Nikon D5200 Camera Test 1

Nikon D5200

So, we have recently purchased a new DSLR camera, the D5200 from Nikon which we got for a very good price from Amazon, along with an SD card and Tripod. I have taken the camera out with me on a couple of occasions so far and am very pleased with the image quality I am getting from the camera. Part of the reason for buying this specific camera is that it has the Live View feature on it, which should allow me to use it for animating with Boinx’s iStopMotion software, so the other night I sat down and put it through some animation tests…

Firstly, I had problems installing Boinx’s iStopMotion on my iMac, so I am looking into that, but rather than waste my time, I just took some sequential shots on the camera that I then imported into Cateater’s StopMotionStudio on my iPad to create the animations… Obviously working just in the camera, and without onion skinning to see my last shot, the animations are a little jumpy, but the image quality is a vast improvement on my usual setup of iPhone Remote Camera and iPad combination. I tried animating with the auto focus and with manual focus as well as flash on and flash off to see what different effects I would get. I also realised that I need to buy a remote control for the camera… manually pressing the camera button to take the pictures obviously results in slight camera wobble each time, so a remote control should hopefully cure that problem!

One of my biggest problems with working with an iPhone as a remote camera is the auto-focus, which quite often will change of its own accord, even when turned off in the software and sometimes ruining the sequence I am working on. With the Nikon, the manual focus is a dream, it is sharp, accurate and sensitive, resulting in a crisp picture with some great depth of field not offered by the iPhone. Also, at 16.9Mp resolution, the images from the camera are that much better than the iPhone 4S that I normally use and as you would expect the light sensor in the camera gives a flat, clean image, whereas I find the iPhone images end up with a verify noisy background!

I still have a lot of work to do before I can get the camera properly integrated into my work flow, and getting Boinx’s iStopMotion working properly on my iMac is going to take priority now. I will keep posting updates on this, letting you know how I get on! Check out the video below to see the results of my first tests!

The test animations are at 12fps in 720px HD

 

Featured Animator Christopher Gearheart

ChrisGearheart

Name: Christopher Gearhart
Location: Chicago, IL

Q1) How long have you been animating?
I’ve been stop motion animating since I was 12 years old, although I didn’t start 3D animation until I was about 15.

Q2) How did you start making stop-frame animations?
I started animating when my dad taught me how to operate his Red One film camera. His work as a filmmaker was a big inspiration for me, as were the many talented stop motion animators on YouTube 🙂

Q3) Why have you chosen Lego® and other brick products as your main medium to work in?
Ultimately it comes down to the fact that I’m a huge LEGO fan. LEGO sparks so much creative energy in me, and I genuinely love animating when I’m working with those familiar bricks. LEGO also allows me to produce massive cinematic films on little-to-no budget, which is valuable for an creative entrepreneurial dreamer like me!

Q4) What is your setup like? Which camera and software do you use to make your movies?
We constructed my animation table from scratch so that it was specifically suited for my stop motion needs (sturdy, won’t budge if bumped, allows for creative camera placement around the perimeter, etc). Lately, my camera of choice has been a Canon EOS Rebel T2i on a Weifeng WF-717 Fluid-Head Tripod. This allows me to capture incredibly precise camera movements at a very high quality. For software, I use Dragonframe, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and Blender 3D. I highly recommend each one!

Q5) On average, how many hours does it take to create your animations?
On average, projects will take me about 9 months to finish. Of course, that figure is thrown off by 4 projects that I’ve put a disproportionately large amount of work into (3 of which are still to come!). I’m a perfectionist, so I often spend up to a month on a difficult or intricate shot for my films. That establishing shot of level 1313 at the end of “LEGO Star Wars – The Underworld” took me about 140 hours to produce from start to finish. I actually built the trailer around that shot

Q6) Do you have a favourite mini-figure to animate, and what makes them so special?
I think my favorite minifigure to animate would have to be Elrond for many reasons. The most prominent of these are that the printing job is elegant, his joints are brand new and easy to work with, and he sports a cape which adds a layer of complexity and challenge to the animation. He’ll be featured in a comedy short I’m hoping to finish up later this year!

