Walk Like an Egyptian

Walk Like an Egyptian Stop Motion Guide

True North Bricks is now on TikTok! I thought it would be fun to play around a little with stop motion and other short-form videos. It seems like TikTok is the place to be for such things these days. I posted a quick video upon opening the account about Minifigures Series 23, just to get some content up there. However, my first real video project for the platform was inspired by Walk Like an Egyptian. The song recently came up while listening to an ’80s playlist. It made me think of the various Egyptian Minifigures we’ve seen over the years. I pictured a little Egyptian minifig strutting across the screen… it grew into something else entirely involving curses and mummies!

The backdrop for my Walk Like an Egyptian stop motion.
Mummy Museum Mystery (75900) from 2017 made my Walk Like an Egyptian backdrop.

While this ended up being a lengthy project, I originally intended it to be a short process. Consequently, I kept the scene simple. I slapped a 64×64 baseplate on a table with a stone wall behind it. I remembered having the Scooby-Doo Mummy Museum Mystery (75900) set somewhere in my collection. Interestingly, I found it completely built with the original box and instructions. I normally never keep boxes, but I guess I’d just forgotten about this whole kit for a while… a long while. I reviewed it here on True North Bricks back in 2017.

Every step consisted of four photos.

Next, I dug out my Egyptian Warrior from Minifigures Series 13 and the Egyptian Mummy Queen from Series 19. My initial plan was to make the warrior walk across the screen as the Bangles sang “Walk like an Egyptian”. Subsequently, the screen would flash, revealing the warrior was really a cursed mummy. Consequently, I went about making the warrior walk. Each step consisted of four photos. First, the minifig standing straight. Second, one of the legs shifted forward. Third, the Minifigure shifted forward to balance on the toes of one foot and the heel of the other. Finally, I shifted the Minifigure onto the foot that shifted forward initially. Then, the process began again. With each photo, I also shifted the arms a little.

It took 38 photos to walk the Minifigure halfway across the scene and turn its head towards the camera once there. At that point, I started alternating photos of the Warrior with the Mummy Queen. It was my way of showing that the Warrior’s appearance was an illusion, and it was really a cursed, undead mummy haunting its sarcophagus. The video was intended to end with a fading shot of the Mummy Queen’s zoomed in face. But, the video was way too choppy when I stitched the photos together… I needed to increase the frame rate. Originally, I had two photos every second. I upped it to three for the walk across the screen. The final pic could remain a little choppy because I wanted to apply an aging filter to it anyway. However, that made the video much shorter.

Three frames (pictures) per second was a good walking speed for my purposes.

Ultimately, I needed to get more footage to make a decent length video that told a complete story. I decided to make the mummy charge the camera after the reveal. The video would end with static as the videographer was taken town. I selected a very specific segment of Walk Like an Egyptian near the end that featured a pick-up in tempo for the charge. However, TikTok had other plans. I could use the song on TikTok, but not the section I actually wanted… So, the soundtrack on TikTok and the version below are a little different. Below is the director’s cut 😉 . In the end, I increased the frame rate for the running scene (about 4 fps). The whole video involved 96 photos from start to finish… all for 12 seconds of video.

The original, unfiltered video.
The final video with filter applied.

I know that actual stop-motion software exists. However, I didn’t think this project would take long, so I didn’t download any. I used my usual video-editing software and strung the photos together manually, adjusting the length of each as I went. Big mistake. It took forever. But it still looks good. Since the clip consisted of individual photos, I could not apply a filter to the whole video at once. So, I rendered the project into a color video, then applied an aging filter to that. Subsequently, I added the visual effect of a video camera recording frame for fun. The final few frames were photo with various noise filters applied to them, ending in a lost-signal clip.

One little mistake escaped me… can you spot it?

Sadly, one little error slipped past me. The Mummy Queen’s headdress is different before and after the close-up shot… They were filmed at different times, as mentioned before. I forgot to change the Queen’s headdress for the Warrior’s as I had done earlier. Thankfully, it is not THAT noticeable in the final aged filter… In any case, let us know about your own stop-motion adventures in the comments below or on social media. Also, check out True North Bricks on TikTok!

Until next time,

-Tom

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