The Teasels in Thirty Minutes a Week

Paul Seward and Jo Wheeler’s idea for a fantasy series was born over dinner at their mutual place of employment. They came up with rules for their goal – they were to produce a series from what they could find around their workplace in just a half hour each Wednesday, using only an iPhone and an iPad. They named their series “Dungeon Hunted.” Their first production was a full-length trailer for the upcoming series, starring themselves as characters. They experimented with a green screen to create realistic yet fantastical backgrounds and situations, and after composing the theme music with GarageBand, they began brainstorming other components of the series.

“Teasels were one item I found looking around the fields,” Paul says. “Myself and Jo decided this could be a creature from our series.”

A teasel is a type of prickly flower that is usually purple, dark pink or lavender. Paul and Jo’s teasels took the form of a character named Winifred Weatherteas. After handcrafting her home, a mini castle in the desert, Paul and Jo were ready to begin telling Winifred’s story.

That was when they discovered a big problem – making their little friends come to life.

“After a lot of research, we decided to use stop motion,” Paul says. “After trying loads of apps and then deleting, we found iStopMotion for the iPad. We tried it and loved it, and we used the iPhone for our remote camera, all still within the rules we set ourselves.”

iStopMotion helped bring Winifred to life in her first-ever film appearance Paul and Jo received a great response to their prickly little character.

“It made people laugh!” says Paul. “Already, she has a lot of admirers asking when the next episode is coming out, bearing in mind we are doing short clips of our friends to introduce them slowly to lead on to what is now going to be their own series.”

Paul and Jo plan to continue the story of the Teasels characters with full episodes, introducing new characters with a connecting narrative. Recently, they introduced Oswald and his toy umbrella to the Teasels family in the video above. Throughout the creation of the series, Paul and Jo have discovered more iStopMotion features to help them expand.

“We have found the remote camera option, where we can link the iPad up to the iPhone, incredibly useful,” Paul says. “It has been brilliant in that when we have set up the camera, we don’t have to worry about any unwanted movement as we take our shots. The other aspect of this app that has also stood out for us is the ‘ghost.’ This has helped when we have lost connection with the remote camera, and in reconnecting have had movement, which we were able to correct using the ghost overlay.”

The two are constantly coming up with new stop motion ideas, even those that are completely unrelated to “Dungeon Hunted.” They feel that they have progressed and developed their knowledge of the app, sparking their interest in using stop motion throughout all of “Dungeon Hunted.”

“Since starting this project and experimenting with different apps, we have found that our creativity overall has grown and branched out into lots of different areas,” says Paul. “Without the app and an outlet for our ideas to be used in, we would not have achieved the many other randomly creative projects we get up to over our lunchtimes at work.”

Paul suggests taking into consideration the lighting of the piece you are animating, and to take your time when moving your objects and characters. He and Jo have found that taking shots at a higher frame per second, usually the industry standard 24, and then slowing them down if necessary creates a more seamless movement during playback. Their videos are great examples of how flawless and realistic stop motion animation can be with the right planning! Try taking a half hour out of your week to work on your iStopMotion ideas like Paul and Jo do. It’s the perfect way to get used to using the app, and if you set your own rules, your creative spark may surprise you!

With Mobile Art Academy, Animation is Worth a Million Words

“Today, mobile devices are everywhere, and they are at the forefront of becoming the most innovative and dynamic tool in education,” says Sumit Vishwakarma of Mobile Art Academy, an organization in Silicon Valley that provides services to anyone who is ready to explore the world of mobile art. “We see kids using the iPad everywhere, and I feel that the iPad can be innovatively used to explore creativity. The goal of Mobile Art Academy is to explore and educate people about this creative aspect of mobile devices.”

Mobile Art Academy helps students create and share digital content and media focusing on art and cross-curricular learning, with help from today’s most popular technology. The organization gives students the tools they need to explore drawing and painting, digital photography, digital storytelling, animation, graphic design and much more. Sumit was already familiar with stop motion animation when he met an iStopMotion developer at Macworld 2013. He saw a live demo and was so impressed by the app that he integrated it into Mobile Art Academy’s course load immediately.

To decide what tips and tutorials to post on Mobile Art Academy’s blog, Sumit experiments with different apps – like iStopMotion – and then develops a workflow. Luckily for us, he then posts these workflows and tips so that others can benefit from the techniques. Some of Sumit’s favorite blog posts have been iStopMotion animations like this one and this one!

“I like iStopMotion’s onion-skinning feature,” Sumit says. “This tells you exactly where your subject needs to be in the current frame to have a smooth stop motion. Other apps miss this key feature.”

Sumit also particularly likes the remote camera capability of iStopMotion, which lets him use his iPhone as the capturing device rather than the iPad, which is sometimes too bulky. He’s constantly looking to create new stuff, be it animation or art, and he’s always offering interested students a hand with their own projects as well. Mobile Art Academy is currently offering online classes in iPad art and animation classes. To learn more or sign up, check out the class listings here!

