by Megan - Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - Permalink
BoinxTV is nominated for Best Webcast Platform at the Streaming Media European Readers' Choice Awards 2013. We couldn't be more excited to be included in a category full of some of the most talented and innovative companies around! Show your support and go vote for us here!
by Megan - Monday, April 22, 2013 - Permalink
Since the last time we talked to our good friends the Animation Chefs, the team has been cooking up quite a storm. Working on their sixth and seventh episodes, there has been little downtime to sit back and relax. With a busy household of four kids who all need to be in two places at the once, the production crew never really gets a break. Their crazy lives may be a little hectic, but they are enjoying every minute. Finalizing the latest season of seven episodes, which even includes a Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter special, the animation chefs haven’t even gotten to the main course.
Through readily available devices like iPads and smartphones equipped with stop motion animation programs, barriers that once held enthusiastic kids back from creating have been broken down, letting the fun pour in. With these tools in tow, the Animation Chefs saw a multitude of possibilities, one being the opportunity to help nurture youth interest in multimedia. They jumped at that opportunity with two goals in mind.
“We decided to reboot Animation Chefs as a regular web show with episodes, a site where kids could come to learn to do better what they were already posting on YouTube, and have fun being part of a community of others doing the same and have some fun along the way,” the Animation Chefs said. They also started up local classes to get kids hands-on experience working with iStopMotion and iMovie.
“We hold classes at a local gymnastic center, where a spare room can be rented, and word gets out through community groups and signs at the center as well as through the small following we have online. [We] use classes to experiment with teaching different age groups different kinds of animation and use what we learned to inform our web series [followers]. That way what we teach on the series, we know already works with kids. Our ‘fanimations’ come from these sessions.”
The Animation Chefs credit iStopMotion for some of their success. They trust the company history and the simplicity of the interface. They referred to iStopMotion as their “blanket: safe, comfortable, warm and fuzzy.” Having produced about 20 movies with iStopMotion for iPad, the team has never had a crash or any problems. But what makes them like it even more is how easy it is for their students to learn and produce their own short films. The Animation Chefs can see the creative wheels turning inside their young minds when given the opportunity.
“[iStopMotion] takes full advantage of the iPad's simplicity and tactility. The light bulbs go off over [students’] heads when they get how expressive they can be with their imagination. Visual storytelling is not something they've ever been taught or planned out with a camera. They can write stories. They can speak stories. Now they can show stories. Anything they can think of is possible! Powerful stuff.”
They want to teach millions of kids how to use the innovative digital tools around them to create media, not “just vegetate in front of it passively.” By continuing to share their knowledge through the web series, kids everywhere will soon have the necessary know-how to independently create their own animated movies. But it is more than just an art to them and the kids.
“We don't even think of this as art. We think of this as the basic way kids of our generation communicate, build community, and think. We think like distributors as much as we think like filmmakers. iStopMotion has a 'post to YouTube' button as an export function. An entire generation of kids not only create visual media, but distribute it as well. We don't take drawing classes. We don't take dance. We don't paint. We are self-taught visual storytellers who publish our vision to our fans. Is that art? Is that publishing? Is it visual literacy? Is it media literacy? We don't draw these lines. We are performing, educating, and building a community.“
Looking towards the future, the Animation Chefs don’t plan on slowing down. In fact, it seems they will be turning up the heat.
“We have attracted the attention of animation industry pros who have kids. So we have a number of relationships that we are using to make our second season even more helpful and exciting than the first. We are working on a massive database of animation formulas that even a 5 year old with an iPad can understand. We will eventually have a training program so anybody with tablet computers can start their own classes and teach their own local raving animators the finer points of all the above – using our research.“
One thing is for sure: whatever the Animation Chefs manage to cook up, the rest of us will be hungry for it. Check out the Animation Chefs website or their YouTube channel to stay up to date with the latest progress and videos.
by Oliver - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - Permalink
On April 15th, 2013, the Boinx Team prepared to launch a commercial rocket with supplies for the International Space Station. Watch the events unfold... The video was shot using iPhone 5, a Nikon D5100 and a Canon 40D. Editing was done completely in FotoMagico 4.
by - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - Permalink
Since we released the sandboxed versions of FotoMagico and iStopMotion on the Mac App Store, some users were experiencing baffling crashes. It took us quite a while to figure out what was wrong: There were QuickTime components installed on these systems that were incompatible with OS X sandboxing.
