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by Megan - -

The advent of webcams was really exciting, especially for us computer and technology lovers. They’ve gotten quite advanced over the years, and most modern USB webcams now have great resolution and very good optics. But even so, we have a bone to pick with webcams. They auto-set everything. Okay, okay, now we know that having things automatically done for you can be great, but when it comes to making iStopMotion animated movies or producing live TV with BoinxTV with a webcam, the auto-settings can really get in the way.

USB webcams auto-set everything from exposure to white balance to focus. For stop motion movies, that can result in flickering animations when the camera suddenly readjusts to changing image content. You might remember we recently added the ability to manually adjust white balance and exposure on our iStopMotion for iPad app, so when taking a time lapse of something like a sunset, the camera wouldn’t auto-adjust and spoil the lighting continuity. For BoinxTV, when the white balance is auto-set, it makes setting up chroma keying nearly impossible. This is because any change in lighting (for example, simply walking in front of the camera and casting a shadow on the green screen) destroys all of the settings you created in BoinxTV.

So, why are we telling you this? We recently discovered a great app that gives you manual control over all of the relevant settings of a USB webcam. The Webcam Settings app lets you adjust all of the settings on many USB webcams, so your iStopMotion or BoinxTV creations will look picture-perfect.

To use it, first open your video app and select the camera you want to adjust (Webcam Settings doesn't give you a preview, so you need a video app to see the changes you make). Now launch Webcam settings and open the Webcam Settings Panel.

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[Screenshot 1] First, select the camera at the very top. In our example, we’re using FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in). Now (1) either set the camera to manual (if possible) or to aperture priority. "Manual" is always the best choice, but some cameras don't support it. When set to manual, you can adjust the exposure time (2) using the slider. While you move the slider, take a look in the video app to see the changes you make. You can also alter the Aperture if needed. Uncheck the Auto White Balance box (3) and use the slider (4) to adjust the color temperature.

[Screenshot 2] Setting the focus is also possible with some cameras. To do this, go to the “Advanced” tab, uncheck “Auto" (1) in the focus section and set the focus (2). It's incredible how close some of these cams can focus. The Microsoft Cinema Cam HD can focus up to an inch in front of the camera without a problem.

Most cameras are set to 60Hz out of the box. In the US, that is not a problem, as your electricity also has 60 Hz, like that of light bulbs (which flicker at this speed, invisible to the human eye), so it doesn't create issues. In Europe, electricity has 50 Hz, causing image artifacts. Many webcams can be set to another Hz value to fix this.

When you’re finished manually setting the focus, exposure and more, your iStopMotion animation will be flicker free and your BoinxTV chroma keys will remain the way you originally set them up – leaving you free to exercise your amazing creative abilities!

Note: Webcam Settings is not able to permanently store the settings in the camera. So if you close Webcam Settings and your video app, or reboot, the settings will be lost and you’ll need to re-set them.

Because we like you so much, we did a bit of research for you! Here is a list of cameras we have in our office that we tested, including results:

Built in FaceTime HD Camera
* Manual Exposure
* Aperture Priority
* Adjustable Aperture
* Manual white balance
* No focus control
* Powerline frequency control
* Backlight

Logitech C910
* Manual Exposure
* Gain
* Aperture Priority
* Adjustable Aperture
* Manual white balance
* Focus control
* Powerline frequency
* Backlight

Microsoft Cinema Cam HD
* Aperture Priority
* Adjustable Aperture
* Manual white balance
* Focus control
* Powerline frequency
* Backlight

Agama USB Cam
* Manual/Aperture Priority
* No manual Aperture
* Powerline
* Backlight

PEVO
* Powerline

Editor’s note: This article was written with great help from Boinx’s all-things-video guy, Bastian Wölfle – thanks Bastian!

iStopMotion | BoinxTV | Comments

by Megan - -

As the summer comes to a close and fall slowly but surely creeps up on us, we’re busy preparing for another exciting visit to Petaluma, CA for the Mac Expo. Boinx Software will be sponsoring the event, along with some other great companies, including our friends at Smile Software, TUAW and Mac|Life. Now in its 19th year, the expo has grown drastically over the past years from hundreds to thousands of attendees, and is second only to Macworld in San Francisco.

The Mac Expo is our favorite way to begin the fall season, seeing old friends and getting to know new ones. We’re especially excited to be showing off some of the latest Boinx Software products, like iStopMotion 3. We are also really looking forward to hearing from noted Mac authorities, including Jeff Gamet, Bert Monroy, and Derrick Story, with whom we’ve worked in the past.

