One of the best things about being on the Schoolhouse Review Crew is that not only do we get to review fantastic home and homeschool related products and tell you about them, we get some input regarding which things we really want to look at. That way we are using items we, and our readers, might find the most interesting and useful. When Stopmotion Explosion showed up on my radar, I may actually have begged for this review (I did it for *you*!). My
eight nine year old had been taking bajillions (I'm sure that's a very accurate estimation) of still photos with his ancient iPod for months, but no one had any idea what to do with all of those pictures. Enter the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit.
The Animation Kit includes everything needed to create stop motion videos.
- Stopmotion Explosion software ~ compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 & OS X 5.1+
- 720p HD video camera
- Stopmotion Explosion: Animate Anything and Make Movies by Nate Eckerson
All kinds of items can be animated. We worked exclusively with toys, mostly Lego and some Thomas the Tank Engine vehicles. You can also create animated videos with clay, stuffed animals, and basic things like string. The options are as endless as your imagination! The Stopmotion Explosion content hub has tons of fan videos, tutorials, and other cool stuff to inspire your creativity.
Stop motion film animation has been around since the dawn of cinema. I'm dating myself a bit, but I remember watching Davy and Goliath and Gumby on weekend mornings at my Grandma's house. Art Clokey created both of those shows. Many Rankin/Bass Christmas specials used stop motion animation. My kids are much more familiar with Nick Park's work which includes Wallace and Gromit. Even the original three Star Wars films (episodes IV, V, VI) have used stop motion. Remember the game played by R2 and Chewy in A New Hope? "I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the Wookie win."
Xavier didn't know that I'd requested the Stopmotion Explosion Kit for review because I didn't want him to be disappointed if we weren't selected. As soon as I knew though, I told him and he was very excited. Then I told him it would probably be a few weeks before it arrived so he wouldn't
After running to tell Malachi, he got right into the included book. There aren't many books he will read as happily or completely as he read Stopmotion Explosion.
He and Dad used the Quick Start Guide to make their first video the very same day. Actually, Xav made many videos on many days! He made some mistakes, like not paying attention to what extra stuff was in a shot (people moving in and out of the background, getting your hand in a shot, shadows, and lighting changes), not sticking his base plates down with putty like we did with the camera, and not focusing the camera. We did learn that the camera is very difficult to focus. The ring just does not turn easily. Otherwise, this actually was a very simple process. We learned from our mistakes and moved on to improve our videos in time. Micah showed Xav what to do once and he was able to teach me himself so I could make a video with Merrick.
For the first attempt, they created a car chase. This was pretty simple. They worked in the hallway that day and I think they had better lighting results there than some of the films made in the living room.
Merrick and I made a video together also. I let him move one of the two trains we used. It's a perfect example of tacking down your base. He kicked and tripped over one of the tracks so many times! But it was "his" movie and he's only four, so I just let it go.
The whole process can be very time consuming. It takes about 12-15 stills to create one second of a movie. When I see a stop motion film that is many minutes, or even an hour+ long, I have a whole new appreciation for that kind of effort. Interestingly enough, while we were learning about stop motion animation during this review period, I heard about the full length film Loving Vincent that is being made. The movie is about Vincent VanGogh. Instead of using 12 photo stills per second, they are creating 12 *oil paintings* per second. All painted in the style of Vincent VanGogh. Amazing!
What Xav thought.
One minute movies are really hard to make. I've only gotten up to twenty three seconds. Making videos is easy. The book says what to do. Making the videos and watching them is fun. The camera that came in the box is the most interesting thing there is. I learned not to use your iPod because the making movies pack (Stopmotion Explosion Kit) is much easier.Here's our first completed video using Audacity and Windows Movie Maker to throw it all together.
I would definitely recommend the Stopmotion Explosion Kit for anyone interested in learning about and creating stop motion videos. It isn't difficult to learn, even for a non-techy like myself. With practice and patience, you can learn to make a lot of different, fun videos.
Find Stopmotion Explosion on social media.