These problems affect all sandboxed video and photo apps – not just ours – so we decided to provide a troubleshooting utility to all Mac users. Now, you can perform scans for problematic QuickTime components with SandboxCleaner to clean up your Mac, making your life a whole lot easier.
Download SandboxCleaner for free from the Mac App Store.
Some more info about SandboxCleaner from the website:
If SandboxCleaner detects one of the components known to cause problems, it helps you figure out what to do. In some cases, the vendor of the component offers an update and SandboxCleaner directs you to it. In other cases, it might be best to disable the component using the Finder and contact the corresponding vendor for further information. If you know of components that cause issues but are not reported or are experiencing any other problems with SandboxCleaner, simply notify us via the Feedback Assistant. We will update the database suggesting the best way to deal with it.
Help Your Friends
Incompatible QuickTime components are a widespread problem. Many of your friends will experience the same or even worse problems than you. Unkempt sandboxes can lead to frustration – and no one wants a grumpy friend around! Be your friend’s hero by letting them know about SandboxCleaner using the built-in Twitter, Facebook and email sharing feature.
We hope you find SandboxCleaner useful and would appreciate a positive rating at the App Store if you do! (If not, talk to us in our forum.)
by Megan - Monday, April 08, 2013 - Permalink
The phenomenon known as the Harlem Shake has been going viral the past month across the Web. Everyone from swim teams to office workers have been bitten by the dance bug and boogied down to the smash hit by Baauer. Well it seems that the craze doesn’t affect only humans! In this iStopMotion feature, Olivier and his seven-year-old son create their own video using Playmobil toys. Within 20 minutes, the father-son duo taped and edited a 30-second video set to the Harlem Shake. Referring to iStopMotion as “simple and just perfect,” we hope that this dance party has a sequel.
by Megan - Wednesday, April 03, 2013 - Permalink
Growing up, art class consisted of finger painting, paper-mâché, and a lot of Popsicle sticks. Nowadays, the art room has become a lot more advanced than my Elmer’s glue days. Quest Academy, established in 1982 to provide an appropriate learning environment for gifted children whose needs were not being served well by their local public schools, has an art program that offers all the fun of finger painting with none of the mess. With over 290 students ranging in age from three to fourteen, Quest has expanded the art room into other subjects; all being connected by the students (and teachers!) love for iStopMotion.
Led by a trio of creative enthusiasts, Quest provides its students plenty of opportunities in both Fine and Visual Arts. Hether Hoffmann and Sherly Peterson have been teaching Visual Arts at Quest for the past fifteen years and four years, respectively. Vinnie Vrotny, the Director of Academic Technology, is in his first year at Quest and has been involved in this field at schools for over 25 years. The jump to iStopMotion, however, was a first for all three.
“Sheryl and Hether heard about iStopMotion at an Illinois Art Educators Association Conference and the National Association for Gifted Children Conference,” said Vrotny. “The middle schoolers were previously using Windows Moviemaker and the lower school students were using PhotoStory. iStopMotion has allowed for a more seamless creative workflow, especially when paired with iMovie iPad app. The final film is smoother [and] more professional looking.”
The teachers’ favorite part? The opportunity iStopMotion gives them to stop focusing so much on making technology work. Hoffmann says she is happy that is has “allowed [them] to move away from fighting the technology in order to complete the project.” iStopMotion allows them to focus on more important things, like the students. By giving them the opportunity to focus on helping the kids with story creation, aesthetic, and design, everyone not only has a more enjoyable time, but it facilitates a greater amount of learning.
All the student’s love using iStopMotion and it is easy to see why. Art has begun to find its way into other daily subjects throughout their day. Kids are coloring, drawing, writing, and creating not only in the art room anymore. Social Studies and Language Arts have both been taken over for days at a time, allowing kids to put their new stop motion skills to the test with stories from history or famous works of literature. Middle school students created an animated video for “The Odyssey.”
“The students are very excited with the technology integration,” said Peterson. “The lower school is able to coordinate subject matter across disciplines. For example, we use content from the Renaissance Period in Social Studies to write our storyboards, create our scenes, and make our movies. It is awesome!”
