by Megan - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - Permalink
Walt Disney Pictures / Via Buzzfeed.com
The day of pumpkins, black cats and candy is finally here! And, if you’re anything like me, the perfect thing to go with a nice big bowl, ahem, piece of candy is a creepy Halloween movie. Buzzfeed recently published an article highlighting one of the most popular Halloween flicks out there, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Did you know that The Nightmare Before Christmas was made entirely using stop motion animation? Buzzfeed found 20 crazy-interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the movie, and some of them are real shockers!
For instance, the stop motion musical was shot at 24 frames per second, meaning that they had to pose multiple characters 24 times for each second of the completed film. The more frames to a second means the more fluid the shot will look when it’s finished. That’s why The Nightmare Before Christmas looks so realistic. The whole film consists of roughly 110,000 frames!
Did you know that the sculpture department consisted of only four people? That accounted for the creation of over 60 different characters. Trap doors were also built underneath the set so animators could pop through and animate in between scenes. That’s definitely an idea to think about when crafting your own stop motion animations!
It’s true that even in the professional film industry, everyone makes mistakes. If there was ever a problem with a frame, the team would have to go back and re-photograph the entire scene. The entire film actually took more than three years to complete. Patience is the key to stop motion animation! But don’t let that scare you away from creating your own stop action film – they can be as long or as short as you want.
Want to read more crazy facts about The Nightmare Before Christmas? Check out the rest of Buzzfeed’s article here.
So, what are your plans for this year’s Halloween? Trick-or-Treating? Dressing up in costume? Or maybe you’ll be putting together a spooky stop motion animation to celebrate! We have some great ideas to get your wands sparking…
1. Make a time-lapse animation of you or a friend carving a jack o’ lantern. This is a great way to show all the hard work and little details that go into something that really isn’t as effortlessly creepy as it looks!
2. You could also make a time-lapse animation of the crazy Halloween makeup process. Want to show off how you went from a regular mortal to a bloodthirsty vampire, a wicked witch or a horrifying ghoul? A time-lapse animation is the perfect way to detail your transformation!
3. Are you giving out candy this year? Another great time-lapse idea is to use iStopMotion to document the emptying candy bowl as the night goes on.
4. What if you could trick AND treat? Animate pieces of your favorite candy to be tasty Halloween tricksters. What trouble is in store for your M&Ms and Reese’s cups this Halloween? The possibilities are endless … of course, don’t eat the candy until AFTER the animation is complete!
5. Try out your best Tim Burton skills! Put together some of your own spooky clay figures and create a Halloween-themed stop motion film. Don’t have clay? Use whatever household objects you can find – paper, string, feathers, and even ordinary objects like utensils – then make them come to life (or death, depending on how you look at it).
6. Whiteboard and chalkboard animations are also a great way to get into the spirit of Halloween. Use stop motion to put a series of orange and black drawings together as moving artwork!
See what iStopMotion ideas you can come up with this on this spooky day. Think you’ve got what it takes to scare the team at Boinx? Give it a shot and send over your best Halloween creations!
by Megan - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - Permalink
When Don Evelyn took a stop motion course at the University of Trinidad and Tobago as a second-year animation studies student, he knew that the form of animation could be a new career opportunity for him. At the time, he had been unemployed for over two years, despite having an extensive 25-year history in the industries of graphic arts, pre-press and flexography, a special type of printing. As he loved animation, he decided to continue working with stop motion.
In February 2013, while searching for a program to help him with his course work, Don discovered iStopMotion on the Apple Store. After reading the reviews and watching demos on YouTube, Don purchased iStopMotion V3. For his first stop motion homework assignment, he created the short film “Feeding Frenzy Scissors” using iStopMotion, a Logitech 910 1080p video camera, three pairs of scissors and green screen cloth. It took him eight hours to complete.
