Filmmaking and creative photography in STEAM

School News January 09, 2023
Filmmaking and creative photography in STEAM

Have you ever seen “The Lord of the Rings” or the “Harry Potter” movies? How do you think the filmmakers made some of the actors appear small like a hobbit or tall like Hagrid?

In our STEAM lessons, grade 5 students explored a simple movie effect that can make one actor appear far bigger, or far smaller, than another. We explored it together and understood the idea of forced perspective.

The students learned that while the distant object is much larger than for example their thumb, their thumb can take up the same amount of their visual field as it is much closer to their eye. In the same way, filmmakers can make small things appear bigger or smaller by placing them closer to or farther away from the camera’s lens. Our students did experiments, taking photos of each other, using different objects and showed great creativity.

After mastering their skills in forced perspective, the students got introduced to stop-motion animations! Many films and TV shows use stop-motion animation, including “Wallace and Gromit” and “Shaun the Sheep”, so we watched a couple of examples, and our students planned a very short story that they could film using stop-motion animation. Working in teams, they made a storyboard before starting filming, in order to plan out how the film would look. They used modelling clay or toys to make their characters, some of them added props and even used special led-light boxes to shoot their animations and add attractive backgrounds. Students used a stop-motion software to produce their animations. This has been a valuable experience, as besides gaining new teamworking skills, our students also got exposed to new digital skills, such as adding sound effects, texts, backgrounds, adjusting the length of the video, etc.

After peer evaluation, the best projects were voted for, and the winning teams received house points! STEAM lessons are always fun and full of real-life skills in WAS!