Top 25 LEGO stop motion lighting tips

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Before they turn into your raving fans, audiences need to be able to clearly see what’s happening in your video.  Solid LEGO stop motion lighting takes care of that.

If this is your very first time making a brickfilm (a stop motion animation video made with LEGO), don’t read instructions.  Seriously.  Those’ll make you crazy. 

Instead, plan something super-simple and ultra-short, say, 15 seconds.  Then set up your LEGO and camera/phone, grab any lights you might have and move them around until you can see your subject clearly, and just start taking pictures.  See what happens and adjust, because every situation’s going to be different.

LEGO Stop Motion Lighting tutorial
See the little minifigure with the treasure chest? The Brickology guy will show you how to achieve that effect.

LEGO Stop Motion Lighting Tutorials


If you ignore my advice and want tutorials before you start, here are some of my favorites. Most of them have more or less the same information, and it’s fun to compare them to see what their different setups are and what they emphasize.

Watch this one by BRICKOLOGY. This filmmaker makes short, beautiful, funny, brickfilms about being a nurse.  Here he shows you a lighting setup and how each light changes the look of the string of photos that make up your LEGO animation blockbuster videos. 

Just remember that he’s been making animations for a while, so his main lights and software are going to be more sophisticated than what you might have.

The difficulty with LEGO stop motion lighting tips is that everyone’s available space, subject, and lighting options are going to be different.

Sunspace Studio Productions

SUNSPACE STUDIO PRODUCTIONS’ funny video shows you how to use floor lamps with wax paper plus one desk lamp.  He also reveals how he changes the color of the light.

Most filmmaking courses, classes, and tutorials eventually explain 3-point lighting.  DOUG VANDEGRIFT’S video explains it with a dashing LEGO minifigure as the subject, and using everyday household lighting.

You can learn a lot by watching general stop motion lighting setups that don’t necessarily involve LEGO. For example . . .

Dina Amin

I love this video by animator DINA AMIN because she shows a bathroom and I animate LEGO in my tiny bathroom.  I mean, uhm, because she shows her stop motion lighting setup with thoroughness and humor.

Also, she talks about the difficulties of getting quality lights and batteries in Egypt.  If you’re living in the USA and have access to Amazon or Walmart, you have no excuse.  If she can make beautiful animations with the equipment she shows here, then so can we if we practice enough.

This animator does beautiful work. She also suggests the merits of photographing in the bathroom (which I actually do).

LEGO Stop Motion Lighting Tips

Be a vampire

  1. Your first mortal enemy is natural light.
  2. Natural light changes constantly as the sun moves throughout the day.  And that’s not taking clouds and their movement into account.  That causes flickering in your LEGO animation masterpiece.
  3. Cover windows with curtains, blankets, cardboard, or other materials.  This is not what I do.
  4. Animate in a dark room-–my studio is about two square feet of the counter in my bathroom. If I could, I’d work in an attic, garage, or basement.
  5. Many people take their photos at night


  1. Your second mortal enemy is flickering light.
  2. Some lightbulbs flicker so quickly that your eye doesn’t notice.  Unfortunately, your camera does notice, and so each of your photos will be a slightly different color than the previous photo you took.
  3. If you’re not sure about your light bulb, turn on that light and set up your phone or camera to take a photo of a LEGO scene every few seconds.  The timelapse will reveal potential flickering.  That’s a tip from animator “Flo” Perinelle.


  1. Use what you have, especially in the beginning: table lamps, floor lamps, overhead lights. 
  2. Make sure the lights won’t move.  Add them to the list of things that must stay absolutely still: your baseplate, everything on the baseplate, your camera, and now your lights.
  3. In this fantastic video by STICKYBONES, Florian “Flo” Perinelle shows a great example of using different kinds of lamps and lights to figure out what you need.  He shows a pile of inexpensive lights he’s used.
  4. The thing that surprised me the most in this video was how he attaches lights to the floor using a hot glue gun.  Remember, though, that he uses professional lighting kits in dedicated studios, not a corner of shared garage.  Also, he’s not talking about LEGO stop motion lighting.
  5. The point is to make sure that your lights don’t move or change in any way until you’ve got the photos for that section of your brickfilm.  You’ve made sure your camera and set won’t accidentally move, so do the same for your lights.
  6. Intensity dial.  I wish I had one! I have a dial, but it doesn’t tell me how intense the light was.  If it had specific markings, telling me the light was on at 50% of its capacity, for example, I could save time recreating that same lighting setup every time without having to experiment.
LEGO Stop Motion Animation Lighting power supply
Oops! Personally, I use battery-powered lights!


