This week my son was assigned a school project were he has to do a book report, but he can make a video instead of a written book report. My son decided that he would like to make a LEGO stop-motion video for this project and that left me with the task of learning all I can about how to make stop motion videos.
I knew that there were some stop motion apps for android and that is what we needed because all we have is android phones in our house. I think I've tried all of the stop motion apps that I could find on the Google play store.
A lot of the stop motion apps are very good, but one thing that really irritates me with a lot of the stop motion apps that I've tried is that in order to take a snapshot you have to touch a button on the screen of the camera whenever you want to capture a shot. The problem I've found is that sometimes when you touch the screen, it moves the camera a little bit, and that causes shakiness in your videos. I suppose this can be remedied by using a camera stand that holds the phone more securely than in my setup.
Now I've heard of some stop motion apps that can use a sound, like a hand-clap or the snap of the fingers, to activate the shutter, and that's what I decided I was looking for. LookSee Animator has that feature. It allows you to make a sound like clapping, snapping fingers, or knocking on a table and it will capture a shot.
It's wonderful that I can rest my phone in a stand made of LEGOs and I don't have to worry about the phone moving due to me touching the screen whenever I make a capture. I just clap and it takes a photo without me touching a thing.
Clapping to take a shot and not having to worry about the camera moving really speeds up stop-motion workflow.
LookSee animator has a clean, easy to use interface. It gives you a variety of options. For instance, you can choose to use your camera's autofocus or other focusing options, or you can record in HD quality. You can choose to use a flash when you capture, and you can resume stop motion projects that you've previously created.
The onion skin feature, which I think is essential in a stop-motion app, gives you a clear idea of what your previous frame looked like while lining up the next shot.
Also, there is a readout overlaid on the screen that shows you how many frames you've taken so far, it shows the size of your video, and also the current duration of your video. It also shows you the free space left on your device.
All of your stop-motion captures are saved as image files in separate folders on your phone. You can open up any captures you've made in the past and you can apply operations to them.
For instance, you can delete frames, a feature I found useful when I accidentally took a shot and I later found that my hand was in the frame. You can also step through the frames slowly one by one.
And once you've got everything right, you can make an animated GIF of your stop motion creation or you can add more frames to it if you want to extend your movie.
LookSee Animator produces nice high definition stop motion movies with the help of a video encoder add-on app. The encoder, made by the same publiser as LookSee Animator, costs $2.49 at the time of this writing and it will allow you to convert your stop-motion captures into movies that can be played on most devices. You can even choose the desired frame rate at the time of encoding. Available video formats are MPEG-4, AVI, Flash, and QuickTime. All video conversion is done directly on your Android device.
One last feature which is really cool, and which I think could be useful if you need to do a stop motion movie when your subject is far away from your phone, or if you just want to have an alternative to the other shutter triggering methods, is the remote control feature.
With the free LookSee Remote app you can actually use another android device to trigger the shutter release on your phone running LookSee Animator. It's super cool. Once you get it hooked up by Bluetooth, one phone is used as a remote control to operate the shutter of the other running LookSee Animator. All you do is just press a button that's labeled "capture frame" and it will wirelessly control the shutter of the phone running LookSee Animator. The shot you take with the remote will automatically appear on the screen of the phone running the remote control app.
I think the LookSee Animator is the best stop-motion app on the Google play store. For only $2.49 if you want movies to be exported from your stop motion videos, you should get the encoder. Also, hands free operation prevents camera shakes, and the picture quality is great.
This stop motion app is really easy to use and it makes making stop motion animation movies a joy.