In fact, it is one of our favorite animation ideas, as there are countless things you can do with it.

When you need some inspiration where clay stop motion is concerned, we can recommend checking out the animation films made by Aardman. There are plenty to choose from, including Wallace and Gromit.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to make clay characters that are extremely complicated. After all, this would be too complicated for a beginner and might cause you to give up on your stop motion animation ideas.

Instead, we suggest starting with a simple character or two to bring your ideas to life.

If you need an example of simple clay characters, we suggest looking at Purple and Brown from Aardman. These characters are clearly very simple, but they still make an amazing animation.

Plan Ahead

One of the most important things to create a successful stop motion projects is to plan ahead. While you may create the best characters and have the best camera to shoot video or photographs, your stop motion will not amount to much if you do not plan ahead.

Planning the photographs ahead of shooting your animation or video can be extremely useful. You will need to plan at least ten photographs for each second of your stop motion.

Evidently, this means you will need to take an astronomical of photographs, but also that you will need a detailed plan for an outstanding stop motion video.

Use The Right Camera Techniques

Stop motion is also about using the right camera techniques. Obviously, you want to obtain a fluid motion from beginning to end, so camera techniques is something you should pay extra attention too. Fortunately, camera techniques are pretty straightforward for stop motion.

One of the first things to do is to use the remote for your camera. Hitting the button yourself can cause the camera to move, so using a remote for stop motion can prevent this tricky issue.

Secondly, make sure your lighting is consistent while you take stop motion video or photographs. Doing so ensures your results are consistent, and create a fluid stop motion going forward.

Before you start shooting your stop motion, make sure your camera settings are set and do not have to be changed while you are shooting. Remember, you will be taking hundreds of photos, so the last thing you need is a problem because of these settings somewhere in the middle.

It can also be useful to shoot some test photographs or video for your stop motion. Once you start shooting, you cannot change any settings, lighting, or other variables. So, you must ensure that your stop motion photographs or video are perfect from the start.

And finally. we also recommend taking more photographs than you actually need for your stop motion. You never know if there is a small error in one of your photographs, and the last thing you want is starting your stop motion all over again. So, just start taking extra photographs for great results and to avoid problems.

Summary

Stop motion photography and video is straightforward once you have done it for a while, but it can feel quite daunting for beginners.

Nevertheless, if you follow the tips provided in this overview, you will find that stop motion video and photographs are a lot easier than you thought.

Remember, creating good stop motion is all about creating a unique world and matching characters, but also dedication when it comes to your initial setup and shooting photographs and video.

While it will take a little extra time to make everything perfect, it does save you lots of time later during the editing stage of your video animation.

In conclusion, stop motion video requires a bit of dedication and creativity, but it is certainly something everyone can get involved in.

From kids at school to adults who want to create their own animations, everyone can get involved in this fun and unique hobby. Of course, it could even become a money maker if you find the right combination!

Best Clay For Stop Motion: 3 options and how to get started

Clay has always been a wonderful tool for stop motion claymation. Clay animations are pretty timeless, and definitely a point of interest for those who are interested in making their own creative animations. But, which is the best clay for stop motion animation (also known as claymation)?

best clay for stop motion

Best Clay for Stop Motion

There are numerous clays that are used in claymation movies, so your options are not limited to a single type. Popular options are usually oil-based clays, especially those from brands such as Van Aken, Sagent Art, and Puppet Putty. Each of these types of clay has its benefits, which we will not discuss.

1. Van Aken

This is one of the most popular clays for clay animation worldwide. While you would expect this clay to be expensive, it is anything but! The oil based clay is also available in an amazing range of colors, so you can get your creativity to run free.

Interestingly, Van Aken oil based clay is also easy to mix, which enables you to make new colors. If you make lots of claymation videos, it certainly proves useful to save some money by making your own colors.

As with all brands of clay, Van Aken actually changes its ingredients over the course of time. As the ingredients change, it can change some of the properties of the clay, so it is vital to keep an eye on any changes.

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2. Sagent Art

Another great option for claymation is the Sagent Art brand. The clay is easy to sculpt and contains that perfect blend of wax and colors that make this a great option for your claymation.

