Sunday, April 10, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: Stopmotion Explosion #hsreviews #STEMLearning #stopmotion

Stopmotion Explosion Review

Oh, my stars!  Sometimes we have the opportunity to review items that are just downright fun.  I love fun and the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit by Stopmotion Explosion is right on the mark.  The Kit comes with everything you see here plus a Quick Start Guide.  You simply add a computer, a little creativity, a few objects you'd like to bring to life, and a bit of time and you can animate anything at all and produce movies of your very own.  It's not exactly plug-and-play, but it is as close as I've ever seen.  Easy enough that my high schoolers (9th & 11th graders) could jump right in -- and so could this mom.  Just a little bit of technological know-how will take you to some pretty exciting places in the land of stop motion animation.  Who knew?

Stopmotion Explosion Review

I had very specific reasons for being interested in the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit.  I wanted the Eagle Scout and the Princess to use it to create a movie to submit for two awards at our FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Competition.  I knew that lots of teams enter filmed movies, but I wanted our team to have something that stood out from the crowd.  I was confident that I could turn the Kit over to my children to learn and do -- for goodness sakes, if they can build and program a robot to complete an autonomous run in State competition, surely they could learn to make a stop motion movie, right?  I really wanted them to creatively promote STEM and thought this would be the perfect way to do so.  And then, the unthinkable happened.  Blue Crew, Too did not get a bid to the FTC World Competition from the South Super Regional Competition.  It was quite a humbling experience and there might even have been a few tears shed.  There was no longer a need to produce a Promote or Compass video.  What's a mom to do?  

Why, remember that learning is FUN, of course.  And offer an opportunity to enjoy that FUN while learning a new skill.  Long Leaf Academy became a filming studio.  More specifically, my bedroom became a filming studio.  

It began with a super short stop motion film that simply said "Hello World" (above) and has progressed to an epic adventure of Indiana Fireman -- sometimes confused with that rugged movie star Indiana Jones. 

Here's how it worked:

A quick download of the software (from CD or website depending on your computer) and plugging in of the camera is all it takes to get ready to begin.  Seriously, in less that 10 minutes, we were ready to go.  

Natural light or a bright lamp make the camera focus best.  Since the "studio" has been my bedroom, we supplemented natural light with the bright light from a bedside lamp. 

Finally, the creative juices started flowing and the star of the show was determined.  Props were acquired, the script was finalized, and background music chosen.  Using a large lap board, we were ready to begin filming.  Indiana Fireman was in the house.

We found it actually works best if there are two sets of hands at work together.  One person was in charge of setting the scene (moving the figures microscopically) and another was in charge of grabbing each frame (taking the picture and saving it in the software).  My crew enjoyed experimenting with different camera angles and liked being able to speed the action up or down depending on what they were trying to portray.  After the pictures have all been made and saved, it was super easy to see them come to life.  A click of a button "made the movie" and each movie sequence was saved to the computer.

Finally, small movies were combined to make a longer movie and the soundtrack was added.  The title sequence and location credits made for perfect finishing touches.  Seriously, how fun is this?  Check out the EPIC ADVENTURE and let us know what you think?  Do you recognize that hero in disguise?

There are lots of ideas floating around for more movies.  I foresee many hours of learning enjoyment ahead.    For more information about Stopmotion Explosion, please visit the following Social Media sites:

Twitter @stopmoexplosion

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Stopmotion Explosion Review

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