Stop Motion Studio on Windows Nokia Lumia 635 Review

ethanwindows2Recently, I wanted an app for my Windows Nokia Lumia 635 Phone, for when I’m out of the house, and needed to make some stop motion videos. I came across an app called Stop Motion Studio, from Cateater LLC.

Before I get into the app, I would like to mention the range of stop motion apps on the Windows store. I searched the Windows App Store for a while, and unfortunately, only came across one app. As the Windows phone isn’t that popular, I assume this is the reason why that there are not many stop motion programs, which means you are restricted to the one app – Stop Motion Studio. But does it suit your brickfilming needs? Barely.

I can’t say I’m happy. While this app does have its pros – such as its basic layout, and a free download, the cons make the app very frustrating to use.

THE POSITIVES:

The app is FREE to download
This is great, which makes it very accessible to people who may not want to spend money on stop motion just yet, or people who want to try out stop-motion for the first time.

The BASIC layout makes it EASY TO USE
When using the app, I found it quite easy to get to certain tools. Tools are labeled, or had a practical symbol to represent it. An example is the capture tool, a simple symbol of a camera and below, clearly labeled “capture” which tells me that this where you tap to take photos.

Other Cool Features that I liked:

  • The frame rate of your animation can be controlled from 1 FPS – 30 FPS which is great, compared to the other apps I have seen where the FPS doesn’t go past 10.
  • The gallery is pretty sweet, and gives newcomers an idea on stopmotion (but for some reason, they all seem to have been made using the iPhone version of the app, shouldn’t they be featuring stopmotions made using the Windows Phone?)

ethanwindowsreview1THE NEGATIVES:

Very frustrating to export animations.
When I was done finishing a little short animation which I was happy with, I was hoping to share it to a couple of mates. When I tapped on the option to save, chose the quality and chose the folder I wanted to store my animation in, right after – the app crashed! After trying multiple times, using the same process – no matter what I do, it still crashed! This is very frustrating to those who want to save it to your album, or share with friends or YouTube. I am hoping they will fix it in a future update.

I did, however, find an option to email it to myself, which I can then send it to a computer or another device. That however, comes at the price of image quality as there is no option to choose what quality to send in, which in the end, was not worth it.

Most features are LOCKED and cost WAY TOO MUCH for what it is worth
While the app is free to use, most features of the app, are locked, and are unlocked by purchasing an add on pack. For features as small as adding title cards and adding in your own voice? They should have been included without buying it! I could understand locking features such as green screening or a draw tool, but for titles cards and adding audio, is just ridiculous. Especially when the iPhone version has way more features than this and most of it is free!

Other stuff that bugged me:

  • Losing animation for unknown reason (went to export to realise that the animation was gone?? Very confused there)
  • Buttons are not sensitive enough when tapping the capture button (meaning having to press hard and having the risk of bumping the camera
  • No onion skin layering 🙁
  • Playback feature is laggy and buggy
  • Windows Phone camera has average quality at 5 mega pixel (this isn’t much a negative with the app, but more to do with the phone itself)

The app has potential to be a great tool for stop motion. But due to its locked features and a lot of glitches, I do not think I will be using the app, in the near future. Very disappointed. I will continue to search for stop motion apps that works for windows phones and hopefully, one day, I will find an app that will be suit my brickfilming needs, and hopefully yours too.

Review by Ethan from ETR FILMS – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC165_0uo32KgnnqJGB_tgog

“Motion” App on Samsung Galaxy GT18200N Review

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So, in keeping with our series of Stop Motion apps on Smart Phones and Tablets, today we look at an App called Motion on a Samsung Galaxy GT18200N from 2014 running Android 4.2.2 with a 5mp camera.