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3. Puppet Putty

Even if you are hooked on Van Aken animation clay, it is certainly an option to look at Puppet Putty too. Actually, this clay is designed for claymation specifically. And, the most interesting thing about this option, Puppet Putty is made completely by hand.

It is not uncommon for claymation fanatics to mix their Puppet Putty with Van Aken clay. Doing so makes the clay a little heavier thanks to the Van Aken clay, but it also makes it more flexible thanks to the natural properties of Puppet Putty.

Check them out here

How Do You Make A Stop Motion Clay Character?

Making a claymation character can be quite simple, but also very complicated. Once you have the right clay, and an idea for a stop motion animation character, you can start experimenting to your heart’s content.

One of the first things you need to ask yourself is if you need armature. An armature is basically a skeleton for your character, which can support arms, legs and a head. Not all clay animation characters need an armature, so it all depends on the character you have in mind. Usually, we do not recommend experimenting with armature shapes until you made a couple of clay animation characters already.

The easiest way to make your first clay character for an animation is to use simple shapes. In other words, you will make animation characters that do not have any arms or legs, which would otherwise require an armature. Also, the heads you create for these characters are usually on the body, so be sure to keep the design simple.

If you are unsure about the clay character you should start with, you can find plenty of examples online that can teach you the ropes. Just remember, only try clay characters without the armature to begin with. Once you become more proficient with your oil-based clay and your animation characters, you can look into create your own wire armature for more advance animation characters.

What Clay Is Used For Wallace And Gromit?

One of the best known animation shows that uses clay characters is Wallace and Gromit. As this is an extremely popular animation, many beginners often wonder which clay is used for this particular show.

The unique characters in Wallace and Gromit are made from Newplast. The clay is manufactured by a company in Devon, England. Their clay is used for more than just Wallace and Gromit though, because their clay is also used for Chicken Run and Shaun The Sheep.

When you search for Newplast, be sure not to confuse it with Newclay. This procedure is also made by the same company, but it is an air-drying modelling clay. The company also makes Uro, a heat-curing polymer clay. Evidently, the polymer clay and the air-drying clay are hard-drying and are not as suitable for your animation purposes.

What Popular Movies Are Claymation?

There are a number of movies that are animations with clay characters. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the movies are made by the same people who make Wallace and Gromit.

The Boxtrolls

This is one of the few movies that is not made by Aardman Studios, the people who make Wallace and Gromit. However, it does include a number of famous voices in the form of Ben Kingsley and Simon Pegg. It is also one of the most original approaches to animation with clay characters, so well worth watching for those starting out with this type of animation.

Paranorman

Another release from the people behind our previous suggestion. Once again, the filmmakers took an original approach. Instead of using full clay characters, they used three dimensional printed faces on the clay characters.

Mary And Max

This is undoubtedly one of the movies that is lesser known, despite its rather in-depth story. Mary and Max was made in Australia and brings something completely different than the usual humoristic animation content.

The story of Mary and Max is a bit darker than the average animation story, but that did lead to a true masterpiece and opened up a world of possibilities in the world of claymation. It also touched upon several serious mental health themes, including addiction, loneliness, and mental illness. Any beginner that wants to create something unique should take a page out of the book of this film.

Wallace And Gromit In The Curse Of The Were Rabbit

The Wallace and Gromit films are some of the best-known around the world, so it is no surprise this movie made our overview of must-see claymation films. While the series and films may seem straightforward, there is a secret behind this animation.

Contrary to some animations that are either meant for adults or children, Wallace and Gromit managed to combine both. This immediately explains why the show and the films remained so popular over the years.

Chicken Run

One of the most popular animations with clay characters to date is Chicken Run. Once again, the characters were created by Aardman, which explains the similarities with the Wallace and Gromit characters.

Chicken Run got more attention worldwide thanks to Aardman’s cooperation with Dreamworks. There were also some real famous voice actors in the form of Mel Gibson and Timothy Spall.

Another interesting fact about Chicken Run, it was the highest grossing stop motion film in history. So, beginners and even advanced filmmakers can learn a lot from what this movie brings.

