BFI logo











Screenonline banner
KS5 Art: Feet of Song (1988)

An introduction to stop frame animation

Main image of KS5 Art: Feet of Song (1988)
AuthorOliver Naylor
TopicStop Frame Animation
Show full lesson spec

Feet of Song (1988) explores the African rhythms of the talking drum and the guitar. The animated stylised figures move beautifully in time with the music, leaping and stamping to the musical score and bursts of abstraction that cleverly depict the human form in movement.

Feet of Song (1988) is an instantly engaging film that combines visually exciting figures and rhythmic guitar and drum music. The clip has a variety of possibilities in terms of Art lessons or mini projects which could focus on a wide range of themes including: movement, abstraction, colour theory, music and art, shape, form.

The film offers a perfect opportunity to introduce students to stop frame animation. The process is very straight forward and most schools will own a digital camera and have access to Windows Movie Maker (standard with all Windows packages). The program is very user friendly and it is a very fast way to create small animated final pieces. Also, supporting sketches, storyboards and annotation are essential to the process and this fits in well with most assessment criteria.

Lesson Objective

  • To introduce students to new media and develop their knowledge and understanding of the moving image
  • Students to establish a basic understanding of stop frame animation and the processes involved in creating a film


Begin with two viewings of Feet of Song (1988). Play the film for the first time without sound, asking students making bullet point notes about what the film is depicting and any other ideas they have. Now, play the film with sound and ask students to think about what the music adds to the film, considering how image and sound work together. Teachers could provide a 'starter sheet' with a series of questions to focus students' thinking.

This could lead to a brief whole discussion of the film with students contributing their ideas.


Main Attraction

As the main activity (which will most likely need to be extended over a number of lessons) students are going to work independently in groups to create a short film in response to a clip from Feet of Song (1988). They will be using stop frame animation, which is a different technique to the one used in the film.

Part 1: Introduce students to stop frame (or stop motion) animation and Windows Movie Maker:

  • Show students an exemplar of a stop frame animation using cut paper (for example, Manipulation (1991), which uses both traditional cell animation and stop motion, or The Sandman (1992)).
  • Students should brainstorm, in small groups, the key elements involved in making this film.
  • Teacher should now model how to photograph stills (using a tripod) from a storyboard, uploading the images and importing them into Windows Movie Maker.
  • Encourage students to experiment: challenge small groups to storyboard a figure waving, using pencil and fine liner.
  • Groups should move on to cutting very basic shapes for head, torso and limbs (from different primary coloured sugar paper) and work together to make their figure wave, photographing stills, and uploading them into WMM.
  • Teacher can now model how to drag images onto the timeline and alter timings - this demo could use students work.
  • Students should now be encouraged to experiment with their wave, altering timings and possibly transition and after effects.
  • This should be followed by a demonstration of how to export and save wave films.

Part 2: Students plan and create their own short films in response to a clip of their choice from Feet of Song (1988):

  • Teacher could introduce the cut outs of Henri Matisse to get students thinking about shapes to cut for their dancing figures
  • Students should now work independently in groups to create their short film in response to an extract from Feet of Song (1988). They will need to be given certain criteria. For example, each film should incorporate single figure movement, dual figure movement as well as group movement and each group should provide a mind map, annotated storyboard and brief written explanation of the thinking behind their piece.
  • Students should also be encouraged to experiment with transition and after effects to complete their final piece

End Credits

Finish off this unit with groups presenting their films to each other.

As extention work, students could investigate a number of different animation techniques using the Screenonline Animation collection.


External Links

Video Clips
Complete film (5:27)
Downloadable Teaching Resources

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Feet of Song (1988)Feet of Song (1988)

Read more about this film

See also

Thumbnail image of KS3 Art: Feet of Song (1988)KS3 Art: Feet of Song (1988)

Explore the human form in movement using this animated short