by Megan - Monday, May 20, 2013 - Permalink
...The Photography Corner, that is! Tim Walker of the leading photography resource website recently took a (long) look at FotoMagico 4. Here is his review:
A while back I was asked to review slideshow software “FotoMagico 4” by Boinx Software. I’ve played around with it a couple of times, and it’s probably one of the most comprehensive pieces of slideshow software I’ve played with to date (one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to review - version 4 has been out over half a year!), functioning more like a full-fledged video editor as opposed to simply a slideshow creator. It will take users a while to figure out how to use the many features, but after learning the various techniques and tricks required, FotoMagico 4 can produce a fantastic montage of photographs.
...It really is an impressive piece of software. If you want to turn your photographs into a beautifully-crafted video - complete with movement, sound and graphics, FotoMagico 4 by Boinx Software is a great choice. While it has a fairly steep learning curve, once you make it over the hump, the projects you create will more than impress.
by Megan - Monday, May 20, 2013 - Permalink
Happy Friday, everyone! We want to kick off this weekend right – and to do that, we’d like to present: iStopMotion 3.1! The latest upgrade to our stop motion animation program, iStopMotion 3.1 now offers a feature you’ve been asking for – the ability to create stop motion and timelapse videos by capturing frames directly from your computer screen. Pretty neat, right? Pair iStopMotion with any of your favorite illustration programs (like Photoshop or Illustrator) or any other app you desire, and record your creation process. The possibilities really are endless – if you can think it, you can do it! We’ve also added in the ability to export to Apple® ProRes video format if the codec is installed, so you can directly import animations into Final Cut Pro® X without the need to transcode. And, as with all updates, we’ve fixed a few bugs to help give you an overall smoother animating experience.
We asked our newest friend Cody Creed, an art teacher from Manitoba, Canada to test out the new feature. He tells us:
“The iStopMotion screen capture feature is exceptional. It is a real pleasure to watch the application in action. As an artist, I wish to share my process. This feature makes it easy to show how I create images from scratch in a dynamic and interesting way. I also find it works great in spaces. That way you can capture without the visual clutter of two applications at once. It has a great deal of potential, which will be realized when the art community gets their hands on it.”
Creed has been using both the Mac and iPad versions of iStopMotion in the classroom for years and has students animate things like scientific processes and current events. He says the interactivity and ability to see certain processes sped up in a stop motion animation helps students better understand certain concepts. Watch Cody’s video above to see what’s possible with the new screen capture feature.
iStopMotion 3.1 is now available both from the Mac App Store and the Boinx website for 49.99 USD or as a free update for existing v3 customers. iStopMotion 3.1 requires OS X 10.7.4 Lion or newer.
More About iStopMotion
Boinx iStopMotion is the leading solution for stop motion animation and timelapse capture, used by many thousands of parents, kids, teachers, brickfilmers, pro animators and anyone with an interest in this fascinating movie making technique. From tilt shift and color correction to creating high quality HD movies, iStopMotion is a comprehensive application for the Mac that makes it possible for users of all skill levels to create exciting stop motion animations. In 2011, Boinx Software added iStopMotion for iPad to its family of stop motion animation products. Whether you just want to spend a magical weekend with your kids or are a serious animator, now it's time to tell your story, frame by frame with iStopMotion.
by Megan - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - Permalink
The newest installment of BoinxTV directly supports the global distribution of live news
The landscape of news distribution has changed dramatically since the dawn of the Internet Age. These days, the “Twitterverse” is usually the first on the scene with breaking news – albeit allegations at best in most scenarios – with credited online news organizations following shortly after with more legitimatized versions of the story. With these younger news sources delivering stories at what, at times, feels faster than the speed of light, broadcast television has had to find ways to adapt and keep up in the race to deliver news.
Television news broadcasting operates differently than that which is published on the vast online stratosphere. Needless to say, it requires a physical presence – journalists reporting from a newsroom or on the scene with a camera crew. Delivering a story isn’t always as simple as logging on and posting an article written from the comforts of one’s home. So when Chris Yates, an aviation analyst and regular talking head for stations like the BBC and CNN, was called on to correspond on breaking news stories, he’d often have to drive out to a station’s respective news center, or have a news truck sent out to him. That is, until he discovered BoinxTV.
“There’s traditionally been very little robust software available that would allow me to link into a live broadcast virtually. I checked out all manner of solutions but almost everything I tried turned out to be very low end and failed to deliver,” Chris said. “In late September I happened to get chatting with a couple of broadcast engineers about different ways to stream live video and audio from my home office to the broadcast screen, and they recommended checking out BoinxTV. I’ve been using it for several months now, and it’s proving to be very, very robust.”