Sumit strongly believes that using technology such as the iPad to learn is vital for kids today. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and to adhere to that I would say an animation is worth a million,” he says. “If you want to explain a science concept, an idea or a thought, stop motion animation can be really helpful.” For example, Sumit says that if he wanted to explain the process of photosynthesis to his four-year-old, he would prefer to use play-dough and create a stop motion showing a plant grow instead of just verbally explaining the process. That way, it sticks in a fun and creative way!

“Learning is a constant process,” Sumit says. “The day we stop learning is the day we die, if not physically, then at least spiritually. With creative apps flooding the app store, I constantly look for new and innovative techniques to create consumable stuff.”

In the future, Sumit hopes to start physical classes that teach thinking out of the box. He says that when kids play a video game, they are bound to think within the rules of that game, but when they create something, the sky is the limit.

“Creative tools like the iPad can enhance confidence in creating art and animations, as students have the freedom to change every aspect of their art elements without fear,” Sumit adds. “Anything can be replaced, modified or manipulated. This increase in confidence and willingness to try new things makes them better contributors in today’s competitive global society. Mobile Art Academy is committed to building such a society!”

Visit Mobile Art Academy online to learn more about the great ways they’re integrating technology, learning and fun here! Become part of Mobile Art Academy’s society … join a class and start sharpening your skills today!

FotoMagico 4.5 Joins the 4K Revolution

4K is rapidly making inroads in professional video production, and we are not one to miss the trend. The recently released FotoMagico 4.5, the newest version of our award-winning slideshow creation tool, is now optimized for the production of 4K video. FotoMagico 4.5 also takes full advantage of modernized OS X features, providing improvements in performance and stability to better facilitate user creativity.

John Woody – filmmaker, professor emeritus at James Madison University, and Apple Distinguished Educator – comments on the ability to use 4K in his FotoMagico workflow: “To me, the greatest strength of FotoMagico when using 4K clips and stills is its ability to quickly preview special scaling animations. I use it for both pre-visualization and online production. The software fits my 4K workflow perfectly!

It’s clear that the move to 4K is fast underway, with the number of 4K UHD TV sets shipping in 2014 already far surpassing those shipped in the whole of 2013, according to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report.

For this release, we optimized FotoMagico for use with OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and 10.9 (Mavericks), and prepared for 10.10 (Yosemite),” says Oliver Breidenbach, CEO of Boinx Software. “Using modernized functionality of OS X leads to better performance and reliability, as well as reduces complexity, which means fewer bugs. The vast majority of FotoMagico users are already using current OS X versions and will benefit from these updates.

See Boinx Software at photokina 2014

Becoming a regular on photokinaTV powered by FotoTV, Boinx will again be making an appearance on this year’s show broadcast. Not only will the production be run using BoinxTV, but Boinx’s video guru Bastian Wölfe (AKA Dr. Term T. Bowman Ph.D. will be joining the crew to present FotoMagico 4.5. Check out last year’s broadcast for a sneak peek of what to expect from the presentation.

FotoMagico 4.5 Software Requirements

FotoMagico 4.5 requires a Mac running OS 10.8 or higher.

Get FotoMagico 4.5 now!

Check Out the Biggest Festivals of the Year with Cinekid!

Cinekid is an organization that holds daily workshops and an annual film, television, and new media festival for kids around the Netherlands. In total, the festival receives approximately 60,000 visits a year. It has quickly become one of the most successful cultural festivals in the world. If you’re not convinced yet, check out these stats. In Amsterdam, approximately 1 in 4 children are in contact annually with Cinekid. We think that’s pretty incredible!

The festival consists of the Cinekid MediaLab, a digital playground consisting of over 40 different interactive installations, media workshops, and the latest games. To give you an idea of how big the playground is, over 1,200 kids and professionals visit the MediaLab each day of the festival. Cinekid’s self-developed workshops include topics such as animation, green screen, TV presenting, and special FX. This year, the organization will be celebrating their 28th anniversary. Congratulations to our friends at Cinekid!

In 2012, Cinekid started working with BoinxTV during their workshops. “We chose it because it is the only stable solution for live green screening,” says Siuli Ko, Cinekid. “We also discovered iStopMotion, which we chose as our solution for an animation workshop in 2012.”

Beside the live green screen feature, the team at Cinekid loves BoinxTV’s ability to replace and crop clips and material, the multiple keying possibilities per camera, and the ability to switch between cameras. In past festivals, Cinekid used BoinxTV to create a complete film on the fly in a green screen setting. Check it out here!

Cinekid also hosts a “Presenteren kun je leren” workshop, or “Learn to be a Presenter.” During this program, kids can record their own news program with BoinxTV’s green screen and autocue features. Check out an example of one of the finished news programs here!

They also use BoinxTV’s green screen feature to hold “De avonturen van Cinekid,” or “The Adventures of Cinekid.” This is a workshop with a huge green screen where kids play in a short action movie while moving around an obstacle course. See them in action above!

Do You Have Super “Cow”-ers?

Move over, Superman – here comes Supercow! Youtuber Tim Even decided to play out what would happen if two robbers met a cow with superpowers, and boy, is it moo-ving!

Tim used iStopMotion and LEGOs to create his masterpiece, which he later edited in Final Cut Pro. He likes that iStopMotion for iPad works great wirelessly.

See what happens in Tim’s video! Also be sure to check out his website for more great projects!