His second stop motion homework assignment led him to create “Volcanic Eruption Effects”. Don used a 1080p 12 MegaPixel Sony Cybershot camera on a tripod to film the video. The Island City was made out of 14pt board with color print to enhance the diorama. It was used as a foreground shot with a volcano also made out of 14pt board, colored with oil pastels and Play-Doh for the mud and lava. The smoke was created using colored kite paper. Each frame was retouched in Photoshop to create the smoke and ash, and sound effects of a volcanic eruption and earthquake were added to further enhance the video.
By now, Don was becoming skilled in the art of stop motion animation. He created "Edinburgh 500 Pillow Race” for his third homework assignment. It was done over the long weekend of Trinidad’s Carnival 2013 at the Edinburgh 500 Recreational Grounds running course. With the help of two young brothers of the Khan family, Don was able to create the final version using a 1080p Sony Cybershot camera, a tripod, two pillows, two actors, and software including iStopMotion, iMovie and Photoshop.
“Their hard work and patience under the hot Tuesday sun into the night paid off,” Don says. He is thankful for their eager participation in making the video a reality.
“Gorilla Movements”, above, was created using a wire frame and a gorilla cut from foam. Don used a glue gun to create the shape, burning his fingers over and over again for the cause. After the gorilla was assembled, it was painted using two coats of acrylic paint, since the foam kept absorbing the paint as fast as Don could paint it. Don filmed this video using a 910 Logitech 1080p camera and iStopMotion, moving the gorilla’s arms, legs and head frame by frame. The end result was over 560 pictures, which he then edited to remove the pins used to make the gorilla stand and to smooth the movements.
“The program’s ease of use and accuracy in precisely aligning still frames with the previous is a great feature,” Don says about iStopMotion. He also particularly likes the ability to adjust the gamma and the use of green screen keying. Don says that the key to stop motion animation is to realize it can’t be rushed, and that planning is important. “My advice for those who are new to stop motion is to do a storyboard when planning your movie with simple drawings. And by all means, enjoy yourself … it is FUN!”
by Megan - Monday, October 28, 2013 - Permalink
Happy Monday! We've got some exciting news for all you animators out there. Remember when, in the past, you wanted to use iStopMotion with a Canon DSLR camera? You had to do without the greatest feature of iStopMotion – the live preview and semi transparent onion skinning effect that allows you to see your next shot and make adjustments before capturing the frame.
Well, not any more! With the next version of iStopMotion, we are adding live preview for Canon DSLR cameras!
We invite you to download and try the latest beta and let us know what you think.
What Canon DSLRs Are Supported?
We have tested the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 40D, 60D, 60Da, 450D (aka. Rebel XSi / Kiss X2), 550D (aka. Rebel T2i / Kiss X4) and 700D (aka. Rebel T5i / Kiss X7i). Other models that have live view over USB should work as well. Please let us know using the Feedback command in the iStopMotion menu if your Canon DSLR model is not working properly or if you find other areas for improvement.
Nikon user? We haven't forgotten about you! We're currently hard at work to add support for live view with Nikon DSLRs - we'll keep you updated on the progress.
by Megan - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - Permalink
Our old friend Selina Briggs is back with her famous robot, Jelly, and they are ready for action. For those unfamiliar with the Jelly Empire, we’ll give you a quick recap. The Jelly Empire is about a robot named Jelly whose ultimate goal is to take over the world – and everyone’s hearts – to create an empire! Jelly started off as a 2D illustration, and he has progressed into a 3D interactive figure in Selina’s iStopMotion animation videos. He can also be found among Selina’s growing collection of collectable designer toys, comics, clothes and accessories.
Selina’s latest videos feature Jelly wrestling in a winner-takes-all contest with six Luchabots (Jellybots painted to look like Luchadores – also known as lucha libres, a type of professional wrestler from Spanish-speaking countries). Fans were able to vote on the Luchabot matches to decide the outcome. Selina chose iStopMotion to make the Jellybots come to life because she believes it’s a great medium for toys.
“My original attempt was on a Nintendo 3DS, but the screen resolution was really low and there were no features,” she says. “I owned an iPad and an iPhone, so the next step was iStopMotion for the iPad. This definitely made for a huge change in quality!”
