by Megan - Monday, December 23, 2013 - Permalink
Every year, UK department store chain John Lewis collaborates with adam&eveDDB, a communications company, for a holiday commercial. This year they really went the extra mile with their ad “The Bear & the Hare” by producing an incredible, hand-drawn stop motion animation. It went viral almost immediately.
The commercial is centered on best friends Bear and Hare in the midst of a Christmas-decorating extravaganza in the forest. Bear watches sadly, knowing he will soon have to hibernate and miss the holiday with his friends. However, this year Hare has an idea that will change everything.
“The Bear & the Hare” took a long time to create – just the animating portion took over six weeks to accomplish – but it was well worth it! Most of the figures that appear in the ad are traditional 2D hand-drawn animations, but all of the sets were created in 3D. And rather than doing standard 2D animation, the team decided to go the full mile and film it all in stop motion. What resulted is an absolutely fascinating scene that truly captures the holiday spirit in a unique way.
Read more about “The Bear & the Hare” and watch the short film above to find out what happens in this heartwarming Christmas story. To see a behind-the-scenes look at how this beautiful animation was created, take a look at “The Bear & the Hare – the Making Of.” It’s a great place to pick up some pointers!
Are you planning on creating something for your own holiday celebrations, but in need of a “jolt” like Bear? Have no fear … we’ve got some ideas to get awaken your creative mind!
• Try your own holiday iStopMotion animation. You could use the stop motion feature to make some of your favorite holiday food come to life (like candy canes, holiday cookies, eggnog … anything can work!), to animate Claymation reindeer on a makeshift roof or to create a snowy wonderland animation on a chalkboard.
• How about time-lapse movies? Use iStopMotion to create a time-lapse video of a snowstorm, opening presents, decorating a Christmas tree, lighting a Menorah, or baking holiday cookies! iStopMotion’s time-lapse feature is great when it comes to documenting a process that changes from start to finish.
• Use FotoMagico to create a picture slideshow of your family around the holidays. Mix it up and throw some pictures of a family dinner (as you can see, we’re big holiday food fans here), present opening, playing in the snow, or playing board games and drinking hot chocolate by the fire. You’ll be able to look back on it for years to come.
We’d love to see your take on some of these ideas and new ideas of your own! Send in some of your best holiday creations for a chance to be featured here on Boinx’s blog! Happy Holidays!Please note: The above animation "The Bear & the Hare" was not created using iStopMotion.
by Megan - Friday, December 20, 2013 - Permalink
'Tis the season of giving - and Boinx has just given iStopMotion for the Mac live view support for Canon DSLR cameras! For anyone still looking for the perfect gift for animators, photographers and all-around techies, why not bundle iStopMotion 3.5 and a Canon DSLR? Now that iStopMotion supports Canon DSLR cameras, the two make the perfect pair this holiday season. Support cameras include the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 40D, 60D, 60Da, Rebel XSi (aka the 450D in Europe / Kiss X2 in Japan), Rebel T2i (aka 550D / Kiss X4), and Rebel T5i (aka 700D / Kiss X7i). Click here for the full list.
“In the past, when you wanted to use iStopMotion with a Canon DSLR camera, you had to do without the greatest feature of iStopMotion – the live preview with the semi transparent onion skinning effect that allows you to see your next shot and make adjustments before capturing the frame,” says Oliver Breidenbach, CEO, Boinx Software. “Finally we are able to provide this feature to customers using Canon DSLRs, and we are hard at work to offer support for Nikon DSLRs in a future release.”
Among a long list of cool new features added to Boinx’s iStopMotion for Mac, two stand out. The first is that you can hook up a Canon DSLR and see it’s live-view output right in the app. But the second is the one you’ll really be interested in: iStopMotion now outputs animated GIFs.
iStopMotion is the perfect way to spend Christmas with some kids, be they yours or somebody else’s (NB. I don’t recommend stealing kids to do this: just use any that are already on hand). You can quickly build a stop-motion movie using household objects, modeling clay, humans or anything you like.
Disclaimer: We second Cult of Mac's anti-kid-stealing policy.
