by Megan - Thursday, May 31, 2012 - Permalink
Even though school is close to being out for the summer, more and more people have been catching the iStopMotion for education bug. Whether it’s the original iStopMotion for Mac or the app version, iStopMotion for iPad, educators and students alike agree it’s a great way to explain something in a digital storytelling format. Teach thru Technology blogger Paul Wagner, who’s been in the educational field since 1999, recently wrote an article on the benefits of using stop motion animation in schools and then followed up that article with one specifically on iStopMotion for iPad!
In his first post about stop motion animation for educational purposes, “Say it with Clay(mation)!” Paul says, “Kids love this project because it allows them to be creative and have fun. Parents love it because they can see a product that was created by their child. Teachers love it because it gives the student a hands-on, in-depth look at a concept or process.”
In his follow up post, “A Stop Motion Must!” Paul says, “Why am I talking about this again? Well I had heard about an app that was available for the iPad called iStopMotion by Boinx Software. I couldn’t resist the temptation…I finally broke down and bought the app. It is a $10 app, so I was a little apprehensive at first. When you spend that kind of money for an app you expect it to be spectacular. Well I am definitely NOT DISAPPOINTED! The app, in my opinion, is amazing. It gives you clear images. All of the settings are done for you by default so all you have to worry about is taking the pictures.”
Thank you for the kind words, Paul! We pride ourselves on developing software that is easy to work with for those who may not be as tech-savvy as others, yet still has many capabilities for the techie and creative types. In regards to iStopMotion’s educational application, Paul says, “Claymation, probably more widely known as stop motion animation, is a great way for students to show a process…such as a life cycle, factorization, and word families…in a digital storytelling format.”
To show just how easy to use iStopMotion for iPad is, Paul includes an example from his 8-year-old daughter, who was able to create a stop motion animation without any help from her techie dad. She watched a one-minute tutorial, tested out a couple ideas, and in about five minutes, created a pretty cool iStopMotion for iPad animation. Check it out here!
In an unrelated post, Ryan Moneer Yaman published a video on YouTube illustrating the influenza pandemic using iStopMotion for Mac. The video is an awesome example of how you can use stop motion animation to visually explain something, whether it’s an event, a process, a person - anything. Ryan skillfully animates the definition and symptoms of the flu, it’s history, how and where it spread to, and more. Check out Ryan’s animation above or right here.
As Paul explains and Ryan exemplifies, stop motion animation is a great alternative to your typical poster board, slide show presentation or diorama. Even if school is out soon, summer has so much to offer for stop motion animations. Here are some ideas…
-Bring your toys to life with stop motion animation on a rainy day
-A time lapse of the sun rising or setting
-A stop motion animation of building a sand castle
-A time lapse of the progress of your tan throughout the summer (though don’t forget the sun block!!)
-So many more!!
And what better tool to use than iStopMotion for Mac or iPad?! Be sure to share your summer iStopMotions with us!
by Megan - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - Permalink
Last week, we showed you Derrick Story's time lapse of This Week in Google being produced in the TWiT studios with Leo Laporte. This week, Derrick is taking us behind the scenes of his shoot, explaining the steps he took to create his panning time lapse. Here's a bit of what he has to say:
"What goes on behind the scenes at Leo Laporte's TWiT studio in Petaluma, CA? I recently spent an afternoon there recording scenes with a 3rd generation iPad to create the time lapse movie, TWiG in 60 Seconds. The process was as interesting as the activity I recorded.
The latest iPad features a 5-megapixel iSight camera that records 1080p video at 30fps. Its low light performance is much improved over the 2nd generation model. Combine that hardware with iStopMotion for iPad, and I have a complete solution in a very portable package.
Once I had all of the hardware in place, I launched iStopMotion and set it to record a frame every 3 seconds. I captured a variety of scenes, some with panning, and others without.
I then used the DropBox feature in iStopMotion to upload the raw footage to my online storage. By doing so, I could access the files from my MacBook Air, and assemble the movie using Final Cut X. I uploaded the finished file directly to YouTube from Final Cut.