Using iStopMotion for iPad worked well for her short videos, but when the scope of these videos increased, she needed to find better means. That’s when she started using iStopMotion 3 for Mac. It’s been her go-to program ever since.
“I still use an iPhone 4S as my capture device,” Selina says. “I’m considering buying a high-end camera to up the quality further, but then again, I’ve just ordered an iPhone 5S, so I’ll see how that works first! I love the easy functionality of marrying the two devices.”
In the future, Selina hopes to move from resin to vinyl figures. She would also like to start taking her illustrations into the world of storytelling. Specifically, she’s looking into publishing a children’s book. Most recently, Selina kept busy prepping for New York Comic Con, which just took place from October 9th through 12th, where she was selling all the toys seen in her videos. She also just finished up a Jelly League promo (a parody of Justice League).
Check out the Jelly Empire channel on YouTube here for more of Selina’s work. And be sure to watch rounds one and two of the Luchabots Jelly Bot fights and the final round - above - to find out who wins!
by Megan - Monday, October 21, 2013 - Permalink
Are you going to MacTech Conference 2013? We are! Come see us November 6-8 at the Manhattan Beach Marriott in Los Angeles. It’s looking awesome so far! The speakers are incredible. The content is fantastic. The hallway discussions and interactions are the best. We’re even using BoinxTV to make the videos for the event again! The event’s registration is ahead of last year, and MacTech’s expanded hotel guest room block discounts are almost sold out.
It’s your last chance to register, and as a sponsor, we have a special surprise just for you! Register now using our special link and save an extra $100 off the already discounted early-bird price available now. That’s a total savings of $400 off the event!
The hotel discount block is selling out fast, and it’s scheduled to end this coming weekend. Pre-registration discounts are also almost over. Hurry and register now for a steep discount on us!
What: MacTech Conference 2013
Where: Manhattan Beach Marriott in Los Angeles, California
When: November 6th-8th
Who Should Attend: Technologists passionate about improving their craft. IT professionals. Consultants. Programmers and developers that focus on Apple technologies. Check out the sessions here! If you’re still not sure, check out MacTech’s “Why Attend” page here, or take a look at tweets about last year’s event here!
What’s New: New venue. Expanded schedule. Pre-conference workshops. More sessions. More certifications. More labs. New vendor forums. Want more? Check out the full list here!
Here is some info on how we recorded the conference using BoinxTV last year:
The BoinxTV Configuration
At the core of the whole operation was of course BoinxTV running on our MacBook Pros. We had the two cameras connected via Thunderbolt to FireWire adaptors, the presenters’ computer screen grabbed via USB and the sound captured via USB. All this media came into BoinxTV simultaneously and needed to be synced up and adorned with lower thirds, which included a MacTech logo and other graphics, all in real time, then recorded to disk.
To pull off this magic, BoinxTV uses a stack of Layers, each representing an object on screen. A switcher layer allows the operator (Bastian in our case) to switch between various video sources, another layer displays the MacTech logo, and a presenter screen layer creates the two-up view, with the speaker in the corner on top of his larger-than-life slides. Bastian controlled all of these layers through his control surface on the iPad. With the push of a button, a whole set of layers and myriads of settings per layer could be changed. All this happened while the speakers were giving their talks. Although MacTech chose not to broadcast this as a live stream, it would have been easily possible.
by Megan - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - Permalink
If you’re even just a semi-regular internet user, chances are that you’ve seen an animated GIF in action. GIFs are the latest web craze – essentially they are short, silent clips of a sequence on an endless loop. They can be anything from a clip of a favorite television show of yours to an adorable animal doing something inexplicably hilarious.