A Close Shave

This is another Wallace and Gromit film dating back to 1995. It became a classic in the United Kingdom and then took over the world. The interesting part about it is that this film is only half an hour long. Despite its short length, new characters such as Shaun The Sheep and Justin Fletcher were introduced to the public.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

That’s right. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a claymation! Of course, this film contains some of the most unique characters ever seen. However, the use of clay was the right choice, as the character’s contortions and unique movements made this film as brilliant as it was. In fact, The Nightmare Before Christmas became a classic in minimal time.

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

If the characters look a little familiar, it won’t surprise you that this film was another creation from Aardman Studios. This was their first film released in 3D too, which made it a bit more special and proved to the world this movie style was still relevant.

Of course, this movie is worth a watch just because of the interesting cast, ranging from Hugh Grant and David Tennant to Imelda Staunton and Martin Freeman.

Where Do I Start?

This is a lot of information to take in, but don’t worry. Even if you just start out with clay stop motion, there are so many helpful tools online to help you get going.

To get you started with stop motion, we recommend designing your main character or characters. You should also look at obtaining a good camera and stop motion editing software to match. That is all you need to start getting creative!

Documentary script templates: Guidelines for writing effectively

A script template is a structure that defines how the visual, aural, behavioral, and lingual elements of a documentary, video, movie or drama will appear in the post-production stage.

A good template extends an outline that paints a picture of how the final product will look like. Hence, you can prepare, arrange, and proceed with your documentary project.

If you’ve found this blog post because you’re searching for tips on how to prepare a template or shot list for your documentary project, you’ve come to the right place.

Here is our quick guide on how to write a documentary script and script templates to help you.

How Do You Write a Script for a Documentary?

When writing a script, think of it as a guide and prepare to slice, dice, and modify it during your video editing process. A lot of things tend to change during this process. Some scenes and quotes that didn’t seem important during the scripting process may become significant during editing.

There’s no perfect formula when it comes to writing a script for your documentary or film. Just start writing the script and find what works for your story.

Below are some few key points on how to write the perfect script templates for your documentary:

  1. Research: Before you start writing your script or outline, ensure you dig deeper into every important detail. This way, you’ll be able to come up with the best documentary idea.
  2. Prepare a list: Make a list of potential interviews, characters, drama, and basic storylines.
  3. Prepare a shooting script or outline: When preparing a documentary, you can’t have a script until after the video footage has been shot. That’s the only time you’ll be able to piece the story together based on your discovery. However, making a template, outline or shot list in advance will help point you in the right direction.
  4. Be creative: You need to come up with unique and creative ways to spice up your documentary and wow your audience. A great script will include special elements like shot list, time-lapse, stop motion, recreations, background music, and even animation. Documentaries deal with real people and real issues that touch them. Therefore, your script should capture your viewers emotionally.
  5. Decide the style you want: Decide the style, look, and feel of your documentary. You can search for web videos online to get inspiration for your documentary. Netflix is a great place to start.
  6. Get funding for your project: You need to raise enough funds for your documentary. Luckily, due to advancements in technology, you can get multiple resources on the internet. These will help you produce a high-quality documentary on a budget. You can also get funding from like-minded individuals, nonprofit organizations, companies, etc.
  7. State your point of view: Sometimes it may seem hard to present facts and opinions without been biased. As a director or producer, you need to be flexible enough to allow the story to unfold. Even if it will take a different direction than you expected. Deciding in advance what you want your documentary to transmit, can only bear fruits if you present the message to your audience with clarity. This will compel your viewer to connect with your project. Whether they agree or disagree.
  8. Create mini-scenes: Divide your video footage into mini-scenes. That way, your documentary will have interesting mini-stories.
  9. Evaluate the big picture: After reviewing your video footage, you’ll notice that new characters and plots have surfaced. Include them in a way that will make your documentary worthwhile.
  10. Transcribe your video footage: It may be a tedious and difficult task, but worth the effort.
  11. Hero and villain: Determine the heroes and villains in your story.
  12. Create a Roller coaster: Decide on the kind of ride you want to take your audience on.
  13. Start strong: This will help grab your audience’s interest and hook them during the early stages. Creating curiosity and suspense will compel your viewers to continue watching your documentary until the very end.
  14. Making documentary script templates: You can make your script using a 2-column script template. One column for video and the other one for audio.