Key Features in iStopMotion 3.5
• NEW – Support for animated GIF export: save any sequence of up to 200 frames as an animated GIF right to the hard drive
• NEW – Screen capture: Capture anything on your screen and turn it into an animation or time lapse movie
• Onion skinning: See what the animation is going to look like before you capture the frame
• Rotoscope: Use another movie as a guide for your animation to get the movements just right
• Tilt shift filter: One of the most popular photo and video effects today, make your scene look like a miniature
• Chroma keying: Animate dinosaurs into real background pictures or movies, or put an actor into an animated scene
Whether you're new to stop motion animation or not, head on over to the Animation Chefs website to find out about their latest animation contest and win big!
by Megan - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - Permalink
Do you like free stuff? We sure do! Well, luckily for you, the Animation Chefs are holding another prize-filled animation challenge. They’ll be giving away more than $150 in gift cards before Christmas – all you have to do is pick Rudolf’s nose!
Well, sort of. Join in all the reindeer games by animating Rudolf’s nose for the contest. We’re talking the kind of animation that will do his big, bright red nose justice … after all, there’s an entire song written about it! Remember, it doesn’t matter how long or short the video is, or even how skilled you are at animating. The contest is a drawing, so everyone has an equal chance at the fun.
You’ve got to hurry to win though! The contest ends the night before the night before Christmas – December 23rd – at midnight. If Santa can deliver in such a short time, so can you!
And as a bonus, Boinx will be giving away some iStopMotion for iPad codes to the contest winners. $150 in gift cards + free iStopMotion for iPad = a whole lot of early holiday happiness. So get animating and shout out with glee, because if you win, you’ll go down in history!
by Megan - Monday, December 16, 2013 - Permalink
At first glance, one probably wouldn’t assume a company by the name of “The Motley Fool” offered financial solutions for investors, analyzing earnings reports and rating stocks for the benefit of its community of millions. Yet that’s exactly what the “Fools” at this financial services company do. So what’s with the silly name? Taken from Shakespearean literature, the “fool” was someone who both amused and instructed those around them, and could speak the sometimes-harsh truth to royalty – without the fear of losing his head. It was the perfect name for this financial services company, which had (and still has) a fresh and fun take on an otherwise serious subject.
The Motley Fool is the brainchild of brothers David and Tom Gardner. It started in July of 1993 in Alexandria, Virginia as a monthly 16-page investment newsletter mailed to 1,000 friends and family members. The brothers requested $48 for an annual subscription; 37 people subscribed. With the odds against them, the Gardner brothers’ dedication to building the world’s greatest investment community fueled the flames to keep going. The investment paid off.
Despite their humble beginnings in the summer of ’93, the Motley Fool grew to be the most popular finance site on America Online – in less than a year. By 1998, the Fools had been referred to as an “ethical oasis” by “The Economist,” published three best-selling books, successfully launched their own website, and played one killer April Fool’s Day prank on the financial world. After celebrating their 20th anniversary this past summer, things couldn’t be better for the growing team. And while the team has expanded well beyond the two founding brothers, David and Tom are just as passionate as ever about helping the world make better investments, serving as a daily inspiration for their team.
“The Motley Fool started off in the Internet go-go age as an online resource for retail investors, the first and biggest of its kind,” recalls Motley Fool Analyst Austin Smith, who considers himself a relatively new Fool. “We rose with the Internet bubble and our employee base shot higher. Then the world came crashing down and we had to reimagine our business. We've since converted to a subscription-based business with our premium newsletters reaching investors the world over and providing investing advice for every skill level and type of investor.”
Today, the Motley Fool reaches millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services. The team champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. Recently, however, the Fools jumped into a new frontier: video production.
“Our most recent foray, which finally broke the mold and became profitable for us, began probably about two years ago,” said Smith of the company’s on-again off-again endeavor into creating videos. “However, it took four to six months of dipping toes in the water before we really, truly committed to growing videos at scale. The push started 18-20 months ago.”
When they started out, the team was using individual editors for all of their production needs, but the process required a day or more to turn around the final product. The software restricted them from discussing the day’s financial events, putting them behind the conversation. The Fools needed something that would shorten production time and allow them to publish videos same day. That’s when they stumbled upon the perfect software for their needs: BoinxTV. Smith tells us, “We heard about BoinxTV through online research and switched to the software because of its ease of use and the timely nature it allowed us to publish.”
The team now works almost exclusively with BoinxTV, pairing it with some patched-together workflows including Handbrake, PowerPoint, Word, and an API plug-in. In addition to BoinxTV, the Fool’s technical setup consists of a Mac, three Sony FS700 cameras with teleprompters, a Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E switcher, and a mixer for audio. And while BoinxTV offers easy-to-use features and allows for a quicker production process, these aren’t the main reasons the Motley Fool continues to work with the system. The Motley Fool’s favorite aspect of using BoinxTV?