Technology columnist David Pogue has a couple theories on why the GIF, after 26 years of existence, is in its prime now. Among his many ideas, he notes the technical limitations of smart phones and tablets as well as the fact that GIFs can play on almost any browser without a plugin as viable reasons for their popularity. There’s also the notion that limitations foster creativity, which we can see through Twitter’s 140 character limit and Vine’s 6-second video limit. Some of the most relatable forms of media seem to happen in the shortest amounts of time! David also mentions that GIFs shouldn’t be viewed as “stripped-down movies,” but rather as “live-action photographs” that far exceed the story-telling capabilities of the still image – a pretty interesting concept. Check out the rest of David Pogue’s commentary here.
Boinx’s iStopMotion has recently joined in on the GIF fun. With Boinx’s latest update (version 2.2 [more info] for the iPad and version 3.2 [more info] for the Mac), you can create the next animated GIF internet sensation using iStopMotion! With iStopMotion 3.2 for Mac, you can save any sequence of up to 200 frames as an animated GIF right to your hard drive. In iStopMotion 2.2 for the iPad, you can export the first 200 frames of our animation as a GIF and send and upload it either by email, iMessage, or DropBox.
“iStopMotion's new support for animated GIF export is a brilliant addition to an already fantastic product,” says Charlie Collier, iStopMotion enthusiast who has created professional work such as “Ballad of a Prodigal Son” (more info) and most recently created the above animated GIF of his now-famous twist-tie characters (more info). “This new feature is a great way for animators of all levels to share snippets of their work in a quick and easy manner. And with the raising popularity of animated GIFs in the internet culture, it will hopefully inspire others to do the same. I can say with confidence that I'll be using this new feature quite a bit!”
So, what do you say? Ready to start creating your own animated GIFs? iStopMotion for iPad is now available on iTunes for just 4.99 USD. That’s 50% off the regular price of 9.99 USD! If you already have the app, the update is free for existing users. iStopMotion for the Mac is now available from both iTunes and the Boinx website for only 39.99 USD, 20% off the regular price of 49.99 USD! But hurry … these special prices only stand until October 20th!
Get GIF-ing and start creating your own animated GIFs! Show us what you’ve got!
by Megan - Thursday, October 10, 2013 - Permalink
Unlike stop motion animation, where an object is moved in between still frames to create the illusion of animation, time lapse animation is a technique where frames are captured automatically of a process already in motion – a sunset, a busy city square, leaves changing color. Because the frequency at which frames are captured is much lower, the action appears to be moving faster (think of a flower budding in fast motion). For instance, if you took a picture of the sunset in front of you once a second, and compressed hundreds of images at 30 frames per second, it would seem like the sunset was playing in fast-forward.
Filmmaker Anthony Cerniello (more info) recently combined stop motion and time lapse animation to create a project that quickly became the most-viewed video on Colossal (more info), a popular website highlighting new artistic breakthroughs, as well as becoming a Staff Pick on Vimeo. His short film “Danielle” originated when he joined his friend Danielle at her family reunion last Thanksgiving. With the help of still photographer Keith Sirchio, the two captured pictures of all of Danielle’s cousins, from youngest to oldest. After scanning the photos into his computer, he selected the pictures of the family members with the most similar bone structure and made slight edits. Next, animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle helped the project along by using After Effects and 3D Studio Max to animate the photos from youngest to oldest, bringing them to life in the form of what looked like a slowly aging person. Nuke artist George Cuddy then edited small details such as hair and eyes, and the rest was history.
All of these pictures were put together and slightly animated between each frame to create subtle transitions, creating an amazing time-lapse effect and showing the decades-long aging process in just a few breathtaking minutes. Paired with the music added by Mark Reveley, the project is as eerie as it is cool.
Want to try your hand at shooting your own time lapse photography? Here are some tips:
1. Make sure you choose a subject that shows movement. Melting ice, a busy street, or a flower blooming are some good starting points to get you thinking.
2. Decide how much time you want to dedicate to shooting. It’s going to take a lot longer to shoot the change of the seasons than it will to shoot a sunrise, so plan accordingly!
3. Determine your frame capturing intervals. If you’re shooting something that will take longer to show movement, you might want to take a picture once every minute instead of once every second. If you want a more seamless shot, set your time intervals to a few seconds. With the time lapse featuring in iStopMotion for iPad, you can simply set it and forget it!