Honestly, I am frustrated, and this blog is actually going to touch on several stop motion apps on the Galaxy, which is part of my frustration. The phone is my wife’s old one, and to be honest has seen better days, but I am not really an Android kinda guy and for a rare change had to take some tech advice from the lady herself. Once I had managed to navigate my way to the Google Play Store and find some stop motion apps, i was already missing my iPhone but pushed on and found some stuff to download…

I started with Animative’s PicPac Stop Motion & Timelapse App… It had pretty good reviews and a 4.3 star rating so I downloaded it, set up to animate and opened the app… It looked pretty good, but I soon found out that the focus kept going all over the place and that there was no manual camera control, just a time-lapse timer that let you set different time settings between each shot… I soon got tired of that and headed back to the Google Play Store… I tried another one called Stop Motion Video from kkaps but couldn’t get on with that either, so back the store I went…

I was hoping it would be third time lucky, but no chance… I finally settled on a FREE app, Motion by Feras Alnatsheh. This is a very simple stop frame app that sadly lacks a lot of basics, let alone some of the nicer bells and whistles we’ve found on some of the other apps we have been using. Its a simple pic by pic app that sadly lacks a frame counter or anyway of editing frames, not even the ability to delete bad frames after the animation process. It has a time lapse feature on it, which, luckily for me, could be turned off, allowing for manual camera operation. The touchcreen on the Galaxy was very sensitive, so I found that if I locked the camera down well enough I got very little camera wobble when I actually took the shots. Problem was, the alleged manual focus that I thought the app had wasn’t working… It would focus nicely on the minifigure, get a nice sharp image and then in a split second revert back to a soft focus somewhere well behind the minifigure. It didn’t seem to matter where I placed the figure in the depth of field, I could not get a sharp focus now matter how close or far away he was. So, in the interests of science, and the fact it was getting late, I animated anyway. The nice thing was the speed control went from 1 to 50fps, so I set it to 12fps and managed to export the animation to the video roll pretty easily. The video only exported out as 640×360 SD and was horribly out of focus, but you can check it below…

But I wasn’t happy with the results, and was certain that there must be something descent out there for Android users to use… So, back to the Play Store and there I found my go to animation app, the FREE version of Stop Motion Studio from Cateater LLC. I have been using this on the iPad for a couple of years now and pretty much know the software inside out, so I wondered how it would behave on the Android and if it would solve the focus problems I had had with several of the apps I had been looking at. I am not going to do a review of Stop Motion Studio now, but needless to say I would always recommend it, it is solid, has some great features and seems to be available on most smartphone and tablet operating systems.

It was nice to be working in a familiar environment again, and sure enough, the manual focus control worked well, got a nice sharp picture and let me animate with ease. I done another quick test animation and all pleased with myself, went to export it out to the camera roll… And got error, after error, after error… Now, I am no expert, it may have been the app, it may have been the phone, or even the available hard drive space on the phone, but no matter how hard I tried it would not, or could not render the video… I tried 720HD, 640x360SD and more, to the video roll, to dropbox, via bluetooth to my iMac and nothing… It just wouldn’t export. I tried it as a .gif and it worked, a small victory and then I had a brain wave… I tried exporting the animation as a project file and it let me… Would I be able to open this project in Stop Motion Studio on my iPhone or iPad? The simple answer was yes, I plugged the Galaxy into the iMac, dragged the file off, uploaded it to dropbox and opened it from there on my iPhone in Stop Motion Studio… Result! My trusty iPhone then let me export the video out as a 720p HD file, which you can view below as well…

Using Stop Motion Studio on the Android based Samsung Galaxy did work, and yielded some not bad results… The image quality could be better and the colours are weak, but that could be fixed to some degree in post. The exporting issues were frustrating, in fact my whole Android animation process was frustrating. I struggled with the simplicity of the apps and the camera focus was a big issue, but that is why I am doing the hard work, so you guys don’t have too…

Sorry for such a long blog, but this is the result of 3 hours of animation issues!

Motion by Feras Alnatsheh on Samsung Galaxy

Stop Motion Studio on Samsung Galaxy