Apr 7, 2016

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Stopmotion Explosion

Oh my. We have reviewed a lot of awesome products for the Review Crew, but there are a handful that just really stand out. Our most recent greater than great item is what I am going to tell you about today. Stopmotion Explosion sent us their Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit.

Stopmotion Explosion Review

The kit comes with everything needed to make some pretty amazing stop motion movies... animation software, a 720p HD camera with internal microphone and manual focus, and two guides to teach you what to do.

The first guide is a "quick start", for people who already pretty much understand stop motion and just need to know how to set up and run the software. It's a 12 page book in a easy-to-skim Q and A format that answers all those FAQ.

The other guide has a lot more heft to it. This softcover book has 290+ pages and explains the entire movie making process: how movies work; animating the actors; creating the stories; building the sets; the camera; lighting; composition; sound; editing; and more.

The CD has sound effects, a sound maker, and software to produce the movie by putting your pictures together. You do need some additional (free) programs to add the sound effects and to edit your work, but that is all explained thoroughly in the guide.

I intended this to be a great way for all the kids to practice their own personal skills while learning a new skill and also, to, hopefully, exercise their teamwork muscles a bit. However, it didn't quite turn out that way. This was really mostly a product for my techie twelve-year-old son.

Nate latched onto it right away, setting up the software on the kids' computer and reading through the book. He was able to successfully learn the material and to set it all up on his own. He had a great time learning how to work the camera and to take the types of videos that he wanted. He spent a lot of his free time reading, experimenting, and figuring it all out.

The other kids were not involved as much as I expected, although they did spend several enjoyable afternoons working on scripts and sets under Nate's watchful eye.

We also had some technical issues with downloading, but that was more user error than product error.

The initial set-up and actual use of the camera was easy for the kids to figure out and pull off. They made this fun little movie...

However, the more technical aspects: sound, editing, lighting, special effects, were a little beyond their skill level. I think this is the perfect thing to hand your high-school kid and expect them to soar. If you threw in some projects, deadlines, and expectations, I think you could even get a credit out of it.

I don't mind at all that it was hard for my kids. I don't think that is any sort of a con. I am looking forward to them, especially Nate, continuing to tinker with it, learn from it and rise to the challenge, for many years to come. After six weeks of hard use, there is still plenty of learning packed into the little yellow box!

The kids' said:

Kaytie: It was sort of easy. Writing the script for stop motion was a challenge. I see why this is recommended for high school kids, but once we figured it out, it was do-able for us middle school people.

Nate: It is amazing! It takes a little bit to get everything installed and to figure out what exactly you're doing, but the guide helps with all that. It explains everything. I would recommend it more for teenagers than for kids my age. 

Daniel: This was fun. I could do a lot of creative things. I liked it a lot! I liked that you could edit the pictures and add effects.

Abbie: It was really fun. I liked making the sets and helping with the script. It's cool how the thing makes all the little pictures into a real movie.

We highly recommend Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit!

Stopmotion Explosion Review
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