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Stop Motion Central Best Cameras for Stop Motion

Recommendations on the Best Cameras for Stop Motionto use with stop motion Animation

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DIGITAL STILL CAMERAS


WEBCAMS                  

 CAMCORDERS

DIGITAL STILL CAMERAS

 

Digital still cameras are everywhere these days. They have come down in price and improved in quality dramatically over the last few years (date Aug 2008 of this article). Most new mobile phones now have 3MP or better digital still cameras built in nowadays. Digital still cameras or DSC's are not suited in general however for stop motion animation. Why? Well firstly 99% of DSC's do not offer a live feed. This means that you cannot connect your DSC to your computer and its frame grabbing stop motion software. This is a must for stop motion animation as you can imagine. There are two ways animators get around this, firstly by using another camera (such as a cheap black and white security camera) to intercept the video feed to act as a monitor camera and then connect this in series to the DSC. Seems like alot of hassle doesn't it..well it is. The other way some animators use DSC's is to actually simply capture the still images directly to the camera and then upload them to a frame gabbing or editing program for playback and editing. Again this has a number of difficulties as you may imagine when working with stop motion animation not at least the absence of a live feed for monitoring progress. Hard work !..it is.! The only thing personally I would say about DSC is that the image quality can be excellent. But is it worth the work?

Recommended - Yes..if used to take photos and import them..

Digital Still Camera for stopmotion animation

 

WEBCAMS

Web cameras have improved also over the last few years to the point now where you can purchase an affordable webcam with a Carl Zeiss lens. We discussed the importance of a good quality glass lens on this site already but we will emphasis it again here. Most webcams have plastic lens...uh..uh..try to avoid them if possible. Break the piggy bank and pay a few gold nuggets extra and get a Webcam with a glass lens. You will be very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the image.

Webcams (with glass lens) are suited to close digital camera work common in stop motion animation. Also their compact size lends itself to easily positioning in small sets close to your animation characters. You can make a stand easily for them out of LEGO® or Meccano or anything really.

Also Webcams are specifically designed for use with a computer via a USB cable so any frame grabbing software package will work seamlessly with any webcam.

The other thing to watch out for with webcams is the number of frames per second it can capture at 640x480 resolution. You need a webcam with the capability of capturing  30 FPS at 640x 480 resolution.

 

Recommended - Yes (get one with a glass lens)

CAMCORDERS

 

All Camcorders can be used for stop motion animation with very few exceptions. Newer camcorders will have DV / Firewire interfaces which can connect to your computer (assuming you have a Firewire socket). Most frame grabbing software have DV drivers to connect to DV camcorders also. If your Camcorder is relatively old and you do not have a Firewire connection on it then you will most likely need a analog - digital video interface card in order to connect to your computer.

These interfaces can be expansion cards that you fit into your computer or they can be external boxes. They normally come with a few connections such as S-Video DV/Firewire , audio in/out and USB. Expect to pay 100 USD approx.

If you don't have a firewire connection on your PC and your camcorder does not have DV / Firewire either then you might consider a product such as the Studio Moviebox Plus from Pinnacle which has a USB interface for your computer and an analog connection for your Camcorder.

Their blurb states "Studio MovieBox Plus is the ultimate movie making solution, providing video enthusiasts who aspire to make great home movies with the most comprehensive set of hardware & software tools available. The high-speed USB 2.0 device captures video from any analog or digital source with plug & play ease, and enables output back to tape or a full-resolution preview to a TV monitor for precision editing. The powerful yet intuitive video editing software, Pinnacle Studio Plus 10.5 Titanium Edition, is paired with a microphone and green backdrop for professional-quality voice audio recording and composite "green screen" special effects unlike any other solution. "  We do not sell this items or anything by the way. This is a non commercial site run by enthusiasts. There are many other cards out there..if you need advise on them drop us an email.

 

When using a camcorder for stop motion animation, you don't use a tape or record anything with the camcorder. The camcorder is only used to provide a live video feed to your computer so that  a frame grabbing software package can capture images from it. Many camcorders will automatically shut down (losing all your stored setting) after a few minutes if there’s a tape in the deck. So you  need to take the tape out, and if it still wants to shut down, simply open the tape deck and keep it open while you do your stop motion animation. Also don’t run it on batteries. A stop motion animation session can go for hours, and your battery in invariably die in the middle of a shot. Just make sure you use an AC adapter and plug it into the power socket in the wall!

 

Recommended - Yes

   
 

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