Q7) What can we look forward to in the near future from you?
I’m working alongside some of the best animators from across the nation on a secret project that you’ll see very soon, along with the other animation projects I mentioned above. I just released a teaser on my channel for these animations, with footage from each of the three LEGO short film projects! https://youtu.be/1cqj_2L9YNM

Q8) Where can people go for more information or to view your animations?
Definitely check out my brand new website at http://www.bblanimation.com/ to see my animations and for links to my social media pages.

Q9) What one piece of advice do you have for people wanting to start in stop-frame animating?
The best advice I could give to an aspiring stop motion animator would be to start animating with whatever tools, skill, and creativity you have, and then pick something with each new video that you’d like to improve on. You’d be surprised how fast you learn and improve this way!

Featured Video:

Naphill Brick & Model Show

The Arctic weather we were allegedly getting this weekend didn’t come, and a wet morning soon changed to a bright sunny, if quite cold, day. So rather than waste the day, we thought we would go out and have some fun. Toni, my wife, had read about a small Brick and Model Show in a quiet little village called Naphill on the outskirts of High Wycombe, about 45 mins away from us, so we got up and out into the wilds of Buckinghamshire…

After a quick lunch at the Golden Arches, we arrived at a small village hall in Naphill. The show was a very under sung affair, with a hand written billboard pointing the way into the hall, where a lovely lady greeted us and charged us a very reasonable £6 for a family ticket and explained where everything was. The hall was tiny, so you didn’t need a map to get around, but each room housed a small but interesting collection of toys, models and most importantly for us, LEGO. A collection of very well made and truly loved Dolls Houses adorned the first room, where an elderly lady, who was obviously still a big kid at heart, enthusiastically pointed out some of the finer points in the houses and shops on display. A toy shop, the swedish room, a car boot sale and even a pub with cheekily dressed dancers, all dolls house sized, filled the room and the kids loved looking at all the tiny details, especially in the toy shop.

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Morgan after the show with Andrews signed book.

The second room, the largest of the three was the main event for us, and as the kids went in they quickly headed over to the largest display in the room, a huge Fun Fair, with its own Ghost Train, moving rides, flashing lights and even its own burger stall and toilet block, all made from Lego. The builder of this awesome piece was Andrew Walker, the founder of www.namebrick.co.uk who engrave lego bricks, with well… words or names as the URL suggests. Andrew is also one of the builders in The Lego Ideas book, of which we purchased a copy and he generously signed for us. After a short chat with Andrew, and buying some of his name bricks, he told us that the fun fair was actually bigger and a large monorail that dipped up and down like a roller coaster was going to be added for the final display which can be seen at The Brick Show 2015 at Excel London on Dec 11th-13th. If you are going, I would definitely suggest you go and check out Andy’s work, and the great use of his engraved bricks in his MOCs.

A few other displays caught our eye, including a large MOC that had a collection of mines, pizza delivery guys, dinosaurs, knights, rock stars and so much more… There was a poster on one end challenging people to find a list of certain characters which kept the kids busy for a good 15 mins. Some smaller scale buildings also caught our attention, with some cool micro scale street and architecture pieces which were especially good. One guy had brought down his Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon Collectiors edition that he was in the process of building. He was well organised, with all his bricks in neatly arranged tubs and the instructions on his tablet in front of him, and he was probably about 50-60% into the build, which I later found out he had actually started at the same show a year earlier… A year on, he had returned to finish the job he started back in 2014… We wished the Force was with him and moved on, regrettably not getting the opportunity to see the finished build. Other displays included alternative building systems from the 60s that let you build houses and utility buildings, which although quite interesting didn’t have the same interest for the kids as the brightly coloured buildable blocks that are LEGO, or the trains moving around the show.