In the past, I've also done the editing right there on the iPad using iMovie, such as in this title, The Overlook."
by Bastian - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - Permalink
Disclaimer: This control set up requires paid 3rd party apps, that together cost about $23!
Controlling BoinxTV using your mouse or keyboard shortcuts works just fine, but sometimes it would be really handy to have an external control panel that would allow you to control the system from a distance. Enter the iPad (or iPhone), and third party apps TouchOSC and OSCulator. Originally designed for OSC (Open Sound Control) to control audio applications, they work just great for controlling virtually any application in some way, BoinxTV included.
The first thing you’ll need is TouchOSC editor for the Mac, which can be downloaded from hexler.net
When you first open it, be sure to select the correct device and orientation you want to use. For handling and screen size reasons, we will assume a horizontal iPad from now on, but everything described here also works on the iPhone (just on a much smaller scale), and also in vertical orientation.
Enlarge the button a little bit so it is easy to hit. When you select it, there are various settings that can be set up in the left column. If you want, you can set a name here; that will make it easier to identify the buttons you send later on. I recommend naming it something unique that describes its action and has no blank spaces. In our case, we want to trigger the lower third of our studio guest John Doe, so we name the button “LT_John_Doe”. It is VERY important that you don’t use blanks, so either replace them by underscores or use CamelCase!
We also need a label to recognize the button later while operating. Again, right click on the canvas and select “Label V”. Drag the newly created label on top of the button and adjust its text using the text field. There is no need to adjust the name field here here as it doesn’t get transmitted anyway. Adjust both color and background for the button and the label to your preference.
Now save the file under a name that makes sense, as this will be name you’ll recognize it by on the iPad. Now hit the Sync button in the toolbar of the editor to start the sending process. Let the window sit there. Now it’s time to switch to the iPad.
The next step is downloading TouchOSC to your iPad. You can get it from the Appstore. It’s $4.99 very well spent, as this universal app will run on both your iPad and iPhone. Once you open TouchOSC, you’ll see this:
Unfortunately, the interface is a bit counterintuitive in the beginning, but you’ll catch on to the process very quickly. First, tap “Not set” in the “Layout” section. There, tap “Add”. In the following screen, you’ll see your Mac (they need to be in the same Wifi of course).
Tap your Mac and TouchOSC will import the file (if the file is present already you’ll be prompted to overwrite it). Now, you’ll get the list with all the available layouts again. Here, tap your Layout you just imported to load it as the active layout.
Hitting the “TouchOSC” back button on the top left brings you back to the main menu. Now we need to go back to the Mac to set up the application that receives the commands. Hit stop on the TouchOSC Editor sync dialog.
Now you’ll need OSCulator, which can be downloaded from OSCulator.net. To get a non-time limited version, you need to purchase it. OSCulator has a pay-what-you-want pricing model with a minimum price of $19. After downloading and installing OSCulator, it will automatically start to listen for incoming OSC connections, so it’s back to the iPad and TouchOSC. Tap on “OSC: Disabled” in the “Connections” section.
Now, enable OSC using the toggle switch. Once enabled, TouchOSC will find all the Hosts with running OSC receivers in your local network. Tap your Mac in the “Found Hosts” section, and head back to the main screen by tapping “TouchOSC” in the top left corner.
Now you have your one button control surface. Tap the button once and take a look at OSCulator, it will now display the button you just pressed in the button list. After that, we’ll need to assign an action to the button. So select “Key Combo” from the “Event Type” popup.
In the small popup window, enter your desired shortcut simply by pressing it. We recommend using the letters A-Z together with the modifiers Shift, Control, Option and Command. It is very important to create absolutely unique shortcuts that no other application uses. While you are in this window, we recommend creating more shortcuts for later use. Make sure you also create one that is just CMD+R for starting and stopping the recording. As the target, always select “BoinxTV” (if it doesn’t appear in the dropdown, make sure it is running).