4. Use a tripod. When shooting a time lapse (or stop motion animation, for that matter!) it’s vital that you have a steady shot, so your footage doesn’t look jumpy. For professional looking work, use a tripod, or anything to keep your camera or iPad steady.
5. Add titles and other effects. Use editing software like iMovie or Final Cut Pro to add titles, music and any other effects you can imagine.
iStopMotion is super easy to use for time lapse videos as well as stop motion animation. Give it a try today and let us know what you think!
by Megan - Monday, October 07, 2013 - Permalink
We’re proud to announce that Boinx was recently named a finalist for White Bull Summits’s annual “Bully Award!” White Bull aims to help companies succeed, and their team of media experts, analysts, journalists, and seasoned executives serve to seek out companies on the cutting edge. They then connect them with one other to give them the best chance at success. We can certainly appreciate that, seeing as we try to inspire success, too!
The Bully Award is given to one of Europe’s brightest tech stars whose firm has demonstrated excellence in innovation and growth potential. This year’s 60 finalists were selected based upon a standardized analysis that was designed with the help of the top business schools in the world. The pool will be narrowed down to 30 winners at the Pathways to Exit Summit, which gathers together some of the industry’s top entrepreneurs, global investors, corporate development execs, and services firms who support the ecosystem. Pathways will take place on October 9th in Barcelona. Boinx’s own Oliver and Achim Breidenbach will be speaking at the conference, as well as assisting with a live stream broadcast using BoinxTV. It’s sure to be a fantastic night filled with talent and inspirational success stories.
The winners of the Bully Award will fall into one of three categories: “Yearlings,” which includes firms that seek or have received angel/seed rounds or equivalent, considered classic start-up companies; “Young Bulls,” which includes firms that seek or have received Series A financing, considered early stage companies (like Boinx!); and finally, “Longhorns,” post-Series A firms, considered growth stage companies.
Click here for a full list of the finalists for the 2013 Bully Award. We wish all of the nominees the best of luck, and we thank White Bull for honoring Boinx on their list!
by Megan - Tuesday, October 01, 2013 - Permalink
On September 9th, we launched our newest app, PhotoPresenter for iOSmore info). With PhotoPresenter, you can randomly pick photos and videos from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch library and display them on a larger screen using either AirPlay or an HDMI/VGA adapter. It’s a must-have app for anyone looking for an easy way to share pictures from their iDevice without putting private photos on display for the world to see. We’re happy to say that after just a few short weeks on the market, we’re giving PhotoPresenter for iOS a fresh look for iOS 7, as well as some other pretty cool functions.
PhotoPresenter 2 for iOS introduces a few brand new features that greatly increase the app’s ease of use, including a new Laser Pointer tool. Just tap your finger to the feature in your photo you want to point out, and a blue laser pointer will appear on the big screen, directing your audience’s attention wherever you want. Also included in the update is the “Mouseposé” mode. Simply choose an area to appear in the spotlight, and the rest of your photo will be dimmed to showcase that important feature. If you’ve updated to iOS 7, have no fear. PhotoPresenter 2 has been completely revamped for the new look!
If you’ve already purchased PhotoPresenter, the update is free of charge. If you don’t already have the app, download it on iTunes for just 0.99 USD for a limited time only - but hurry, this price only lasts until October 6th, when the app will go back to its regular retail price of 1.99 USD. Get it now here. It’s the perfect tool to show off select photos to your family, friends, or clients without broadcasting your entire photo library!
PhotoPresenter has already made it into iTunes’ Top 10 Apps in a number of countries. And for good reason – users can show off their pictures with just three simple steps. First, hook up your device to an HDTV set or a projector with an HDMI/VGA adapter, or via AirPlay. Next, browse your library to find which pictures and videos you want to show your audience. Then click! Your selected media will be shown on the big screen while the rest of your photo library remains hidden.