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Minifigure Motion blocks from namebrick.co.uk

The next room greeted us with a large, large pile of all green lego 2×4 lego bricks and a sign declaring BUILD YOUR OWN. The kids took their coats off and got dug in, and then mum and dad joined them as we built dinosaurs and the obvious seasonal christmas trees. It wasn’t long before the kids got distracted by the large toy trains chuffing up and down a table the other side of the room, and after a quick chat with the gentleman tending the trains, they were pushing buttons and driving the engines themselves.

A quick coffee and cake break in the reasonably priced café next door, which actually served very good coffee, and we dropped back into the show for another quick look at the displays and for the kids to spend their pocket money on a small lego set each. Then it was back out into the cold, as we hit the A40 for our journey home, which was largely spent with the kids explaining how cool their afternoon had been and their favourite bits!

We didn’t expect anything big or grand from this small show that was neatly tucked away in a village hall in Naphill, but with reasonably priced entrance fees, enough interesting displays to keep our attention for a couple of hours, it was a great afternoon out for both kids and parents, with my own personal highlight being getting to chat with Andrew Walker and his amazing Fun Fair build…

For pictures from the show, check out the Gallery here!

Naphill Brick & Model Show, Naphill, High Wycombe, England

Some shots of the Lego Builds from the Naphill Brick & Model show!

LEGO Star Wars 75108: Clone Commander Cody Buildable Figure

Photo 12-09-2015 16 31 22So this month, after a bit of a hiatus due to web server changes and such, we are looking at Star Wars. Everyone in the family is excited about the forthcoming The Force Awakens, and with some great trailers coming out, showing us some brief glimpses of what appear to be some great characters, we couldn’t wait to check out some of the new Star Wars Lego sets that were being released, especially the minifigures.

One of the things that caught my eye, from an animation point of view, were the new range of Buildable Figures, with takes on Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, General Grevious, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jango Fett, and our favourite, Clone Commander Cody. We picked one up for a reasonable £15 from Toys’R’Us with a view to checking him out and animating him.

The figure stands about 26cm tall and is strong and durable, with fully posable limbs, a buildable blaster rifle and some well printed body parts, including a moulded hemet head piece and a detailed chest plate. Using a basic skeletal frame made from parts similar to those found in Technic/Bionicle/Hero Factory sets, the figure uses sockets and ball joints to create the moveable limbs, with the rest of the armour being designed to clip on to the frame, creating the character. I must say, I make it sound simple, but I did find the instructions a little confusing in places, making the build take longer than I expected.

Clone Commander Cody Buildable Figure

The Buildable Figure with a Clone Minifigure at his feet for scale

From the front, the character looks great, with a nice little detail of an antenna on his back pack showing over his left shoulder, but from the back it doesn’t look so hot, and, in my opinion would greatly benefit from some armour to clip onto the back of his legs and his inner arms, concealing more of the skeletal frame. Otherwise, he is easy to pose, holds his weapon well and is quite convincing….

So how does he animate? That was the main reason I bought this figure after all… I saw from the off that animating this figure wasn’t going to be as easy as I originally thought. Anything upper body, making him look around, raise his gun etc, is very simple and straightforward, and is pretty much like animating any other minifigure, but making him walk, that is another thing! The figure is obviously quite top heavy and certainly will not easily stand on one leg in a walking motion. There is a definite need to fix the feet somehow so he can take steps. One way I have found of doing that is by using a single round lego stud in the convenient hole on the bottom of each foot. This allows you to attach him to a Lego baseplate, which offers some stability, but isn’t quite strong enough to hold him totally still or hold all of the weight in a walking action. I have yet to resolve this problem, but have a feeling it will involve large amounts of BluTac in each foot, to add weight, acting as a counter balance and a sticky surface to attach him to a flat table top with.