After setting up your shortcuts, your settings should look something like this. For your convenience, you can also simply download an OSCulator file from here that has all the keyboard shortcuts predefined; all you would need to do is set up your TouchOSC buttons.
Once you have set up your keyboard shortcut for the TouchOSC button, we come to the last step: assigning the button to an action in BoinxTV. So, load your BoinxTV document, select the layer or layer setting and click the “Record Shortcut” button either in the “Layer” or “Layer Setting” column. If you want to toggle the entire layer, choose the “Layer” option. If you just want to toggle a specific layer setting (ideal for lower thirds), choose “Layer Setting”.
As soon as the button says “Type shortcut,” hit the button on your iPad and the keyboard shortcut you entered before in OSCulator. From now on you can toggle this layer or setting with the button on your iPad. The same works with every BoinxTV button that has the option to assign a keyboard shortcut (e.g. camera switching using the “Video Switcher” layer or toggling between speaker and slides using the “Presenter” layer).
All you need to do is create a layout that fits your needs and assign keys. Once you save a document, save the OSCulator settings and have your iPad handy. The next time, all you need to do is launch TouchOSC on your iPad, open OSCulator and re-open the previously created BoinxTV document and you are ready to go!
To give you an idea of what layouts could look like, you can download two example layouts here that we use in our live productions.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments of this post and we’ll be sure to respond as quickly as possible. Enjoy!!
by Oliver - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - Permalink
Derrick Story of The Digital Story went to the TWiT studio in Petaluma, CA to shoot time lapse videos of Leo Laporte and team producing This Week in Google using a 3rd generation iPad mounted to a Losmandy StarLapse motor with a Makayama mount with wide angle lens.
by Megan - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - Permalink
TechnologyTell's Kirk Hiner recently checked out iStopMotion for iPad - here is what he has to say about it:
"I’m a fan of stop motion animation. More specifically, I’m a fan of sword fighting skeletons, and no amount of CGI progress will ever make sword fighting skeletons look better than Ray Harryhausen’s animation work in Jason and the Argonauts [Side note: we couldn't agree more]. Creating such effects can be a lot of fun, and with Boinx’s iStopMotion for iPad, it’s pretty easy, too..."
How does it work?
"It couldn’t be much easier, really. After creating your setting and choosing your subject, you simply set the focus and exposure and take your shot. Move your subject, and take another shot. iStopMotion uses transparency to show the previous layer under the next shot, so you can accurately adjust your subject’s movements. You can adjust the frame rate up to 24 frames per second, but remember that the more frames you use, the more images you’ll need for every second of movement."
by Megan - Monday, May 21, 2012 - Permalink
The Children’s Creativity Museum (formerly “Zeum”), situated in downtown San Francisco, is a place for kids to explore their inner filmmaker, rock star or movie star. They are encouraged to get their hands dirty and sing/dance/shout/whatever to the beat of their own drummer. To facilitate this concept of confidence building, the museum is filled with tools that allow visitors to delve into their creative sides, even including a television studio fully equipped with the same technology professional filmmakers and artists use to film and produce videos.
The museum’s educational philosophy of “Imagine, Create, Share” promotes a divergent thinking process that allows children to explore their wild and crazy ideas (Imagine), express themselves with confidence and the freedom to fail (Create), and validate their ideas while building on those of others, thus strengthening the community (Share). All this is done with a main goal in mind: to nurture what the museum calls the “3C’s of 21st-century skills”: Creativity, Collaboration and Communication. They believe the success of future generations depends on more than just what our future leaders know. It depends on their ability to think and act creatively.
“When people visit the museum, it doesn’t matter how old they are or what their level of tech savvy is. Whether a visitor is three or 55, it’s the magic of being able to create something from scratch that excites them,” says Eli Africa, a Multimedia Producer and Educator at the museum, and self-proclaimed “Imagineer.” He runs many exhibits in the museum, including the animation and video production studios. “It’s not the end product that matters to visitors as much as the process it takes to get there. They’re telling a story through reading, singing, feeling, performing – whatever it is, that’s what people always remember, being in the middle of the process. That’s how I see the 3C’s coming together.”
