Every once in a while we get an exceptional treat to review. The Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit is one of those treats. We're very grateful to Stopmotion Explosion for providing this fun and educational opportunity.
The camera, which attaches to your computer; the software disc; the recently updated book (almost 300 pages!); and a Quick Start Guide, 12 pages to get you set up if you just can't wait to get started.
What is it?
Stopmotion Explosion is a way to make your own films! What a great STEM activity! Eli, who is 14, was my primary tester for this product. Let's be real; he claimed it before I even got it out of the packing box, and wouldn't let anybody else use it.
So, how does it work? You set up your scene, open the camera program, and start shooting. After each frame, you make small changes to your scene and click another frame, then when you playback the whole string of images as a video, you see the movement. It's really neat.
The book, Animate ANYTHING and Make MOVIES, which comes with the kit, is also available separately, for those who already have a camera. It contains tons of helpful suggestions for things you can do to make your stop motion videos better and better. It talks about the history of movie making, creating your own armatures, building your scenes, writing your scripts, lighting, and more.
Eli immediately got to work creating a Lego diorama, and asked me to create a forest background for him.
I used cloud print paper and drew trees with marker, but you can't really tell the paper has clouds in the video. Lighting is tricky to get just right. You can see the little blue spotlight Eli has in front of the camera in the above picture.
Here, we were working a different setup, at a later time of day, so we pulled out the big guns and added a desk lamp. We also used Katie's light table as a base for some of our projects.
Here are 3 really short clips so you can get an idea what you can do with the Stopmotion Explosion:
In this one, you can see the use of cotton fluff to create "explosions" in the scene.
In this clip, inspired by WW2 (the older boys are watching Band of Brothers with Paul), you can see crumpled paper used as muzzle flash and explosions.
I couldn't let Eli have all the fun. Josiah and I worked on this tiny little clip with the Magnatiles blocks on the light table. We haven't gotten deep enough into it to add music and sound effects yet, but we've read about how it's done in the book.
I think Jack, who is 12, could set up scenes using our plastic animals. We'll have to work on that when Eli is at school sometime. ;) This would be a fun way to do an animal report. You could intersperse facts with little clips of animals moving across the screen or interacting.
I wanted to do a time lapse video of a seed sprouting, but Eli convinced me that there was not a good place to set up a light hut for the seedling so close to the computer, and there's not a way to set a timer to capture images every hour. Still, it would have been a really cool project, and maybe once the excitement over the camera dies down a bit, I'll get a turn and set something up where I can do a photo or two every day for a couple of weeks.
Stopmotion Explosion is a great way to let your tweens and teens explore the world of film making and learn a lot about how many aspects go into a good shot. It's much easier to appreciate the effort involved in making movies once you've tried to make your own!
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