Do Documentaries Need a Script?

Naturally, all documentaries are unscripted. Since you cannot fully predict how the events will turn out in your documentary, you cannot write your script beforehand. You will only be able to prepare your documentary script template after collecting interviews, research, and data. After the footage has been shot and you have gathered all the facts and materials, you can now sit down and write your script and narration.

A script template will help you create an exciting story from your raw footage. After examining all the raw video footage, you will be able to come up with a good outline for your documentary script template. It may seem daunting at first but as you arrange the clips into sequences, the big picture will begin to unfold and you’ll be able to tell your story the way you want it.

Related

Does Microsoft Word Have a Script Template?

The answer is a resounding yes. You can create documentary script templates on Microsoft Word. However, setting up everything correctly with MS Word is not going to be easy. This is because you’re trying to create your new own scriptwriting program.

Microsoft Word is a very sophisticated program and if you have mastered its advanced features, you can set it up to do many tasks using macros, hotkeys, templates, and other methods. With MS Word, there’s no need for buying scriptwriting software which can cost you hundreds of dollars.

Microsoft Word is one of the most powerful programs and can be used to make professional script templates. You can use macros or create your own custom style and formatting options. MS Word will enable you to produce great script templates for your new documentary or film in no time.

What Are the 5 Elements of a Documentary?

Making a high-quality documentary film requires a lot of planning, preparation, and incorporating all elements of a good documentary.

Below are the 5 elements you need to make a good documentary film:

Narration

Narration is the inclusion of a voice over (narrator’s voice) in a documentary in order to help the audience understand what is happening in the documentary. It also provides them with relevant information. Sometimes the Narrator can be visible on the screen. A good documentary narration should have a clear and logical structure to help the viewer to fully understand the subject.

Interviews

Interviews should be included in order to provide eyewitness statements, expert knowledge, and context to the documentary. However, you need to edit the interviews so that the interviewees’ statements can fit into the logical structure of the narrative of your documentary.

Live Location Shots

Location shots are sometimes included at the beginning to provide a setting for your narrative. They are very important especially when discussing or showing where particular events took place. If it’s a historical event, you can use computer-generated reconstructions to paint a picture in the viewer’s mind of how the location looked like.

Music and Sound

Music and sound are integral parts of many sections of documentaries. They add drama, emotional tone, suspense, and generate a sense of irony to documentary films.

Graphics

Graphics are visual scenes that appear on the screen but in the actual sense were not filmed. They are widely used in the opening titles, subtitles, translated text, credits, etc. Computer-generated graphics are often used to create images of ancient buildings, extinct animals, and nonexistent objects. You can also use graphics to explain ideas in a visual diagrammatic form.

Conclusion

Next time when making your documentary script template, know that it’s nothing more than just a well-written description of what you expect your audience to see, hear, and experience on the screen. Good documentary script templates should be able to capture the targeted audience’s imagination.

If you are writing a script for the first time, the templates above will assist you in the whole process. This guide was expertly designed to help you come up with a great template for your next project.

Documentary Film Schools: 9 Best programs to apply to

Documentary filmmaking is an amazing way to express ideas to a large audience in a way that’s fun and informational at the same time. You can go to some specialized documentary film schools to learn how to make documentaries.

Even though film schools in the United States are many, there aren’t many that offer a specific program targeted to documentary filmmaking.

Some programs are affiliated with universities but mostly independent, and others may have a few courses within the filmmaking department. Other colleges may have documentary filmmaking-specific courses under the journalism or communications programs.

This actually makes sense, since there are so many different kinds of documentaries: feature films, TV shows, or even short films.

Below, we have listed what we feel are the best documentary film programs and schools. Remember that each kind of program has its own format, so you’ll need to consider that before you apply. In some cases, you’ll just be able to sign up for the course.