  1. If you can, use lights that can be plugged into the wall rather than battery-powered ones.
  2. Control those lights with a power strip. 
  3. Make sure your batteries are all charged in both your camera and your lights.  My world isn’t perfect.  Is yours?  I have only battery-powered lights, so I have to make sure I don’t have to change dead batteries in the middle of a scene and am constantly charging them.
  4. If you’re lucky, you’ll have battery-life lights to protect your sanity. Mine tell me when the battery is fully charged and let me estimate that it’s 25%, 50% or 75% drained.  Having a sense of battery levels helps me estimate how much time I have left before I’ll need a fresh battery.


  1. Diffusion means covering your lamps with a material like paper or fabric to make the light softer.
  2. Attaching a sheet of paper over your lamp will make the light softer and reduce shine on the plastic, especially little plastic faces.  Many an animator will do this and risk setting the building on fire when the lights get hot so . . .
  3. Some brickfilmers use wax paper or parchment paper for baking and cooking. 
  4. Again, remember that your lamps will be on for a long time and could get very hot.
  5. Take care that the paper doesn’t touch any light bulbs. 
  6. I have two small light boxes for my lights.  Sometimes I remember to use them.

Light Setup

  1. Three-point lighting is great . . . if you can set that up in the space that you have.  I move my lights around until I find a setup that works, or works more or less.  My LEGO stop motion lighting involves a bit of experimentation.
  2. Jump up to the LEGO stop motion lighting tips and click on the video links to see lighting setups.

Bouncing Light Onto Your LEGO Set

  1. Light reflectors, white poster boards or foam boards, Styrofoam, mirrors, and sometimes even a white LEGO plate will reflect light from your lamp onto that dark spot you want to lighten. 
  2. Experiment with these reflectors.  I never use them because then I’d have to find a way to hold those items in place, and that would just drive me over the edge. That just means I’m set in my ways. Doug Vandergrift’s video above shows you how much of a difference a folded-up piece of white paper makes to light a minifigure’s face.

Your Body

  1. Check to make sure you yourself are not casting a shadow over your set. 
  2. Wear black or dark clothes so that your shirt doesn’t reflect onto the LEGO.  Sometimes even the dark clothes don’t help. Instead, you have to . . .
  3. Develop a rhythm where you always sit or stand back in the same position in the same place before you take the photo.  That way, if there is indeed a reflection, it will stay constant rather than moving around and drawing attention to itself.


  1. Personally, I aim for bright, even light everywhere.  That’s great for comedies and projects with a light tone.  As this video by CHICKEN FEET FILMS explains, if you’re making horror films, thrillers, or something of that nature, you’re going to want more shadows and different colors.  In that case, you might remove your diffusers. This video tutorial explains good stop motion lighting in under 2 minutes. That’s my kind of tutorial!
  2. Change lighting to change the atmosphere. You can . . .
    1. play with camera settings – “I lock the ISO on minimum (80 for my camera) and lessen the exposure to the point where the scene is mostly unexposed,” is YouTuber jarlfenrir’s comment on the Chicken Feet Films LEGO animation lighting video.
    2. add transparent, colored materials, like lighting gels or even colored, transparent folders for homework or work reports.  Blue ones for night-time, for example.
    3. tilt a computer screen towards your set to add a blue tint.
Experiment, experiment, experiment.

What’s next?

Now that you know what you need for lighting, you can avoid some very basic brickfilming mistakes. Here are some other mistakes you might want to avoid.


Don’t rush out and buy a special stop motion lighting kit for your first brickfilm(s).  Instead, experiment with what you already have and make something very short to find out if you want to continue making LEGO stop motion animation videos.  Once you’re addicted, I mean, if you like the LEGO animation process, decide what kind of animation lighting will be on your wish list.

LEGO Stop Motion Lighting: the Bare Minimum

At the very least, remember to:

I know; there’re 33 tips, not 25, but twenty-five just seemed like a sexier number, don’t you think?

Did I miss a super-helpful tip? Please do let me know in the comments below.

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