Chris has worked in the broadcast and print industries for over 30 years. He cut his journalistic teeth with a decade-long stint in BBC radio, before switching to print media with the globally renowned defense publisher Jane’s Information Group as an editor and company spokesperson across radio and television. At the same time, he successfully ran his own aviation security, safety and terrorism consultancy business on the side, which went fully independent in 2009.
Chris has been across most of the major aviation-related stories for over a decade, including the Concorde disaster, 9/11, Air France 477, Underwear Bomber, Bin Laden death and many others. Although he knows his way around the radio or television studio like the back of his hand, Chris now has the luxury of broadcasting live from his own home office studio.
“Standard practice in the past was an alert call to request either a studio appearance or whereabouts for a satellite truck to attend,” Chris tells us. “Given we live and work in a 24-hour news cycle environment, it’s vital that mainstream broadcasters have access to informed comment around the clock. News organizations I’ve worked with across the globe for very many years know that whenever a major event is breaking within my areas of expertise, they can simply call for a talking head who is able to go live within minutes and provide extensive insight, thanks to the increased capability offered by BoinxTV.”
Being available for a live television broadcast would often require Chris to travel to the nearest studio at the first hint of trouble in the past. While the nearest BBC and ITV studios (both of which have reciprocal arrangements to feed other global broadcasters) are a mere 18 miles away, others, like Sky News, could be up to a 40-mile journey from his home office.
“Major news events that once consumed huge amounts of time are now responded to with a couple of mouse clicks, and at a fraction of the cost previously incurred in terms of personal travel. Not to mention studio booking fees and satellite uplink time incurred by others,” Chris says.
Given the immediacy of radio and television news nowadays, the majority of mainstream broadcasters are increasingly turning to telecommute solutions such as Skype to get on-air talent live as quickly as possible. Chris says that early tests with Skype demonstrated particular issues, such as out-of-sync audio and video, that could have a big impact on an effective performance in the live-to-air environment.
“With BoinxTV, I can bring audio and video together and have lip sync lock, thus making the stream look real, as opposed to something cobbled together at the last minute,” Chris comments. “I’m also really excited about the ability to do green or blue screen. This allows me to deliver a feed specific to whichever broadcaster I’m appearing on at the time, therefore maintaining appropriately targeted visuals.”
He adds, “BoinxTV is a very powerful piece of software with which I can do anything from virtual sets through picture in picture to standard lower thirds. Broadcasters I speak to regularly are extraordinarily astounded by the sound and video quality inbound to them and destined for live broadcast nationally and globally.”
In his office studio setup, Chris runs a primary quad core iMac workstation and dual core MacBook Pro, along with an iPad and a couple of iPhones. A Canon 3CCD camera, full digital audio, and color-corrected lighting enables live television appearances. Two 32-inch Toshiba monitors allow him to actively view live off-air scenes from the field, enabling him to appropriately react to an evolving story in real time as he broadcasts live. “Outbound feeds are achieved predominantly via Skype and delivered by standard or high-bandwidth broadband links. I typically feed out in standard definition, leaving broadcasters free to upscale to suit their own requirement at the other end,” Chris concludes.
Chris recently took to the air and clocked up 18 hours of solid television and radio broadcasting over a single day across CNN, BBC World, Al Jazeera, Sky News and multiple other domestic and international channels, aided in large part by BoinxTV software.
Now THAT’S something to Tweet loudly about.
by Megan - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - Permalink
Claiming the record for World’s Smallest Stop Motion Film by Guinness World Records, IBM has launched themselves from technology giant to filmmaker phenoms. The viral video was posted on April 30 and has already been viewed over three million times! The official description of the video says, “the ability to move single atoms — the smallest particles of any element in the universe — is crucial to IBM's research in the field of atomic memory. But even nanophysicists need to have a little fun. In that spirit, IBM researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move thousands of carbon monoxide molecules (two atoms stacked on top of each other), all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it 100 million times. A movie made with atoms.” Watch how this amazing stop motion movie was created and prepare to be blown away.
Stop motion animation is being used more and more for educational purposes because of the easy to use tools available (like, ahem, iStopMotion!) and quick comprehension for young students. Just as IBM transformed their lab in the video above, science classrooms are being turned into film studios. Stop motion is no longer just an artistic medium, but a powerful learning tool when put in the hands of students. Check out some other ways that stop motion, and iStopMotion in particular has been impacting the world of education (like this! And this!) and click here to read more about IBM’s continual contributions to the world of atomic memory.
by Oliver - Sunday, May 05, 2013 - Permalink
20-year-old iStopMotion prodigy Charlie Collier collaborated with Lincoln Durham on the new music video for Durham's song "Ballad of a Prodigal Son", a rather dark story. Read more about the project.
by Oliver - Saturday, May 04, 2013 - Permalink
Animation Chefs worked with a group of local kids to make an adventure movie about discovering an ancient pyramid in a jungle and finding ghosts there. They took pictures of them doing different facial positions which they then printed out on card stock white paper. They cut out just the faces, and then built some bodies out of construction paper.
by Oliver - Friday, May 03, 2013 - Permalink
Last week of April, at Nordic Light Festival Of Photography, this time lapse of Kristiansund beautiful harbor was captured with iStopMotion for iPad and edited in FotoMagico, adding the slow pan & zoom effect and the titles within minutes.
by Megan - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 - Permalink
Discover innovative ways to strengthen your photography business with your iPad.
