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StopMotion Animation in FCP?

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krystallia sakellariou
StopMotion Animation in FCP?
on Mar 26, 2011 at 3:32:16 am

Hi there!

I am wondering if somebody out there can give me some advice on what to do next with my stopmotion project.
There have been many issues along the way, so I hope this doesn´t sound too confusing...

For the last 4 months I have been working on a stopmotion animated project (using clay and real models) I have taken lots of photographs, imported them in iphoto, and then further into imovie.
This was working fine until the project started to approach 6-7 minutes. Then the other day, imovie was just not responding anymore and I couldn´t get the project to work again. (my mac is a small 13 inch macbook which is 4 years old)

So I went to the macstore, they couldn´t solve it (we reinstalled imovie and everything) and now I am considering upgrading to a macbookpro.
I have all my photos stored, so I am alright starting from scratch with my project, but this time I would like to do it right from the beginning, so this is why I turning to you for advice!

I have read a little on the forums and found that imovie shouldn´t be used for stopmotion (even if i get a brand new computer) since the fact that I would have 1000 images or so, would make any imovie run slowly.

I am also reading tutorials online to learn FCP, thinking maybe I should purchase it and restart everything there instead of imovie. But then I am running into the same problem, FCP isn´t supposed to be used for image sequences either, or did I get it wrong?

I looked into both Dragon and Istopmotion for creating an image sequence and then exporting it as a movie file into FCP/imovie. But first, Dragon is out of the question as it doesn´t seem to allow to import photos taken in another program. So what remains is istopmotion. But...Since my photos are in 4:3 ratio, I don´t seem to be able to create a sequence in istopmotion, keeping this ratio, and then exporting it as a HD movie file.Exporting using let´s say the 720x540 just doesnt look good enough when exported.

Does anybody have an idea of what would be the best for me to do? I am creating an animated video with lots of color and details, and I would like to export it into a good copy that I can submit to different film festivals.
Oh, and I also tried to create an image sequence in quicktime pro, but the sequence just got blank which I found in a forum was due to some bug when using Snow leopard and Quicktime pro for this purpose..Ah...

Do you think that Final Cut Pro help me? Could I create a stopmotion project in it without using other programs before to create the image seqence? ( the project is probably going to be about 10 min when ready.

I would be very thankful for help!

All the best,

Lia


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Rafael Amador
Re: StopMotion Animation in FCP?
on Mar 26, 2011 at 9:18:05 am

Hi Lia,
FC have some limitations when dealing with very big amounts of stills (I think that 30 minutes on Still sequence exporting), but I think is the best tool for editing your sequences.
Go FC.


[krystallia sakellariou] "But...Since my photos are in 4:3 ratio, I don´t seem to be able to create a sequence in istopmotion, keeping this ratio, and then exporting it as a HD movie file"
Your picture is 4x3 and HD is 16x9. You must crop somewhere or fill with Black (Pillar-boxing) if you want to show the full picture.



[krystallia sakellariou] "in a forum was due to some bug when using Snow leopard and Quicktime pro for this purpose..Ah..."
No problems here to export or read Still Sequence with QT7/SnowLeopard.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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krystallia sakellariou
Re: StopMotion Animation in FCP?
on Mar 26, 2011 at 12:59:47 pm

Hi Rafael,

Thank you for reading and replying to my post. My film might not even been 10 min with stills actually, probably just 8 min and the rest is video material, so if 30 min is the limit this should be alright:-)

I will try and do it all in FC then (just need to read some tutorials on it first...), I will try to keep the ratio 4:3 and having the black bars on the side.


Thanks again and have a good day!

Ps, the videos from Laos look so nice!


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Gordon Monro
Re: StopMotion Animation in FCP?
on Apr 1, 2011 at 6:35:42 am

I am doing the same thing, working in 1280 x 720 HD. I have Final Cut Pro 5 (somewhat old). I also needed QuickTime 7 Pro, but installing QuickTime 7 (non-pro) and Final Cut Pro upgraded QuickTime 7 to Pro.

Here is what I have been doing.

(1) Have the stills with consecutively numbered file names, like picture0000.tiff, picture0001.tiff, etc. I was able to make the images at a size of 1280 x 720.