“Through integrating the art and other subjects provides students the opportunity to create a compelling visual narrative,” adds Hoffmann. “With the increased ability to capture pictures and video, it is important in learning how to compose a written narrative. Using animation software enables students to easily compose in this medium so that we, the teachers, can then focus on teaching them how to craft a story.”
Unquestionably, the student’s favorite parts about working with iStopMotion are the ability to see their ideas come to life in a professional movie. Instant gratification allows them to see step-by-step progress of what all their hard work is resulting in. It is easy to see the individual frames along the bottom of the screen and delete the ones where they find fingers or hands.
“Students are able to create content that comes alive right before their eyes. That is a powerful motivator - every student wants to participate and be a part of the movie,” Vrotny said. “The process makes students stop, think, and plan before taking action. They collaborate as a movie making team in order to complete the project. The students are totally focused and highly productive during the movie making process and so proud of their work. “
“Creating films also enables those students who are more visually oriented, the ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a medium which better fits their strengths,” comments Hoffmann. “Since they now have the ability to easily communicate their ideas, they can then be pushed to utilize higher level thinking skills, analysis and synthesis of these ideas without being limited by their ability to communicate.”
Getting their kids excited about the arts is a gift in itself for these three teachers. Enthusiastic students are not only more enjoyable in the classroom, but learn easier as well. Quest gives their students the chance to thrive in a highly developed and nurturing environment, providing them stability and the opportunity to explore different mediums and subject matters they may not be offered in other places.
“Students are very excited to come to art,” said Peterson. “They are very focused and motivated to learn. The hard work pays off in big ways - they are proud of their work and the hard work is tied to a high rate of success. Quest Academy’s seventh grade’s “Odyssey” will be featured at Schaumberg’s Prairie Center for the Arts in Illinois this month. The video has been a great way to share student work with the larger global community.”
by Megan - Monday, April 01, 2013 - Permalink
When a romantic dinner for two goes awry after the food goes “right through them,” Skelly and his girlfriend aren’t sure what they will do without their beloved Bolognese. Made by Susan Kennedy and daughter Mary Macbeth in 12 hours during their own “Sunday Challenge,” the stop motion film is the first (but hopefully not last!) from the mother-daughter duo. With the use of metal skeletons, paper, and some printed pictures, Susan says the best part of iStopMotion was “the ghost image of the previous frame and how easy it was for [their] paper scenery to move.” They loved that “iStopMotion really does make it so simple, even for complete amateurs like [them].” Check out their YouTube channel for more future updates. Bon appétit!
by Oliver - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - Permalink
We're a bit late on catching this one, but here's hoping you had a fantastic St. Patrick's Day last weekend! Hopefully YOU didn't get pinched... stop motion animation made by the Animation Chefs!
by Megan - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - Permalink
For the last three years some of us have worked at the same job or taken classes on the road to obtaining a degree. Some of us have traveled the world while others settled down. But for Billy McGlone, these last three years (or, at least, the weekends) were spent on a single project. For the last 36 months, McGlone has taken any spare moment he stumbled upon to retreat to his garage to create “Tumbleweed Valley,” an eight-minute stop motion masterpiece.
Born and raised on Long Island, Billy always knew that art was going to be a part of his life. After making a move to Charlotte, North Carolina in search of fresh air and open skies, he settled into a job as Art Director and Graphic Designer in the medical field. But the days of stealing his dad’s 8mm camera and shooting single frame clicks of everything that happened around his house weighed heavily on his memory. At the time, the lack of funding for materials and impatience of a young boy during the development phase deterred him from pursuing his hobby. Nevertheless, in 1985 the art of filmmaking came back to knock on his door.
“When I first got my hands on an Apple Plus computer back in 1985 I was ecstatic at the possibilities,” McGlone reminisced. “I dreamed one day that somebody such as [Boinx] would develop a program in which I could light this fuse again and let me animate once more!”
Luckily for McGlone, sometimes dreams do come true. In the fall of 2008 during a routine search for stop motion software that would pause and play at the speed of his life, he came across iStopMotion. Overjoyed with the idea that he could shoot, rewind, edit, and see all his work in real time, McGlone downloaded the free trial, and that little boy running around with a camera was reborn.