“The team. We may not still be using BoinxTV today if it wasn't for the very responsive and talented team at Boinx. They were able to build us custom layer solutions for our very specific uses and have been a pleasure to work with as we have grown our production.”
BoinxTV’s powerful layer concept offers virtually endless possibilities for users to design show templates, by adding layers such as lower thirds, picture-in-picture, scrolling tickers, green screen effects and much more. While this was a great start for the Motley Fool, they needed more. They asked Boinx for special, custom layers with certain options and functionalities. Working over Skype (due to the major mileage between Munich and Alexandria) Achim Breidenbach, Boinx Software co-founder and Quartz Composer extraordinaire, discussed the details with the Motley Fool team in order to implement these new features.
“Once I had the graphical designs, I began implementing the features and certain behaviors,” Achim recalls. “When I finished the first version of the layer, I handed it over to the Motley Fool crew, who then tested it in their production environment. After thoroughly testing it, they came back with important feedback. And so in two or three development cycles, a layer was finished and installed on the production machines.”
With helpful input from the Motley Fool team, Boinx developed a layer that would run topics on a sidebar to fit their unique requirements. The anchorman has a specific amount of time to discuss that particular topic until it is switched to the next one. To give even more flexibility, the BoinxTV operator can decide if the topic switches manually or automatically at predetermined time intervals.
“Another interesting layer we helped develop for the Motley Fool fetches live stock data from their own web service,” says Achim. “The BoinxTV operator simply enters any given stock symbols, prompting the current stock price to display in the recorded TV show. When we finished creating this layer, we actually decided to take it to the next level by displaying stock charts in real time with live data.”
You can see these and more layers in action by watching videos from any of the Motley Fool’s series, such as Investor Beat, Ask a Fool and MarketFoolery. It’s all available on their YouTube channel. Whether you’re an experienced investor or simply thinking about opening up a few stocks, the Motley Fool’s videos are the perfect mix of informative and entertaining to help you make the right investing decisions.
Next up in the pipeline for the Motley Fools is, you guessed it, more videos! According to Smith, the new focus will include longer form financial shows that will run anywhere from “five to 15 minutes in length, running the gamut of financial topics and providing more discussion for every type of investor.”
“We've been thrilled with the team and are eager to grow with them as we push Boinx further and further and they respond with even better solutions.”
Check out everything the crew is up to at www.fool.com or see some of their videos on their YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe to stay keep up with all the Motley Fool updates!
by Megan - Friday, December 13, 2013 - Permalink
Yesterday we announced the latest update to FotoMagico, and v4.4 is by far the most significant update to version 4 yet! We’re so excited for you to get your hands on this sweet upgrade, and just in time for the holidays. What better way to showcase the many memories from the most wonderful time of the year than with a slideshow that can be shared with loved ones near and far?
According to our very own Oliver Breidenbach, “This update to FotoMagico is not about fancy new features; it’s about improving the platform and preparing for the future. This is the most significant update to version 4 yet. While you might not realize the changes at first glance, they won’t go unnoticed once you dive into creating your slideshow.”
FotoMagico 4.4 Updates Include:
• Export has been completely overhauled to provide up to six-times faster export, better color accuracy and better quality for H.264 and Apple ProRes formats
• FotoMagico 4.4 is compatible with OS X Mavericks
• Modern 64-bit Architecture makes working with large slideshows with many slides and videos a breeze
• Transition from QuickTime to AV Foundation improves video playback and enables smoother transitions between slides
• Now supports legacy video formats via automatic conversion to modern formats
• Use the “c” key during video playback to separate a video clip into multiple consecutive clips for easier video editing of long videos
Luckily for us, our old friend Pelle, a professional photographer from Sweden, just released two new slideshows he made using FotoMagico … and as usual, they wowed us! Pelle says that with the new upgrade, FotoMagico has reached another level, and sharing the final slideshow is so much better and quicker than before. He also noted the improved split-screen capability of the updated version, which can be seen in action in his first slideshow.
The slideshow above was created to give a short presentation of a new cookbook Pelle recently produced with chef KC Wallberg. The book is called “My Culinary Kingdom,” and as you can see, Wallberg’s food definitely looks like it was made for royalty. Pelle’s pictures are so colorful, vibrant and delicious that the slideshow has left us salivating. We’re pleased that Pelle used FotoMagico to produce his vision, even though we’re now all starving!
Pelle’s second slideshow was made with material from a photo session with the Swedish Junior Culinary Team, who he works with often. The slideshow gives an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the kitchen, including, you guessed it … images of more tasty dishes! We especially love the transition effects Pelle used in this one. It gives us an idea of just how upbeat and fun it is in the back of the house. Check out Pelle’s slideshow here.