The tech world is CONSTANTLY changing, especially in the world of Apple products. Seriously, if I had told you you’d be giving verbal commands to your phone five years ago you’d probably think I was a crazy person. Sessions and workshops at the Mac Expo are sure to keep you up on your Apple game. From iOS and Beyond (Nine iPad Apps You Can’t Live Without) to Productivity (Ditch Paper, Go Digital) to Creativity (Turn Your iPhone into the Ultimate Point-and-Shoot Camera) and so much more, you’ll be an Apple expert by the time the weekend is over. And hey, even if you’re not, we’re sure you’ll have a pretty awesome time anyway!

Get your ticket today for the Mac Expo – just 7 USD now and 10 USD at the door. We hope to see you there!

iStopMotion | Comments

by Megan - -

ParaNorman, This Little Light

2012 has been the year of stop motion animation, with two of the biggest movies to hit theaters both being stop motion animation. ParaNorman is the latest film in this genre to garner some serious attention from children and adults alike. Created by Laika Inc., the same animation studio that came out with creepy, fantastically dark film Coraline, ParaNorman is the story of a young boy who just doesn’t quite fit in – perhaps in part due to his ability to see and speak to ghosts.

Stop motion animation is one of the most interesting mediums (in our humble opinion) for film, as it can take a lot of time – and patience – and looks quite remarkable in the end. This is exactly the case for ParaNorman, which took about four years to complete. According to an article on TIME.com, “For Norman’s character alone animators needed to create 9,000 different faces. The smallest item devised was a zombie’s drop of spit.” They also reported two of the most intense scenes in the movie each took an entire year to film. But don’t get alarmed! Making your own stop motion animated film can take as little or as much time as you’d like it to. It can be anything from a fun afternoon project to feature film. And with iStopMotion for the Mac or iPad, making stop action or claymation films is just as fun as it is easy!

This year's next stop motion animated movie, coming out this October, is Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, the story about a different boy with an interest in ghosts – his dog’s ghost to be exact. So whether it’s a rainy day or you just feel like going to the movies, you won’t want to miss the stop motion animations of the year, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie. Plus, now that iStopMotion 3 has officially hit the App Store, you can make a beautiful stop motion animation of your own, all in HD, for a price well within any animator's budget!

iStopMotion | iStopMotioniPad | Comments

by Megan - -

Unless you've been living under a rock, you already know that iStopMotion 3 has officially launched – and to add to the excitement, we’re offering it to you for just 29.99 USD until August 31st! You heard right – that’s a $20 discount for all of you iStopMotion enthusiasts out there. That’s the most bang-for-your-buck ever offered on iStopMotion, because the latest version of our premier stop motion animation software for the Mac not only has NEW features, but ALL the features from iStopMotion 2 Pro, including the ability to create HD videos – that’s a $500 value. But get it while it’s hot – after August 31st, iStopMotion 3 will go back to being 49.99 USD (still quite the steal, though!).

Here’s some more info about the latest and greatest version of iStopMotion. We hope you didn’t actually have plans today…

Support for the iStopMotion Remote Camera
Taking a cue from its sister app, iStopMotion for iPad, the newest version of iStopMotion for the Mac adds support for using an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as a versatile HD camera for creating stop motion and time lapse videos. Available free of charge from the App Store, iStopMotion Remote Camera transmits a live video feed and supports 1080p remote capture with the iPhone 4S and the iPad (3rd gen), and 720p with iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th gen) and iPad 2.

Additional New Features in iStopMotion 3
• A brand new look optimized for Apple’s new Retina display
• Enhanced app security with sandboxing and signed with DeveloperID
• Integration with Final Cut Pro X
• Compatible with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

Changes From Previous Versions
To create the best stop motion animation and time lapse movie making package, Boinx has consolidated all previous versions into one iStopMotion, bringing all the animation features from the former Pro version (previously priced at 499.99 USD), including the ability to create HD movies, to the unified version, all for one fantastically low price.

iStopMotion 3 Pricing and Availability - Special Introductory for a Limited Time Only!
iStopMotion 3 is now available both from the Mac App Store and the Boinx Website for 29.99 USD. This special introductory price ends August, 31st, 2012. Beginning September 1st, 2012, the price will be 49.99 USD.

iStopMotion | Comments

by Megan - -

If you work a 9-5 job, you know not every minute of every day is going to be exciting, and when it’s a beautiful summer day, sometimes it can be a bummer to be stuck inside. But don’t let the daily workday get you down – let your surroundings inspire you to make your work that much better! That’s what this industrial worker does when a mishap in the factory lets a few rays of sunshine in.

Day Shift by iStopMotion pro Ian Timothy is a short animation made with – you guessed it! – iStopMotion, plus an interesting combination of nuts, bolts and screws. The 17-year-old has already perfected the art of claymation, so we’re especially excited to see him exploring a whole new medium – and of course, not at all surprised that he’s managed to perfect that one as well!