Check out the video below to see a quick speed build of the character and a short test animation I put together. We hope you enjoyed our look at the Clone Commander Cody Buildable Figure and hope you’ll come back to for more info on some of the recent Star Wars Lego releases…

Note: The blaster visual effects in the animation were created using a piece of software called SaberFX, which I will talk more about in a blog very soon!

Deadpool In DC – Deadpool VS Green Lantern

DeadpoolVSGreenLantern

In my mind we are living in a golden age of film… With so many great stories built up over the years to draw from, and the technology more available than ever to bring them to the big screen in a fashion that will do the stories justice, it is no surprise that LEGO® now license from some of the big cinematic franchises to tie in with their new releases… Star Wars, The Simpsons, DC Comics, Marvel Entertainment, Lord Of The Rings and many many more have all been given the LEGO® treatment, making more and more fun, cool characters available to minifigure collectors and Brick Filmers… It is no wonder that with this has been a surge of animators making Brick Films that match film trailers frame for frame, write new stories for their small plastic heroes or parody some of their favourite films and TV shows. Due to the popularity of these franchises that Brick Filmers are doing their own takes on, it is quite often these videos that get viewed more on channels like YouTube and Vimeo.

Deadpool is a character that I didn’t think would ever make it to the big screen in his own film. A brief version in one of the X-Men Wolverine films was probably the best I thought we would get, so I was pleasantly surprised when it was confirmed the “Merc with the Mouth” would be featured in his own movie. Ryan Reynolds was a good choice of actor, reprising his role from the Wolverine film, but he obviously has a small green problem hanging over his head… Reynolds had previously played an incarnation of Hal Jordan, The Green Lantern in a previous attempt at a superhero movie, which wasn’t that well received by critics or fans alike, myself included.

So, we thought that we would give Deadpool, and Ryan Reynolds himself, an attempt to right a few wrongs of the film world via the medium of Brick Film…

It is a short animation, which we used as an opportunity to use parts of iMovie for the iPad that we hadn’t ventured into before… It was filmed in 1080px HD at 15fps in Stop Motion Studio for iPad on an iPad2, with an iPhone 4S as a remote camera, as per our SETUP HERE.

The music and graphics were all parts of the themes and trailers available in iMovie for iPad. It uses a simple drag and drop interface which allows you to drop film or photo elements into a pre made template that also allows you to add text to certain pre made graphic panels. The trailer I used was a bit too long for what I wanted, so I had to edit it down afterwards, again in iMovie for iPad. Overall the finished effect is pretty good and feels like a film trailer, which you can watch for yourself below!

Ryan Reynolds is dead, long live Ryan Reynolds!

Our current Stop Frame set-up!

Wide shot of the work area

Wide shot of the work area, set against the backdrop

AnimationSetup2

Close up of the iPad, notice the USB Hub for the lights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I started this website, just over a month ago, I have received a couple of emails asking me about my setup and cost-effective ways to get into stop-frame animation.

I got into making Brick Films accidentally… What started out as a small project to answer the questions my son had about moving Lego men, slowly turned into people liking what I was producing and asking me to produce more. My first animation was made with an old compact camera and a copy of iMovie HD on my iMac, which was far from ideal, and ended up in producing a jumpy, awkward animation… But it allowed me to learn a lot, and so I gathered up the gadgets that I already had in the house and done some research into how I could improve the process without forking out money that I didn’t have. The conclusion that I came to was to use my iPad 2 and one of the many stop-motion apps out there that would also allow me to connect my iPhone 4S via wireless as a remote camera.

Since then, that has been my current setup, and the pictures give you an idea of how I set-up my work space.