In other cases, you’ll need to enroll into a larger degree program, and in other cases, you can find documentary making classes within other liberal arts programs.

Film schools that have documentary filmmaking courses

1. Stanford University MFA program in Documentary Film and Video

MFA stands for Masters of Fine Arts, and the Stanford program is one of the top documentary filmmaking programs available. The program is 2 years, and incredibly exclusive: only 8 students are accepted every year. Once you graduate, you can teach documentary filmmaking at university level yourself.

Throughout the course, you will learn about the artistic side of filmmaking as well as the history, skills you can use to make documentaries, and of course, the assignments you complete will help you form a portfolio of documentaries before you graduate.

Read more at their website

2. University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts

Our next choice for the top documentary film school isn’t necessarily number 2 on the list, but we would consider it on par or even better than the Stanford University program.

While the focus of the program is not specifically on documentaries, students can choose to focus on fiction and non-fiction filmmaking.

Fiction and non-fiction both go hand in hand in making compelling films. Learning fiction filmmaking helps you tell a good story that keeps your audience hooked, and learning non-fiction filmmaking will help you make better characters and let you develop more realistic and believable stories.

Read more at their website

Liberal arts colleges with film courses

3. Columbia College Chicago

Home to the largest film school program in the United States, Columbia College Chicago is unique among liberal arts colleges. On the surface, it would seem like any other liberal arts college and the courses they offer are quite similar. However, they have a large Cinema Art and Science department, which has the Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary Film.

Columbia College Chicago offers more than 30 classes in documentary filmmaking. Most of these will be part of the Cinema Arts and Science program but some courses will fall under the Television department too.

Read more at their website

4. American University School of Communications

The Center for Media and Social Impact at the American University School of Communications literally wrote the book on documentary filmmaking. They have published the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, which is still considered to be the manual for documentary films.

Interestingly enough, the American University also has a dedicated sub-specialization within filmmaking called the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, which makes this school a huge plus for students who wish to specialize in environmental and nature films.

Read more at their website

Related

5. UC Berkeley School of Journalism (Documentary Film Program)

UC Berkeley has one of the best Journalism Schools in the United States. Within the Journalism school, you can learn about documentary filmmaking. The unique thing about UC Berkeley is a focus on television documentaries(not necessary feature films).

Television documentaries are growing in demand and popularity, and final submissions by students are often picked up for primetime broadcasting by PBS and cable TV networks.

Students’ projects also get regular exposure in regional broadcasts and at film festivals.

Read more at their website

6. Duke University Center for Documentary Studies

One of the first documentary film programs in the USA is at Duke University. The Center for Documentary Studies has a very wide array of classes that lead into a documentary filmmaking education. These start with comparatively simple topics like photography and build up into the production and academic facets of making documentaries.

Duke is home to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival which takes place annually and is one of the best documentary film festivals in the country.

You can opt to enter their undergrad program, work on an MFA, or take their continuing education classes which anyone can enroll in during the summer.

Read more at their website

Documentary film courses

7. Maine Media Documentary Film School

At Maine Media you can attend a four week workshop on documentary filmmaking. You’ll participate in hands-on sessions in making documentaries. The topics you’ll study include researching, developing, producing, editing, and how to work as a team. Films created through the program have been featured at festivals and broadcasted nationally on public television.

Read more at their website

8. New York Film Academy

Interestingly enough, the New York Film Academy’s documentary workshop/course is offered in both New York City and Los Angeles. This is a one year course divided into two semesters.

You’ll start out with the history of the subject matter, as well as the artistic side of it, and you’ll progress to hands-on filmmaking as well. You’ll be shooting various documentaries during this program and your passing will be subject to a completed thesis film.

Read more at their website

9. George Washington University

George Washington University has a six month program for learning documentary filmmaking. It is very intense and covers a lot of subject matter, split into two. The first is the history of documentary film and why it is such an important genre, mixed in with some camera workshops.

The second is a project where the students work as a group to create a short documentary all the way from concept to final product.

You will learn about everything including genres, lighting, shooting, editing, and screenwriting.

Read more at their website