Check out more from Ian!
Grace Adele and the Grand Band Dream in iStopMotion
365 Days in Two Minutes
Beaver Creek Episode Six
Morph: Fair Play By Ian Timothy

iStopMotion | Comments

by Megan - -

If you want to add another dimension of life to your static and, let's face it, sometimes boring photos, FotoMagico is the tool for you. Don't believe us? Just ask Mac360, who says FotoMagico is "The coolest, most capable, most Mac-like photo slideshow app for the rest of us." Thanks for the back up, guys!

"At the other end of the scale is the home version of FotoMagico, a Mac slideshow app with tools and capability that go beyond iPhoto, beyond Aperture, to make broadcast quality video productions from nothing more than your photos.

FotoMagico’s base app gives you a set of desirable tools. Included are transitions between slides with granular controls.

Drag and drop photos into FotoMagico from iPhoto and quickly arrange a slideshow timeline. Then, go back to each photo and arrange the onscreen effects. Text, motion (zoom, pans, etc.) and effects.

Slideshow creation can be instant, or you control every aspect of each component. How long a transition from photo to photo takes. Fonts and font sizes. FotoMagico makes it easy to add motion to text on screen, just like you see in TV commercials.

The basic version also lets you drop in video clips as if they were photos, and give them the same treatment and integration. Controls are detailed and extensive but not difficult to learn."

Think this sounds awesome? You're in for a treat - we're giving FotoMagico another dose of magic. That's right, FotoMagico 4 will be coming to a Mac near you this September. Can't wait until then?? We've got you covered! Just download a free beta test of FotoMagico 4 and get to work!

FotoMagico | Comments

by Megan - -

Tap! Magazine has named iStopMotion for iPad as one of the “best apps for taking, editing, sharing photos and video.” We’re honored to be amongst some of the coolest apps out there for iOS devices – but of course, we want to be number one! Don’t you? To help make it happen, simply click here and vote for us – iStopMotion for iPad by Boinx! We'd really appreciate it.

Here’s why Tap! thinks iStopMotion is one of the best stop motion apps to hit the iPad (and you should, too):
Fancy yourself as the next Nick Park? Look no further than iStopMotion; whether you want to animate clay models, action play figures, or lentils on a plate, you need this app.

Read more: Tap! Magazine Taps Into iStopMotion for iPad and the Magic of Stop Motion Animation

iStopMotioniPad | Comments

by Megan - -

If you, like us, have been glued to the 2012 Olympic games, you’ll definitely want to watch these stop motion Lego recaps of the most memorable moments of the past two weeks. In honor of the games, The Guardian created Brick-by-brick Lego films of scenes from the London Olympics, including Usain Bolt’s gold-winning run in the 100 meter final and “Team USA’s Fab Five vault to gold.”

The Guardian’s skills at stop motion animation are almost as impressive as the gold winners themselves! Watching the original games was awesome, but these Lego films offer a fun twist (hah – get it?!) on the sporting events. If watching the Olympics inspires you to hit the field, pool, track, gym or whatever your sport of choice is, these videos will surely inspire you to get out your camera and Legos and make some stop motion magic. And what better way to do that than with iStopMotion? iStopMotion for the Mac or iPad makes stop motion animation super easy – and incredibly fun!

Watch a behind-the-scenes video of how the Brick-by-brick Olympic series was created!

Check out these other Lego stop motion animations, made with iStopMotion!
Abraham Lincoln in "Vampire Vengeance"
"Strangers”: The Darker Side of Legos
Batman’s Identity Crisis

*Please note, the creators behind the Brick-by-brick series did not use Boinx Software’s iStopMotion to create these films

iStopMotion | Comments

by Megan - -

In this claymation comic short, Fooling Grandpa, created by Jon Lopez, animator of the Clay Alchemist, “Grandpa the Grump” takes care of his sick grandson, Joey. Jon is a sculptor, illustrator and animator from Wyoming, Michigan and has been sculpting since he was 10 years old! He’s now working towards his photography degree. We’re glad to see he found a great way to combine his sculpting, photography and storytelling skills to create awesome claymation films with iStopMotion!

Visit Jon’s website to check out more of his fantastic work.

iStopMotion | Comments

by Megan - -

Whether or not you saw this summer’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, or thought the movie is a total abomination of America’s 16th president, you have to admit, Vampire Vengeance, the stop motion animation parody of the film, is pretty darn cool. Created by The Official Filmy Guy, Sean Willets, the film was made using iStopMotion and is a smart take on the action flick. Short and sweet, the iStopMotion animation is expertly done, and the twist in the end really made us chuckle (but you’ll have to watch to find out what happens – and who makes a special appearance).

Sean animated the film using Boinx’s iStopMotion, with editing and special effects created using Final Cut Express, LiveType, Soundtrack and Photoshop. Check out more of his Lego superhero parody films – all made with iStopMotion – here!

iStopMotion | Comments


 

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