Notice the image on the iPhone and the iPad thanks to the Remote Camera App

Notice the image on the iPhone and the iPad thanks to the Remote Camera App

Specifications:

  • iPad 2 running Cateater LLCsStop Motion Studio
  • iPhone 4S running Cateater LLCsRemote Camera” app, allowing me to wirelessly connect to the iPad
  • iPhone Camera Len’s pack (including a macro, fish-eye and wide angle lens)
  • 2 x 48×48 stud LEGO® baseplates
  • 2 x LED Desk Lamps
  • 4 port USB Charging Hub to power the lights and keep the iPad/iPhone charged.
  • Various Matte finish backdrops to work against

 

This setup is what has allowed us to produce all of our animations so far, and works quite well. It is portable and easily setup if you don’t have a permanent area to work in. The remote camera app also allows you to take each photo via the App on the iPad, rather than having to use the touch screen on the iPhone Camera, making sure there is no camera wobble with each shot. Unfortunately there are a few down sides, the main one being the auto-focus on the iPhone Camera which doesn’t always turn off when the app tells it too, causing the focus to change from frame to frame occasionally, which creates glitches in the continuos flow of the motion.

We are currently looking at improving this setup by investing in a new camera and software for the iMac that we use and have considered both Cannon and Nikon cameras with LiveView that will connect easily to Boinx Softwares iStopMotion. We’ll let you know how we get on with this as and when we do it!

Below is a quick animation that we produced whilst taking the photos for this blog to demonstrate the type of quality you can achieve with a setup similar to this. The video is at 15fps at 720HD quality and hasn’t been processed in any other software, letting you see the raw colours direct from the camera. There are a few glitches where I had issues with the auto focus playing me around, and I made a big schoolboy error and forgot to stick my baseboard firmly to the table, so it jumps at one point… Lesson learnt, always make sure your baseboard is firmly attached to the table… I normally use bluetac or sellotape.

These Minifigures are frightful…

So, whilst doing my fatherly duties today and looking after the kids on an inset day (that’s a Teacher Training Day for people my age), we stopped at Argos and picked up some back-to-school treats for the kids… My daughters choice was a plush Sven from Frozen, she is a 4 year old girl after all, and my LEGO® mad son grabbed himself the smallest of the new Scooby Doo sets “Mummy Museum Mystery“… We also noticed that they had the new Series 14 Minifigures in stock as well so, we grabbed a few of those as too…

I must admit, that the first time I saw the pictures of the new mini figures I was a tad disappointed. On first glance it seemed that LEGO® had just churned out zombie versions of some of the previous series characters, with a few exceptions like the Gargoyle and Plant Guy. It felt like the whole range was just setup to coincide with the release of the Scooby Doo sets, giving Mystery Inc. more villains to chase after and to capitalise on the Halloween market that gets bigger year by year.

That said, we bought some anyway, and our first three bags in series 14 contained the Monster RockerZombie Cheerleader and the Mad Scientist… Not the Gargoyle that I was hoping to get… But, all 3 figures are actually quite good, some great new pieces like the Scientists head piece and bottle with a fly printed on it, the Cheerleaders cool hair piece and a great new guitar with a bat print on it, from the Monster Rocker. The actual print on the figures themselves is also quite cool, with some creative attention to detail, especially the back print on the Monster Rocker…

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Monster Rocker, Mad Scientist & Zombie Cheerleader from Lego® Minfigures Series 14

Some great back print on the reverse of the Monster Rocker!

Some great back print on the reverse of the Monster Rocker!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the Scooby Doo set, for anyone my age, you will be struck by nostalgia if you, like me, enjoyed watching the original cartoons as a kid. The Scooby and Shaggy mini figures are excellent representations of the characters you know and love. Shaggy’s print is simple but effective and Scooby looks, well… just like Scooby. The Mummy figure which is also included in the set is very generic, except for the great addition of a 2 sided head, one of which shows the Mummy face and the opposite side is a human face poking through the bandages, giving us the reveal that it was always the museum curator dressed as a Mummy, and he would have gotten  away with it, if it wasn’t for those pesky kids…