Through that unique process, visitors of all ages are exposed to the many elements that go into making one’s own original creation, awakening the inner artist within them. “We’re opening the door to a new way of communicating,” says Eli.
Using Technology to Turn Kids into Creators
Around every corner or curve and inside every nook or cranny of the museum is a creative way of exploring, learning and having fun (and with the brightly colored cast of characters adorning museum walls, not an inch of space lacks inventiveness). From blocks and clay to moviemaking and graphic design, the museum is jam-packed with creative activities for kids that nurture the 3C’s.
“The Children’s Creativity Museum provides high and low tech offerings that bridge the gap between art and technology,” says Cathy Barragan, the Marketing and Public Relations Manager at the museum. “Provided with the tools for creative process and the freedom to think and act creatively, visitors are encouraged to move from being passive consumers to active producers in a variety of media.”
The Music Studio, one of the most popular exhibits, is the place kids can go to create their very own music video. It leverages Boinx Software’s BoinxTV to amplify what can be a seemingly simple activity: karaoke. Singing and dancing along to a favorite song becomes a more engaging experience when visitors are able to create something as elaborate and professional as a music video entirely from scratch, using the same high level technology used by real filmmakers. As Eli notes, it’s not the end product that matters, but the unique process taken to arrive there that museum visitors find both encouraging and inspiring. And even though it’s the process kids will remember, the fact that they get to take home their very own music video is simply off the charts.
Making Memories that Will Last a Lifetime
Before entering the music studio, children are greeted with a sign that reads a message reiterated throughout the entire museum: risk-taking, collaboration and confidence are key. “Music Studio is more than karaoke, it’s an introduction to improvisational skills, a chance to collaborate, and a big step forward in developing creative confidence.”
Inside, the room is equipped with a giant green screen stage complete with microphone, lyrics teleprompter and multiple screens for live playback, a computer to host the BoinxTV studio software, and a costume wardrobe. Here, creativity flows. Children can choose everything from costume to song to background setting, allowing their individuality to shine through every aspect.
“Our approach to creativity is based in divergent thinking – a process based on generating creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. The Music Studio nurtures this skill by giving kids the tools to choose costumes, props and backdrops, and use the latest music composition software to write and produce their own music videos,” comments Irina Zadov, Director of Experience and Community Engagement at the museum. “By prototyping unique soundtracks, green screens, and choreography, our visitors develop creative confidence and a freedom to fail, which we believe is at the core of creativity and innovation.”
At the Children’s Creativity Museum, children are not told what to do or how to do it. They’re given the freedom to make decisions and explore their wildest ideas – without judgment.
“I see that – the power to be a decision maker – carrying on into any aspect of the children’s lives. We’re showing our visitors the tools, but how and if they even use them is totally up to them,” says Eli. “And with those decisions, they are able to express how they feel – through a song they love, an interview they want to conduct, anything. When the kids are on screen, there’s a feeling of, ‘I have arrived.’ It’s quite remarkable, and it sticks with them the rest of their lives.”
In the Music Studio, kids are the stars of their own show, reinforcing the museum’s goal of making children content creators rather than consumers. They’re able to direct and run the production while having full control over technical and artistic decisions. It’s an experience unlike any other, and one that children can only get by visiting the museum. In addition to building the creative confidence needed to freely express oneself, visiting children are able to learn about an industry they might not necessarily be otherwise exposed to. When they’re done creating their musical masterpiece, they can even keep a copy of the performance, immortalizing their moment in the spotlight and allowing them to share it with others.
A Happy Ending After Disaster Struck
“When our Mac Tower was stolen from the Music Studio in the spring of 2011, the museum needed a replacement fast – a new application that would meet our green screen needs to combine with our existing audio-video recording set-up,” recalls Eli. “I discovered BoinxTV through receiving Boinx Software’s email updates. BoinxTV has a lot of features that also make it easy for users to add and combine with, using layers of stills, graphics and video. Each feature can be individually tweaked in some way, opening up more possibilities to telling stories and creating memorable moments with our patrons and staff.”