Curious to learn more about FotoMagico 4.4? Watch our webinar here, which features FotoMagico creator Peter Baumgartner and our video expert Bastian Wölfle explaining the new upgrade and answering questions from webinar participants.
by Megan - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - Permalink
Craig Lauridsen began working with stop motion animation five years ago through teaching children at Newtown Movie School, a program that provides fully interactive movie making programs for children ages 9 to 15. Since then, the school has filled up their YouTube channel with over 250 student-made stop motion movies. “Children are great at making stop motion movies,” Craig says. “We find the best way to solve most challenges on a budget they can afford, but to a standard that is the highest quality we can achieve.”
Craig says he’s been able to apply his experience in stop motion through making movies, visual communication, sound editing and, of course, by teaching it. And that’s exactly what led to Craig creating his iBook, “iPad Animation.” Featuring Boinx Software’s iStopMotion for iPad, Craig’s iBook teaches hopeful animators how to weave together story, pictures and sound to create amazing stop motion animations right from the iPad. Readers will learn how to use iMovie, GarageBand and djay in conjunction with iStopMotion for iPad. “iPad Animation” is available now through Apple’s iBookstore for just $7.99 – but hurry! Special pricing ends December 28th, when the iBook will resume regular pricing at $9.99.
“iPad Animation” was also designed to serve as a resource for schools and teachers looking to integrate the iPad into the curriculum worldwide. “We’ve had teachers tell us that their board has purchased a suite of iPads, and now they have to prove to the parents that they are a benefit to the learning, and not just a browsing device,” Craig says. “‘iPad Animation’ 100% meets that opportunity to turn the iPad into a creativity station. We want to get a copy of this book into every school – and the iStopMotion app as well of course.”
Craig was even able to include some of his own stop motion films in the iBook. He created a short stop motion film on the water cycle to be used as a case study. “I was looking for a more curriculum-based example of stop motion to balance the drama and art examples. I felt the water cycle was a good and simple topic that could be described in a short example for the book,” Craig says.
A Japanese exchange student at Newtown Movie School introduced the house to the art of origami, and, after seeing her models, Craig knew it would be the perfect addition to his water cycle movie idea. The script was researched and written in an hour, and the audio recorded in another hour. Then, Craig passed the dialogue audio on to his musician Theo Corfiatis from bluexrysalis.com to create in GarageBand.
“I was a bit ambitious thinking I could record the pictures in a day,” Craig laughs. “It took a day to make all the origami models. I thought through each scene like a storyboard to ensure I had the right models prepared.”
Recording the pictures took another day and involved quite a few rig setups to set each scene, which Craig particularly likes creating in order to achieve cool camera moves. Eventually, Craig wants to make the water cycle film available as a movie of “pictures and music” for the iBook so people can voice their own translation. He thinks it will be really great to see German, French, Italian, and Russian versions. To get involved in the global project, follow the simple steps posted on Craig’s site.
“iPad Animation” is now available through the iBookstore. It includes 26 movies, 23 sounds and about 700 images. For more information on “iPad Animation,” check out Craig’s website. Don't have iStopMotion for iPad yet? Not to worry: it's currently on sale for 50% off, at just $4.99 - special pricing ends December 15th, so get it before it's too late!
Win an Apogee MiC With Your “iPad Animation” Purchase
To celebrate the launch of his book, Craig Lauridsen will be giving away an Apogee MiC, provided courtesy of Apogee Electronics. This studio-quality microphone connects directly to the iPad, iPhone and Mac and lets you record any sound you can imagine, from vocals to voice-overs, instruments to interviews, and absolutely everything in between, so you can build a great track for your stop motion movie.
To enter this contest, simply purchase the “iPad Animation” iBook, then register and download the soundtracks on Craig’s site, which are high quality MP3s and original, fully editable GarageBand files. Participants will receive 15 extra soundtracks as an exclusive bonus. All soundtracks are original and have been composed by Wellington musician Theo Corfiatis. Participants must complete these steps by January 31, 2014 to be eligible to win. Craig will draw the winner randomly from all valid entries.
by Megan - Monday, December 09, 2013 - Permalink
When it comes to learning, we think a hands-on approach is the best way to get concepts through to kids. Plus, now with iPads in classrooms across the globe, it's more important than ever that we provide students and teachers with the best apps to help maximize the potential of iPad-learning. In steps our very own iStopMotion for iPad. Luckily, iPads in the Classroom, a UK website, is backing us up here in their article, "Bring Learning to Life on the iPad with iStopMotion."
