Reviewed by David Savage
I received the Stopmotion Studio 4.0 from Honestech and this has to be a software package that should be installed on at least one computer in every school in the country, in a word its brilliant!
The software is supplied on one CD and is very small (around a 50mb install). The installation is extremely straightforward and only took a few minutes to install and register by following the onscreen instructions.
To use you will need a USB webcam or a DSLR camera with Line View. For my first use, just to get used to the basic functions I used the integrated webcam on my laptop. The integrated webcam doesn’t give you as much control but is extremely useful just to get the hang of what the different functions do.
On opening the program the first thing that comes up is a settings screen. Here you can name your project, add the authors name and any comments. You can also select the camera you are using, the capture size (the higher the capture size, the better the quality but also bigger file size). Once you have added your settings, just click the tick mark and you are ready to go.
The user interface is split into 3 sections: the view screen on the left, the control panel on the right and the storyboard at the bottom.
The view screen is what the camera sees. The control panel are has tools to help create your video but these are not shown on the video and the storyboard shows the captured images with some tools to edit and add effects, titles and credits etc…
Now to make my stopmotion video: I used 2 toy action figures and placed them on a table in front of the camera and clicked the red capture button, then moved them slightly and again pressed the capture button. This continues until you have the desired effect. I did this until I had enough movement for 10 seconds of film. I had selected 5 frames per second which meant for 1 second of film I had to make 5 different movements and captures so in total had to make 50 movement and captures. It can be time consuming but the end result is great. I then saved this as an MPEG2 Video, with a capture size of 640 x 480 the finished file size was about 8mb. You can also save as WMV, MPEG1, MPEG2, HD MPEG, iPhone/iPad formats as well as YouTube and Facebook formats.
Now that I had learned the basics I was ready to add more advanced features. Using the toolbox on the storyboard you can add title and end credits, and text to frames, overlay frames, add in images as backgrounds, add audio, add text, use drawing tools to draw on individual frames etc… There are quite a lot of functions which I am still playing around with and learning.
I have since been using with a USB webcam and having the camera and figures in a photo tent so that I have a blank background to work with. The photo tent isn’t supplied with this but can be purchased for between £5-10 on the internet.
Overall, the Stopmotion Studio is a great piece of software to create your own stopmotion videos whether using toys, models or even live people. The basic functions are very simple to use and you can have your video created within minutes. The more advanced functions will take some more time to learn to get the desired effects but it is a powerful and simple to use piece of software.
Children and adults will love it. Whether creating school projects or just making videos for fun the £50 price tag is excellent value for money. A great educational tool for introducing children to movie production and help develop storytelling and creativity.
I think every school and college should invest in this software, it makes a great fun and educational tool.
You can view the tutorial video here.
Operating System : Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Vista / XP (SP 2/3)
USB 2.0 Host Controller/Port
Processor : Pentium IV 1.8GHz or equivalent
Memory : 128MB of RAM (256MB or higher recommended)
Free Hard Disk Space : 50MB for program installation
Microsoft DirectX 9.0 or higher
Windows Media Format SDK 9 or higher
Windows Media Player 7 or higher
For more information visit www.honestech.com.
Available to buy from Amazon here.