Museum-goers have been building creative confidence and having fun with BoinxTV ever since.
“We’re so passionate about innovative technology at Boinx and providing tools that are not only fun but actually contribute to creative development,” says Oliver Breidenbach, founder of Boinx Software. “Most of us didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to learn about these tools and industries until much later in life, and now more than ever creative programs are being cut in public schools. The Children’s Creativity Museum provides a safe place for children to explore their imagination and other facets of learning. We’re truly honored to be able to contribute to the education and growth children experience at the museum.”
Investing in Creativity to Invest in Your Children’s Future
“The recession has impacted the entire community, and particularly schools that are unable to support arts programs,” says Cathy. “Fortunately, the Children’s Creativity Museum is able to fill the gaps for many schools through field trip programs, as well as provide opportunities for local teens through the C.I.T.Y. Teen Internship program. As the demand for fee-waived field trips has increased, so has the need to build capacity so that the museum can continue to serve youth and families in the community and beyond.”
Visiting school groups come to the museum and explore classroom concepts in the music studio, bringing an artistic element to the typical curriculum. Being able to produce and choreograph what they’re studying in school in front of the green screen is an exciting and creative way for these students to learn.
As a non-profit organization, the Children’s Creativity Museum relies on contributions of all sizes to be able to continue to provide programs and services to the community. Donations help to build capacity to serve more families, update and refresh exhibits, and support programs such as the C.I.T.Y. Teen Internship program. Investing in the Children’s Creativity Museum is making an investment in the potential of our future leaders. Make your donation today to help cultivate a culture of Creativity, Collaboration and Communication!
BoinxTV: The Technology Behind the Process
To achieve a karaoke production studio cut out for the pros, the Children’s Creativity Museum has a great deal of technology in their Music Studio. They currently use a Mac Pro Tower and Mac Mini hooked up to one 2-chip security camera, an audio mixer, two speakers, two microphones, a karaoke-style teleprompter monitor, a karaoke microphone, a CD-player, three desktop monitors for operator controls and nine Trinitron Sony TVs stacked on top of one another so patrons can watch the entire production as it happens. As a non-profit, the museum is unable to keep equipment as up-to-date as they would like, which means employees often must flex their creative skills to make older equipment (some over eight years old) work with their needs.
Bringing the Technology Home
Though the museum has an extensive set of equipment powering the Music Studio, anyone can use BoinxTV with much less - that’s the beauty of it! BoinxTV by Boinx Software brings the power of the production studio to your Mac – and all you really need is a camera! With this simple setup, users can combine live camera video, clips, photos, 3D graphics, lower thirds, audio and more to create stunning recorded or live video.
Perfect for at-home video production, school news programs, webcasts and more, BoinxTV is a great way to learn, develop new skills, share news with others and express yourself, all while having fun! To learn more about BoinxTV, please visit the Boinx Software website.
by Megan - Friday, May 18, 2012 - Permalink
Playing make-believe can be difficult at times, but it’s especially hard when you’re not familiar with the character you’re trying to portray. This is exactly what happens to David when he and his Batman fanatic friend act out a scene with their LEGO® Super Hero Minifigures. David can’t seem to get it right while playing Batman, and his friend, who’s read all of the graphic novels, doesn’t let him forget it.
Batman Out of Character, animated and edited by Kris Theorin (Bionicle28 on YouTube) and written and voiced by his brother Kurtis Theorin, is a hilarious take on the “art” of playing make believe. Throughout the film, Kris bounces back and forth between Batman scene and playroom scene. The two friends make a bit of progress in their reenactment when the friend (unnamed) scolds David for getting Batman’s persona all wrong. The film continues in this fashion, until David finally (almost) gets it right.
“Batman Out of Character was made for a LEGO Super Heroes contest. We had to use DC Super Hero figures in the movie,” said Kris. “My brother Kurtis came up with the idea because he thought the best way to show off LEGOs in a positive light was to have kids playing with them in a creative way. He also thought it would be interesting to actually see the adventure the kids were coming up with while playing with them.”