The actual set itself is pretty small, but has a couple of great features, including a hanging hamburger which, when pulled by the hungry Shaggy and Scooby lifts the lid of the golden, nicely moulded sarcophagus to reveal the Mummy behind, who is protecting his hidden jewels which are safely secured in a hidden compartment under the steps…  For the price range it is in, and the enjoyment my son will get out of the Shaggy and Scooby figures alone, I would say it is well worth the money…
Morgan my son rates the set as 5 out of 5

Mummy Museum Mystery Lego Set

Mummy Museum Mystery Lego Set

So, if you like horror stories and the darker side of Lego, go grab yourself some of the new series 14 mini figures and the Scooby Doo sets, they will work very well together…

Enhancing your animations with custom printing…

Custom printed Jack & Sally of Nightmare Before Christmas – Printed by Firestartoys.com

Rear print of custom Jack & Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas – Printed by Firestartoys.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With technology becoming more and more affordable in this digital world we live in, it is no surprise that custom printing has been on the rise… Whether is be a personalised gift card, photo album, coffee mug or t-shirt you are looking for, a quick Google search will reveal a plethora of companies willing to make your custom printed items, all for the right price, and the same applies in the Lego® and mini-figure world also.

The process commonly used to print custom mini-figures is known as pad printing, using a silicone rubber pad with a printing plate that transfers the desired artwork onto the substrate, which is the material to be printed. The inks used are typically solvent based and dry relatively quickly, leaving a permanent copy of the printed image on the mini-figure parts.

With so many companies now able to utilise this printing method, it is no surprise that pre-designed and printed custom mini-figures are easy to find on eBay, Amazon and many specialist mini-figure websites, but if you are feeling adventurous and have some knowledge in design and vector software like Adobe Illustrator or Freehand, there is also the option to design and print your own. I will include a list of links for companies who can help you with this at the end of the blog, as well as a template to help you design your own.

Custom printing really does make the possibilities endless for animators who are looking to take their animations to the next level. A lot of animators out there like to make animated versions of scenes from their favourite films, and often have to settle for creating the characters out of a mixture of parts from previously made, official lego products. With such a wide variety of parts available this can often work, but now we can tailor-print our characters to look as close as possible to our favourite film stars, tv-show characters or musicians. Attention to details mean we can print our mini-figures clothes to include logos that their real-life counterparts may wear, or custom print them accessories like maps or album sleeves on flat base plates, or even print up a whole load of different faces for one character giving us the option to vary our mini-figures expressions throughout our animations without having to get involved with digitally manipulating the faces in post-production… This allows us to bring in a whole new layer to our animations, bringing a richness of detail to the storytelling we are trying to achieve.

Custom printing has so many applications beyond animations as well… How about designing mini-figures of your friends or family? They make great gifts for birthdays, weddings or other occasions. Or custom printed mini-figures for promoting your company or charity with your logo on the body?

Mini-figure branding with custom printed logo on “Max Motion”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Download the mini-figure template as an Illustrator AI by clicking here

The only down-side to this is that custom-printing isn’t cheap, with some custom-printed figures costing $50+ on eBay and other sites, and setup costs from the printers sometimes being quite hefty if you are only producing one-off prints, but the results are often worth the cost, and if you order in bulk, then the costs per figure will come down.

Whatever it is you decide to have custom-printed, be it a mini-figure who is to be the star in your latest animation, or a batch of mini-figures to promote your website, I would suggest shopping around the various sites listed below to find the best price to suit your needs. I would also suggest asking for samples from them to check the quality of the printing before you order! Once you have found a suitable supplier, make sure you get a detailed spec of how they need the artwork supplied from you and any conditions you have to meet before submitting your designs to be printed.

