Monte Isom Uses Nikon D3s For Stop Motion Video In NYC

Monte Isom had one of the most populars videos on Fstoppers back in February. Well he is back with a fun stop motion video for NYC comedian Colin Kane. Monte filmed this entire video on the Nikon D3s with just a few Litepanel 1x1 bicolor constant lights. The final video was made with 14,000 still images to create the final 90 second promo. Check out the behind the scenes video and the final promo below. You can also read Monte's own words on how he approached this shoot below both videos.

Behind The Scenes:

Final Video:

Monte Isom on Colin Kane's 90 second stop motion promo:

When comedian Colin Kane said he wanted to do a promo video Moose Herd Creatives Jim Kamoosi and Laura Wing-Kamoosi stepped up with an idea to create a rolling environment that features Kane walking through a night in his life. The technique that was chosen was an editing heavy stop motion animation. I used the Nikon d3 as it is a full frame chip but still has an 11 fps motor drive. I mounted it in stereo with a Canon 5d markII that was filming video in case the technique we were attempting didn't work out. Due to the fantastic editing of Jim Kamoosi we didn't use a single second of video footage in the final piece. 14,000 stills later we have a 90 second spot.

To achieve consistent lighting for Colin's walk through the frames we had an assistant tracking the subject for each dolly shot at a fixed distance with a Litepanel 1x1 bi color. On camera right we used a Lowel DP unfiltered to match the tungsten light of the existing street lights. A few shots were supplemented with a Litepanel micro to open up the shadows a bit. The changing color balance of each location adds to the effect of the changing backgrounds. Hope it is as fun to watch as it was to make.

Check out Colin's website: and hit him up on

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Golgo Thirteen's picture

dope! nikon is sick and I shoot canon.

Marvin Hagemeister's picture

That was awesome! Stunning work!

james's picture

i don't know the comedians work, is he men't to be portrayed as being nasty, is that part of his act?

Patrick Hall's picture

yeah, I'm thinking a bit like Denis Leary....but maybe even more vulgar :)


Anonymous's picture

Very cool, loved the track.

Paul H's picture

Freaking awesome. Also how was the post handle.? 

Monte Isom's picture

Painstakingly frame by frame in Final Cut Pro.  Jim Kamoosi did a phenomenal job.  Thanks for the kind words and if you like it, share with a friend.

Golgo Thirteen's picture

Monte did you guys have to get a crap ton of permits? I was doing a shoot in NY 2 weeks ago and it was swarming with police. Especially at night in the Meat Packing District. 

Monte Isom's picture

The Permit Queen: Producer Alanda Spence rocked it.  We had to secure only one permit (and one fee) but with all locations outlined with location, date and time determined before she rolled into the the NYC film office.

Blk Pxls's picture

Party and Bullshit........Tizzighht!

Henning Nilsen's picture

Thats probably the most enjoyable BTS and final product I've seen in a couple of months.

Anonymous's picture

Pretty cool but can you create the same effect with a 5D mark II? What are the key differences?

Patrick Hall's picture

Sure, why could you not?  I'm not sure if it fires 11 fps but you could always just have your subjects move less so you are filming slower.  

Monte Isom's picture

where trouble comes into paradise is a single frame of 24 fps of video is not nearly as clear and sharp as a single frame from a still camera.  If it were, we as photographers would only shoot video and pull stills for publication.  So achieving the sliding environment with video stills would be a little like the beavis and butthead resolution/refinement of stop motion animation...but it did work for Mike Judge

Gus Munoz's picture

Having lots of problems viewing this video. My internet speed is OK, but video keeps stalling.
Anybody else with issues ?

Monte Isom's picture

Gus, you can go to youtube and view the same video at a reduced resolution and quality (360).  It has the same video title as on the higher resolution Vimeo.

Payam Jirsa's picture

Way cool technique, amazing final results, and Monte, dude, I know how long that must have taken in post. Amazing work man. Would love to see some of your other edits. 


Nicely done! Poor shutter=)

nickturpin's picture

I don't see what the stop frame animation brings to this that straight video wouldn't do better. Its a great tool for the right subject but it doesn't  ring anything to this IMHO.

Shadi Eideh's picture

what was the track used under the dolly ?

Monte Isom's picture

Shadi, it is a DIY dolly home depot special.  30ft of 2" pvc rails. Put together in 6 sections (10 ft-3 on each side) with wooden dowel rod inside the pvc to prevent sagging and 36"metal rods establishing the width.  Easy to setup and break down for 8 location changes in 2 night.  Be sure to label each section of PVC so all your holes you drill for the metal rods line up.  Bring lots of rubber door wedges and adhesive felt feet to stabilize.

Payam Jirsa's picture

Monte, I am curious if there was a specific reason the D3 was used vs the 1D. I mean a reason other than being a Nikon or Canon fanboy; Is there anything about the D3 that make it a better camera for shooting stop motion?

Monte Isom's picture

The specific reason to use the Nikon D3 was the full chip and 11 fps.  I own and shoot Canon but their 1Ds cameras with a full chip all have slower motor drives.  I wanted a full chip so my lenses would match between the 5d markII I was shooting video on and the camera shooting stills. 

Shadi Eideh's picture

Monty.. Just saw your reply. Respect.