Derrick Story is back with his fifth book release. "iPad for Digital Photographers" is a instructional guide on how to leverage the strengths of the iPad to enhance your photography and your business. With helpful tips that include editing techniques when you're on-the-fly, suggestions for backup storage devices, and how to take advantage of the hi-res display. WiFi connectivity, and powerful processor to increase efficiency, Story uses clear and entertaining writing to give great advice for the digital photographer.
With an entire section about how to use iStopMotion from Boinx, Story demonstrates that he is a jack-of-all-trades. From photography to stopmotion, readers will have a chance to learn from a professional on how to execute the most exciting and aesthetically pleasing pieces of art in multiple mediums. The video featured above entitled "The Overlook (Time Lapse)" was created utilizing the timelapse feature of iStopMotion for iPad. By combining his love for digital photography and stopmotion, it is easy to see why Story is an expert as you flip through the pages. Here is the description of the book in the iTunes store:
Many photographers are turning to the flexible, easy-to-use tools of the iPad and relying on them to wear a variety of hats in their photography business. Whether portable portfolio, editing tool, payment-tracking system, or appointment calendar, the iPad melds together the best attributes of the cell phone and a laptop computer and this unique book highlights them all. With this helpful resource, you'll learn how to get the most out of your iPad to not only improve your business but also enhance your photography.
Get the book now here for 16.99 USD. Make sure to check out Story's other publications including "The Digital Photography Companion" and "The Digital Photography Pocket Guide."mac You can also find him at Macworld Magazine where he writes a digital photography column or at his online camera club, The Digital Story.
by Megan - Monday, April 29, 2013 - Permalink
The life of the “average” 20-year-old typically consists of dealing with pesky roommates, worrying over college exams, figuring out how to stretch a limited bank account accumulated over a summer of working…but Charlie Collier is not your average 20-year-old. We met him over a year ago when Slovenian band Puppetz released their music video for Generacija Y, which Charlie was responsible for making. Seriously – how many 19-year-olds do you know who have had a music video featured on a European division of MTV? Naturally, we’ve been following his work ever since.
We already ranted and raved about Charlie’s amazing talent in our first blog about him (and again in the second), so we’ll spare you the gooey admiration and get right down to business. Charlie was, not surprisingly, commissioned to animate a music video by a different artist. This time around, it was for indie/folk/rock artist Lincoln Durham’s song Ballad of a Prodigal Son. Also a Texas native, the two met in a rather unconventional way – at a martial arts school’s end-of-the-year party.
“My instructor wanted to have a musician play at our studio for our end-of-the-year party,” Charlie tells us (I know what you’re thinking – he animates AND practices martial arts?! Where does he find the time… Oops, back to the story.). “He knew Lincoln Durham and got him to come out and play. That’s how I ended up meeting him. We talked, I asked him if he had any music videos and explained to him what I do.”
Once they established the relationship, the two got right to work. In the past, when asked to create the music video for Puppetz, Charlie told us they essentially gave him full creative control over the animation. They had seen his work in Twist Ninja and knew they wanted something similar, letting Charlie take the wheel. This time around was a bit different, but in a good way. “It was definitely more of a collaboration,” says Charlie. “We wrote the screenplay together, really bringing his style and ideas to life. Lincoln actually lives in Texas as well but about four hours from me, so after we wrote the screenplay I storyboarded everything and posted updates of what I’d been doing on Facebook. Being able to collaborate online was key. He’d tell me what he liked and what he wanted changed.”
Luckily, Charlie was happy to share the reigns with another artist. He tells us there were many moments he and Lincoln would bounce ideas off of each other, and many times Lincoln would come up with an idea Charlie had never even thought of. Another interesting, and very different, aspect of this creative process was that Charlie did not have to invent the characters himself. “One of the cool things about this project in particular is that Lincoln already had these characters laid out from other songs he did. He writes songs and stories and has these characters like the crows and the girl present in all of them; I was able to bring them to a visual format.”
While Charlie didn’t have to do any work conceptualizing the characters, he did have to create their physical, real-world counterparts (and, not to mention, make sure they lived up to Lincoln’s imagined perception of them). To do so, he hand-make all of those characters himself – something he was completely new to. “I never built a traditional stop motion model before this; a lot of the materials I used I had never actually worked with before. The characters were made from foam and wire with latex skin over that. I hand-sewed all the clothes and the trees were made with plastic polymer clay. Lincoln thought the models were so cool. It was the first time his characters were ever created physically.” Charlie even admits that the singer may have liked the model characters even more than he did.