(2) Open QuickTime7 (which turned up in the Utilities subfolder of Applications under the name "QuickTime Player 7.app").

(3) Select File -> Open Image Sequence, and select the first image of your sequence. This actually brings in the whole sequence.

(4) It may take a while to load the images. The playback from inside QuickTime 7 was terrible on my machine, but that's OK.

(5) Select File ->Export. I chose "Movie to QuickTime Movie", and then there are a lot of options. I chose 720p24, which is what I had for my Final Cut Pro project.

(6) Import the resulting movie into Final Cut Pro, and it behaves like any other clip.

QuickTime 7 may have a limit of 5000 image file in a single sequence, but none of my sequences are that long.

For the experts out there: Is there a better way to do it? I have Final Cut 5 - have things changed in Final Cut 7? Is it still necessary to go via QuickTime 7?

Cheers,

Gordon Monro


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krystallia sakellariou
Re: StopMotion Animation in FCP?
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:03:22 pm

Hello Gordon,

Thank you for replying and for sharing! It does sound like a pretty easy way to go so I think I will try it in the future.(maybe my problem with QTP was I didnt have the sequence right)

For me some circumstances have changed though, I bought myself a new macbook pro!! It definitely helps, so easy and fast to work on:-)

But I couldn´t afford to get the FCP as well (can´t believe it´s almost 1000 dollars for it.)

So I found a temporary solution for now...It´s doing everything in imovie -in advance settings (.11 seems really great btw),
BUT, I am creating one scene at a time(with maybe 100 images each), exporting it with HD 1980x1200 into a movie file, and then I reimport it into a new project in imovie which is then composed of only different movie files instead of all 1000s of photos.It seems to be working fine, the quality looks good too.

It turned out the easiest solution right now as I could re-use some of the events from my old project. (I had done a lot of Green screen which would have been so much work to redo.

Although I do have some worries in the back of my head for how to export the project when finished. I remember idvd never gave good quality, so I need to figure something out there (I guess FCP would have solved that?!)
Somebody recommended toast, does anybody on this forum have any ideas?

Good luck with your work, cool you are also doing stopmotion animation. Have you worked on it for a long time? I started this fall, and I really love it. (if I only get the technique right...)


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Gordon Monro
Re: StopMotion Animation in FCP?
on Apr 3, 2011 at 10:33:17 am

Hello Krystallia and everyone,

Yes, FCP is expensive, which is why I am still using an old version. (I don't make any money out of this.)

My current project is my first attempt at HD (I am doing 720p as the projector I have access to has 720p as its native resolution - this is for an art show). Export is another problem I would like advice on. I don't have a Blu-Ray burner, or Blu-Ray authoring software. I am using Compressor to export in MPEG-2 format. This gives me a .m2v file that QuickTime cannot play (unless I buy some plug-in, it seems). However I will be using a small Western Digital media player that will play .m2v files, so that's the way I'm going.

I'm assembling my project in HDV (which as a bonus doesn't need rendering in FCP5). I saw a comment somewhere that HDV is not a good codec for frame-by-frame work, but at least for 720p it has square pixels and 720p24 seems to avoid the 25/30 or 50/60 problem (and I've had enough of the NTSC/PAL hassles - I live in a PAL country). FCP 7 would give me the ProRes codecs - I haven't seen Final Cut Express (which would be a lot cheaper) but I don't think it has the ProRes codecs?

BTW I'm doing animation, but not stop-motion with a camera - I have written a computer program that generates my still frames. That seems to have been the easy part.

Gordon Monro


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krystallia sakellariou
Re: StopMotion Animation in FCP?
on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:03:29 pm

Hi Gordon,

Yes I know what you mean, I am not making any money from this either (or not yet...)

Actually I find imovie working pretty good for me so far. I looked into final cut express, I am not sure about the codec question you had, but it seems you can´t change color and contrast and those things on it (or atleast that´s what I read) which I at least couldn´t be without.

Good luck with you work!

All that with the pal/ntsc I don´t even dare to think of yet.. I think I will got for toast and burn a dvd there once I am done.

Lia


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