They say: "Stop motion animation is a style of movie making that involves single photographs of an object in various positions that, when stitched together, appear as though the inanimate object has a life of it’s own. Some of the most impressive ways of creating a stop motion video include the use of clay or puppetry — both of which are still popular today, like the tv series Wallace & Gromit or the hit film Coraline. iStopmotion is the go-to app when it comes to creating a stop motion animation on your iPad."
iPads in the Classroom gives iStopMotion a 5-Star Super rating! "Overall, iStopMotion is the complete package for creating animations on the iPad. It’s fun, easy to use and is perfect for all ages."
For those looking to use iStopMotion for iPad in the classroom, they provide some great ideas on what you can do:
- Document how the weather changes throughout the day
- Time lapse of a plant growing over a period of time
- Record a painting being created
- Animate your school logo
And don't forget, iStopMotion for iPad is also a great tool to use at home with your kids. Animate all of your toys, record a time lapse of a blizzard while staying warm by the fireplace, and bring all of your Christmas presents to life! We've included a time lapse above of us baking some delicious holiday cookies (recipe here) - hopefully it inspires you to "cook" something up of your own!
by Megan - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - Permalink
When Phillip Barnhard and the rest of the team at M/C/C decided to take a different approach to their yearly holiday eGreeting card, they turned to iStopMotion. M/C/C is a full-service integrated marketing communications agency based in Dallas, Texas. Because they always encourage their clients, which include Texas Instruments, Harris CapRock and Chuck E. Cheese’s, to do something different and bold, they wanted their holiday greeting card to echo that sentiment.
“I ran across several Post-it stop motion videos that other filmmakers had posted to YouTube and I remember being blown away by the production and technique,” Phillip, a video producer at M/C/C, says. To incorporate their company’s values, Phillip had the idea to add things you might find at an employee’s desk. He pitched the idea of creating a wintery scene out of Post-its, and the rest was history. Everyone was on board.
The project consisted of three crewmembers, 632 sticky notes, 11 binder clips, six pencils, a stapler and a highlighter. The holiday eGreeting card, titled “Snow-motion,” was shot in M/C/C’s video suite using a Sony Handicam hooked up to a Macbook Pro.
“My favorite feature is definitely the onion skinning,” Phillip says. “During our big blizzard scene at the beginning of the film, the onion skinning feature allowed us to isolate which Post-its had not been moved. When you’re moving more than 75 pieces per frame, you lose track of which Post-its have been moved. Onion skinning made it easy for the crew to identify which ones were left to move and complete the shot.” Phillip also loves how easy iStopMotion is to use. He notes that you rarely run across sophisticated video software that you can download, learn and start production in a matter of minutes. He thinks it’s the perfect tool for amateur filmmakers to create entertaining films from home.
The response to the eGreeting card was overwhelmingly positive. Several clients said it was the best holiday video they had ever seen! Phillip says that the most gratifying moments came when industry peers recognized their hard work. “Snow-motion” won three awards in 2012 – a Silver Telly for Online Video, a Silver Davey for Online Advertising-Video, and a Bronze ADDY for Advertising Industry Self-Promotion: Interactive. It’s one of the most decorated creative pieces in M/C/C’s 27-year history.
Want to do something special for your holiday greeting this year, too? Check out M/C/C’s eGreeting card above and their YouTube Channel for some inspiration. Here’s another good one from M/C/C – not stop motion animation, but still hilarious. If you’re ready to give stop motion or time-lapse movies a shot, download iStopMotion for Mac (free five-day trial available) or iStopMotion for iPad and get animating! Happy Holidays!
by Megan - Monday, December 02, 2013 - Permalink
Cyber Monday-Shmyber Monday (amiright?!). This year, it's all about WINNING an iPad mini 2, courtesy of the Animation Chefs. But hurry - you have until midnight on Tuesday December 3rd to submit an animation. Remember, this is a contest, so animations are not judged, but rather give the creators an entry. Names are tossed into the Chefs' Pot-O-Problems and chosen randomly.
Check out the video above from Kids Create Art - an iStopMotion Humpty Project-slash-Doctor Who tribute to inspire your own creation. And don't forget, you can download a FREE trial version of iStopMotion to get you started on creating a stop motion animation for the Animation Chefs' Humpty Project contest. Simply visit this page and click download, then you'll be prompted to register for the free trial version. Happy animating, and good luck!