Digital storytelling is a very broad topic so I’ll focus on two types–the Common Craft style and stop motion animation. Common Craft is a company that explains complex topics using a combination of stick figures and simple drawings. Libraries in the Internet Age is a good example of their work. You can head over to their website for more examples.

Another good example of this style of video is Casey Neistat’s Draw My Life.


Stop Motion animation is based on the idea that you string a number of still photos together in software like iMovie and then have them play back in sequence. This video from Mashable gives a quick explanation.

There are a lot more videos that explain stop motion. Here’s one that shows how to make a lego movie and another more general tutorial from Sony.


You don’t need much. Here are the basics:

  • camera: a camera phone is fine.
  • tripod or stabilisation system. Your camera needs to be rock solid. (We have various tripods/tools available in the EdTech Office if you need some help with this.)
  • editing software to put it all together i.e. iMovie
  • good light: You don’t need to get too fancy here but you do want to control your light. Work near a window. Use a desk lamp. Do what it takes to make it consistent.

iPhone or iPad Apps

There are some apps that can streamline the process. iMotion and Stop Motion are both free and can help get the job done.

Things to Remember

  • Have a script. Write down exactly what you want to say and then animate to that. It helps to mark in your script what will be happening in the animation. Pages or Word work fine for simple projects. Celtx is a good free option for scriptwriting for more complex projects. You can learn more about scriptwriting from this post I wrote earlier.
  • Storyboarding is a great way to organise your ideas. Here’s a simple template from Pens to Lens.
  • You don’t need to use a fancy camera but it needs to be held perfectly still. In other words, use a tripod.
  • When doing stop motion you need lots of photos. The more frames per second you use, the smoother your video will be.
  • You don’t need fancy editing software. iMovie will work. Some programs may make it quicker or easier to make a stop motion video but they aren’t absolutely necessary.
  • Get good audio. When recording audio work in a quiet place. Background noise is very distracting to an audience.