Indeed, Kurtis was right. The brother’s collaboration earned them first place in the LEGO Super Heroes Challenge and a screening of Batman Out of Character at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). But this isn’t the first award Kris and his brother have won for the animations. The 14-year-old has been animating with iStopMotion since he was just 10, and his brother (now 18), has been working alongside him to write and voice the films. Together, they’ve won awards and contests for films including Spark of Life, The Brain Gobblers From Saturn and Legando.
In addition to using iStopMotion to put together the stop motion animations, Kris uses a Canon VIXIA HV30 video camera, Final Cut Express, After Effects, Pro Scores, Action Essentials Pack, Cinema 4D and a MacBook Pro. Not to mention lots and lots of LEGOs! To date, Kris has animated around 45 films using iStopMotion.
As for Kris's serious work ethic and dedication to his craft, Kris’s mother, Amy says, “I am constantly amazed at how focused Kris is in his creation of his stop motion animated movies. I don't think many 14 year olds can spend five to six hours at a time day after day painstakingly moving characters and the camera around. I know I would go nuts! He always surprises me too with the wonderful camera moves and angles he uses – they are very cinematic!”
Batman Out of Character is a job well done by Kris and Kurtis Theorin. We’re glad to see they work together much better than the characters in the film!
Check out this time lapse of Kris taking down the Batman Out of Character set for an idea of what goes into creating a LEGO stop motion animation - time lapse made using iStopMotion!
by Megan - Thursday, May 17, 2012 - Permalink
Tim Burton may be one of the most famous director/producers in Hollywood, constantly blazing the trail for edgy films. One medium he is most famous for is stop motion animation, producing blockbusters such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. This October, Burton will be debuting a brand new 3D stop motion animation called Frankenweenie, a remake of the live action Disney film that gave him his start as a big time movie producer in 1984. Entertainment Weekly recently caught up with Burton regarding the new film, his career as a filmmaker and his deep love for stop motion animation.
Below is an excerpt of EW's conversation with Tim Burton:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is it about stop-motion animation that appeals so much to you?
TIM BURTON: It goes back to Ray Harryhausen. You look at his stuff, and you see the fur move! As a child, I recognized this artist. And there was something about stop-motion that felt more like a personal medium, especially because there were so few people doing it. Also, you go back to those kinds of stories, like Frankenstein or Pinocchio, about bringing an inanimate object to life. So here you have a process that does just that! It takes an inanimate object and you bring it to life. As hard of a medium as it is, there’s something so beautiful about that and the fact that it goes back to the beginning of film. The technique hasn’t changed — it’s still animating one frame at a time for 24 frames [to create a single second of film].
by Megan - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - Permalink
Apple 'N' Apps tells us how easy it is to create on the iPad with iStopMotion for iPad, plus shows off their stop motion skills with an interactive demo. Review and demo by Trevor Sheridan
"Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the iPad is only about consumption and not creation. With apps like iStopMotion you can create animated stop motion movies in a straightforward and simple way. At first glance, it looks tough to understand just what you need to change to create the animated effect. Then you start using the app, and realize just how intuitive the entire process is. You simply set-up your scene, make slight adjustments to the central objects, snap an image, and repeat.
The entire process is made as streamlined as possible, and all of a sudden you have a plethora of frames. You can instantly playback your progress at any time, and it’s amazing to see how consecutive slight adjustments create the animated effect. The results are absolutely superb, and there’s a beautiful interface to see your timeline. One of the best aspects is the camera overlay allowing you to see the live camera and previous frame on the same screen to make precise adjustments."
by Megan - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - Permalink
iStopMotion was a great experience that is well worth the price. If you put it to it’s intended use, it’s not just another app you buy to fill up your creativity folder then never use again. It will help the already creative and the easy to use UI will help the first-timers to easily get started and make some interesting clips. You can even add the clips afterwards to iMovie and add some more effects. The sharing capabilities are also a great addition to the software since what good are your clips if you cannot show them off to your friends?