In order to bring those characters to life, Charlie employs the never-failing iStopMotion. “I really like iStopMotion,” Charlie tells us (not trying to toot our own horns or anything but, Toot! Toot!). “It’s really helpful and that’s what I like about it – it’s not overly complicated, allows you to do some editing, and is effective without trying to be something it’s not. I did all the compositing with After Effects and built the timeline using Premiere Pro.” Watch how Charlie did the compositing.
He shot the film with a Canon 7D along with a 28-135mm lens and an 18-24mm lens, shooting all of the elements separately in front of a blue screen. Separating all of the scene elements allowed him to make them appear larger than life, an effect that translates quite well in the video.
Animating a project, especially if you’re a perfectionist like Charlie, can be a maddening thing, reviewing your work over and over and over again until it’s absolutely perfect (and even then you still have your doubts). Charlie tells us he must have listened to Ballad of a Prodigal Son dozens of times. “It’s not even funny,” he says – while laughing. “I listened to it more times than Lincoln has.” Luckily, it’s a good song. What helped ease the process of animating his characters precisely to the music was iStopMotion 3’s audio track feature. “You can import the audio track and see the waveform in the timeline. That was an awesome feature to have when I was animating Lincoln’s character to play along with the guitar. If it wasn’t for that feature I’d be really angry.”
All joking aside, this has to be the most epic moment of the entire music video, so we’re happy that we can (sort of) say we had a little something to do with it. “That’s my favorite part of the whole video. Up until that point, there are really no other instruments,” Charlie comments. “I wanted to transition from slow into this climax, with the lightning and rain. I actually filmed that whole guitar section first – mostly because I wanted to. I really wanted to get that part down, because it was the most challenging scene to animate – having him play the guitar perfectly to the rhythm. By doing that part first, I knew I wouldn’t be pressed for time in the end with deadlines, because I really didn’t want to rush shooting that scene. I’m pleased with how it turned out.” So are we, Charlie, so are we.
You may be wondering what’s next for the young animator. More music videos? Film school? Partnering up with Tim Burton on his next feature film? According to Charlie, he’s still working on perfecting his animation skills, so he definitely plans to do more music videos in the near future. “Music videos are meant to be kind of weird, in a way. Plus they’re short, the length of a song is usually about two or three minutes, which is nice when it comes to stop motion animation. You can experiment with stuff and try all these different styles, and the audio is taken care of. I do want to get into narrative storytelling in the future, but really the reason I’m not yet is because I’m not sure my animating skills are up to par. If I’m going to do a short film, I want to give it my all. With music videos, I can experiment and get more practice with animating. I’ll start branching off eventually.” As for film school, he’ll get there eventually, but he’s not going to rush it.
The last time we spoke with Charlie, he named Laika, the animation studio that produces films like Paranorman and Coraline, as one of his daily sources of inspiration. We were happy to hear that, since then, he had the opportunity to visit their Oregon studios. Well…sorta. “Over the summer I visited the studios in Oregon but they wouldn’t let me in because they were filming something. [He laughs] I did get into the little vestibule though. Next time I’ll schedule a tour.”
While Charlie is currently “talking business” with a few people right now, he doesn’t have anything set in stone. He’s just enjoying life, working on his craft, and having fun being commissioned to do projects (like we said, not your average 20-year-old). You heard it here, people, Charlie Collier, animation extraordinaire, is open for business. But you better book it fast – we’re betting Charlie won’t be kept out of ANY animation studio much longer (we’re looking at you, Laika!).
To see more from Charlie or to contact him for more information on working together, check out his blog, Zapamation.
by Megan - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - Permalink
The ever-wise Mac Sage reminisces on what it was like to animate as a child, ruing the fact that the “brilliantly simple” iStopMotion for iPad didn’t exist back in the day. Here’s why:
“I remember fondly my first animation class when I was eight years old. There was the excitement of creating a story with inanimate objects and bringing them to life with a Super-8mm camera. I also remember how agonizing it was to wait for the film to be developed so I could view the fruits of my labor. If only I had an iPad and iStopMotion back then…
iStopMotion ($9.99) is a well-design app for the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad. The interface is simple and intuitive, allowing young and old animators alike to get to the task at hand. You can use either the front or rear camera to create your masterpiece. And, with the free iStopMotion Remote Camera app, you can remotely control an iPhone camera to shoot your video.
Once you realize how easy it is to animate with iStopMotion, you’ll never look at the inanimate objects in your life the same way!”
You can say that again, Mac Sage. When it comes to iStopMotion, no object is off limits! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with the world.
Read Mac Sage’s full review of iStopMotion for iPad here.