Technology is not really my "thing". I mean, I like technology, when it works. My husband is so great with all of the new gadgets and software that comes out. I seem to stick with what works until it doesn't work any more or he tells me about something new that would make my life easier. Our two sons have taken up after their father, especially the oldest. He actually wants to get a college degree in Computer Science so that he can possibly be a software engineer. That is why we were happy to be able review the Stop Motion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion.
My husband and I felt like this would give him a good basis for computer animation. We were right. There are many tips and tricks on how to make a good movie. Then that movie is turned into an animation. Our oldest is 14 and so I wanted him to take the reins on this review. This was the first product that I have basically just given him the supplies and said, "Go!" He read through the book, played with the software, and made a couple of movies with it. We sat down together to write this review. I asked him to give a brief summary of each chapter so that you, our lovely readers, will know all about this wonderful product.
Here are his words:
The History of Filming
This taught me that it was not easy to figure out how to make motion pictures. They started out as still paintings. Then people drew lots of pictures that were very similar, put them in order, and spun them around at fast speeds and that gave the illusion that the picture was moving.
This talks about the different things that you can use to animate. It can get kind of expensive, but you can animate with pretty much anything.
This cahpter gives some tips for writers that have issues about writing. For example, you can just retell ideas from comic books, books, movies, video games, etc. Another tip is to be descriptive on what you want to do in the movie.
It explains that you don't have one type of building materials, like Legos, for examples. You can use daily items from around your home to help build the set. You can have a blue towel for a tidal wave or a crumpled up piece of paper for a tree.
This teaches about different types of cameras. If you want better pictures, it could get kind of expensive and difficult to get the right one. You need to keep the camera steady at all times. A stand can be built out of Legos or you can get a stand that holds your camera in place. The camera that we received with the kit was very useful and it had great quality. It was able to capture everything very well.
This is key in any good movie because if you don't have the perfect lighting then your movie won't seem as good. It will seem sloppy and that it was made by an amateur. You want to have the right lights otherwise it can mess with your picture. Laser pointers work for certain lights as well.
Composition is the arrangement of the items in the view of the camera. This puts the focus on some parts more than others.
Animating for stopmotion can be an especially long process because of how slow you have to take it. You have to go bit by bit with each movement. Each movement is very slow. Facial expressions are very important to remember when animating.
This chapter talks about how to make things look like they are flying in the movie. This was a more difficult chapter for me to understand and follow.
The Art of War
The difference in this area of filming is that you have to move multiple parts and characters very slowly. Paper or cotton balls can be used to make an explosion.
There were a lot of technical stuff involved in this section. It was difficult for me to understand what I needed to do. I would need to get some help from someone who knows a lot about this area of movie making or at least knows more about computers and technology.
This tells you that if you want to edit out something in your movie, you just need to delete the picture or pictures that you want out. I had to do this in my video. It was good to know that I could move pictures around if I wanted things in a different order or I could add in pictures if I forgot something.
Files and Formats
This had more technical information that I would need to get help for. I am not too knowledgable about computer technology yet, but I would like to learn.
This helps you fix up your pictures to make sure that they are the way that you want them to be. This tells you about how to get your video ready to be viewed in another application outside of Stopmotion.
Sharing Your Animations
This chapter shows different sites that you can upload your video to. It also tells you how to make DVDs or hook up your computer to your TV so that others can watch your movie.
Animating with DSLRs
This tells you about the highest quality of cameras that you can get for an amateur movie maker. It shows you all of the different lens and the ways to use them.
This chapter gives you ideas on how to upgrade what you have already done. You can get people to help you with your movie as well.
Animating is not an easy thing to do. It takes a while and it can be difficult. For people who like it, it can be a very enjoyable experience for them. This helped me to understand about angles and lighting for movies in the future.
I thought that he had some great thoughts about each chapter and that he did well for his first review. Once he was done, I uploaded the videos to YouTube. I have to tell you that this was difficult for me as I'm not very tech-savvy either. I muttled my way through it by using the help desk as shown in the Stopmotion Explosion Quick Start Guide as well as the book chapter called "Frame Conversion". These two helped me be able to convert the pictures into a movie so that I could download the video into iMovie so that I could then export them to YouTube. It was easier than I thought, once I figured it out and once my computer let me download a free software that was needed.
He made two videos so far. The first video was just so that he could get used to the program and how to make it work. He was able to do any subject matter that he chose. Check this one out below:
Then he made a second video after going through the book. You can tell that he added a backdrop, word bubbles, as well as played with lighting. It was great to see how he incorporated what he learned from the book into his video. For this video, he used it as a project for his American History class that he is taking. Check it out below:
Overall, I really liked this product for our oldest. I liked how he was able to be creative and show his personality through his videos. The program was easy to use and the camera is high quality. My husband (the "tech guy") was impressed with the camera. I would encourage your family to look into the Stop Motion Animation Kit by Stopmotion Explosion if you have someone who likes technology or movies.
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