“That weekend I wrote a silly Christmas script about animals in the woods putting on a show. My plan was to send out a digital holiday card to my family. So I rushed to the craft store to buy the clay, props, paint, and other materials to make penguins dance in a forest. I spent hours and hours on weekends playing with the software and making a short film. It was a learning experience.”
From music syncing to carefully moving around a set so as to not disturb any props, McGlone learned quickly what was necessary to make a successful film. He learned about tie downs, lighting, timing, and other tricks of the trade to create a semi-professional looking first film. Notably, McGlone’s favorite learning curve was the onion skinning option that iStopMotion offers, saying that it “helped out a LOT!”
Now in his fifties, McGlone is still a kid at heart, looking back at his youth wishing stop motion had been as accessible as it is now for him. “I wish I could be a teenager right now and stumble on this wonderful software. To make an object move and tell a story at the same time is one of the best feelings. To create something out of your own imagination, one frame at a time, is magical. I don’t think I would ever get my dream job of helping out in an animated feature film, but as least I can come close by creating my own.”
“Tumbleweed Valley” was a labor of love for not just McGlone, but his wife, Annie, who was an integral part of the entire process. Like most husbands, he drove his wife “crazy with nutty ideas” when he got home from his full-time job. “My number one partner in this project was my wife. Can you imagine a garage held hostage for three years? Her patience and talents are amazing. When we started building the town she took one side and I took the other. We worked as a team to build this from the ground up. If you look closely, she even glued little stones for the bank’s facade and made a plaster brick front for the jail. Her attention to detail really made this project come to life. She even hand-sewed the characters’ clothes and made little gun holsters! Annie was with me from the beginning, helping me all the way.”
For such an intricate film, however, McGlone still needed extra help. At first he tried to do the production alone, but when it came to voicing the miscellaneous characters that inhabited the small western town, he knew he wasn’t the man for the job. “After hearing my voice recording back, I sound like Jabba the Hut with a bad head cold. So through my wife's connections, she introduced me to a great voice actor named Gary Baker. He helped me out with the narration and was a real nice guy for helping out for free.”
Yet, with such a lengthy timeframe, commitment could be questioned and giving up was at times, a threatening possibility. McGlone sometimes wondered if the project was worth forgoing in favor of relaxing nights and weekends. A few close calls with bumped scenes and an eventful night with a new puppy almost put a halt to the project altogether. After sewing together several new costumes and props for the film, Annie went to the garage to show her husband her progress and ask a few design questions. Upon her return, a graveyard of doll parts and ripped clothes were strewn around the room.
“Our new puppy chewed, ripped, and destroyed every last one of the characters beyond recognition. It was awful to see plastic limbs and bits of cloth all over the living room rug, and my wife just felt defeated. So did I. At that point I wanted to give up. My wife pulled it together the following weekend and sewed six more set of clothes that were better than the first. If my wife could hang in there, I could also.”
Thanks to Annie, the project stayed on track and finally came to a completion. After three years, “Tumbleweed Valley” was finally complete and McGlone was filled with relief and delight, stating he would only change one thing. “I could not be happier on how it turned out. I would have liked it to be done in a year instead of three, but real life gets in the way and I cannot press the pause button when it comes to responsibilities.”
Looking back, McGlone had achieved his original goal: to have fun and “enjoy the journey of this art media.” When asked how iStopMotion has helped with his stop motion work, McGlone responded with some confusion.
“We should not call it "work,” should we? It is play. To do something that you love is never work and using your software streamlines a lot of my play. To be able to click on your timeline and open a frame in Photoshop, edit, save, and automatically place it back into sequence is really a time saver. Multiple camera support, color correction and rotoscoping are just a few of the outstanding features of the software.”
The future looks bright for McGlone, who is excited to start his next project, joking that we will have to wait another three years to see it. Sci-fi will be his next genre of choice, trying out different types of materials and effects. “Half the fun is figuring out what works and what doesn’t.” McGlone adamantly urges others to get involved with the art of stop motion. “Download your free trial software and get started! You can be five or 54 like me and still enjoy this art form. iStopMotion is VERY easy to learn and you will be amazed at what you come up with by just using your imagination.”
by Megan - Monday, March 25, 2013 - Permalink