List of Custom Printed Mini-figure suppliers:

www.minifigures.com

www.firestartoys.com

www.minifigs.me

www.citizenbrick.com

www.penzora.co.uk

www.minifigs4u.com

www.fab-bricks.com

www.brickprinter.com

www.x39brickcustoms.com

www.minifigforlife.com

www.minifiglabs.com

Getting involved…

Minifigure by Morgan Husbands

Minifigure by Morgan Husbands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have setup MinifigureMotion.com as a way of trying to help people, especially parents with Lego mad kids, to learn a bit about stop-frame animation, which for parents is a great way to engage with their children and spend some time creating with them to alleviate boredom at weekends and through the long summer holidays, which my own kids are currently on.

When I got home from the day job the other day my son had spent some of his day looking through the minifiguremotion.com website, watching the animations and reading some of my ramblings, after which he had retreated to his Lego table and started making his own Minifigure Motion Lego figures, which he was keen for me to photograph and use on the site…

So, myself and Morgan would like to introduce to you, “Filming Fred” and “Camera Kyle”, who will be helping our mascot “Mac Motion” run the website, make animations and much more… Much like I hope that Morgan will be joining me and helping me run the website and making animations as well…

Its great when you can get involved in your children’s hobbies, and even greater when they get involved in yours!

Featured Animator Ian Husbands

Name: Ian Husbands
Studio:
Minifiguremotion.com
Location:
London UK

Q1) How long have you been animating?
I have been making stop-frame animations for about 3 years now, but first dabbled with it about 8 years ago for a music video.

Q2) How did you start making stop-frame animations?
My son got his first Lego set at age 3 and took a great interest in it, so after showing him a few Brick Films on Youtube, he wanted to know how people made the little Lego Men move. I had recently got an iPad for Christmas, so we done a few tests, got out the camera and filmed our first Brick Film, based on Lego Star Wars together…

Q3) Why have you chosen Lego® and other brick products as your main medium to work in?
Lego is just so easily customised, making your own characters is easy by combining different parts from different mini-figures, and building sets is just as simple with so many pre-designed buildings and vehicles to choose from or customise. Combine the simplicity of Lego with the bright colours, the movability of the figures themselves and the fact that Lego already has a large fan-base, and using Lego make a lot of sense.

Q4) What is your setup like? Which camera and software do you use to make your movies?
We currently use an iPad2 for motion capture, with an iPhone 4S as a remote camera connected wirelessly to the iPad. We used to use Boinx iStopMotion for iPad, but that seemed to develop a lot of problems, so now we use Cateaters LLC StopMotionStudio, which works really well and has some great features… We are looking to upgrade our setup soon and are currently looking at buying a Canon camera to use with a Boinx iStopMotion Desktop software. We also use FinalCut and Garageband/Logic on the iMac to add overlays, special fx and audio.

Q5) On average, how many hours does it take to create your animations?
It really does depend on the animation… I would say on average a 4-5 minute animation can easily take 60-70 hours to produce with our current setup.

Q6) Do you have a favourite mini figure to animate, and what makes them so special?
I don’t have a favourite as such, although you do find yourself getting attached to the characters as your animate them. One of my current favourites would be a mini-figure called Timmy, named by my wife, who is the star of an animation we have just finished called “The Audition”.

Q7) What can we look forward to in the near future from you?
Minifiguremotion.com is going to be our main focus, we want to build up a good basis of animations for our how-to section, so we will be concentrating on that for a while, but we also have an animation we have just finished called “The Audition”, which is in post-production now, as well as another one called “Evolution” for one of our main sponsors…

Q8) Where do you get your inspiration for your animations from?
A lot of the animations we have worked on have been for music videos, so the music is a big player in the inspiration for the visual. Otherwise, we draw from TV culture, podcast, news… Anywhere really, I find that inspiration can hit anytime, anywhere! 

Q9) Where can people go for more information or to view your animations?
Minifiguremotion.com will be where you can come to keep up-to-date with what we are up to, so I hope that you visit back regularly and that our blogs and vlogs are helpful to you.

FEATURED VIDEO: