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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by marurun Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:04 am

Send an inquiry to the Game Sack YouTube channel. Joe Redifer does stop motion stuff for his show. I bet he has some good recommendations.
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by samsonlonghair Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:32 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:So I posted this thread 7 years ago and never did what I wanted to do!

I suppose...

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But I never stopped thinking about it over the past 7 years. And recently, I've decided I want to have another go at it. I already have most of the more expensive pieces I need. Although I still need to buy a few things.

My question for today is this: Can anyone recommend a good camera stand?

Being that I'm shooting stop motion, I will need a stand that I can really lock into position and not worry about it moving in the slightest. So I guess I'm looking for a more heavy duty professional type stand. I only have experience with the light weight tripods though.

I think a relatively cheap tripod is fine so long as you are working indoors, and you aren't panning. I assume that's the case if you're working in stop motion. Any tripod should have legs that lock firmly into place. If the legs don't lock into position, then the tripod is effectively broken.

Most of the expensive tripods feature nice, smooth panning. That's a good feature if you're tracking a moving actor, but stop-motion films don't usually feature panning cameras (unless your name is Tim Burton or Henry Selick). Yes, the expensive tripods are heavy, but the weight of the tripod wouldn't matter much if you're working indoors with no wind. Just be careful not to kick the darn thing. I would just use whatever tripod you can find.

One important note: I see used tripods all the time. Probably 90% of the tripods I see on the secondhand market are missing the quick-release mount that attaches to the camera. I guess the mount got left on the camera when the tripod was sold/donated. The tripod is absolutely worthless without the mount to hold the camera in place. If you are considering a used Tripod (which you should because you'll save a fortune) please make sure you check to see that the mount is still there. It's also a good idea to check and see that all three legs still lock into place.

By the way, I would like to politely suggest that you look into some decent lights. Lowel Lights (or a generic knockoff of Lowel Lights) can make a dramatic improvement in the quality of your shots. Because you will have more light on your subject, you will be able to work with a lower ISO and a higher Aperture. Also, you won't need to worry about sunlight changing over the hours you spend shooting frames of stop motion. Lighting makes a big difference. It's the "secret sauce" of professional-looking video.
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by Ziggy587 Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:56 pm

So I guess, let me also update my current gear since my last update to this thread was about seven years ago...

Camera: I bought a Canon T3 seven years ago and this is what I'll be using. It's funny though. I bought the T3 back then because I couldn't afford a T3i. Now I can get a used T3i for like half of what I paid for the T3. Oh well. I'll be keeping this camera for the foreseeable future. I will only upgrade if it's actually needed. For just stop motion, the T3 will be fine. But there's a few things I've noticed. Like the T3i has a flip out screen and the T3 does not. This doesn't matter for stop motion since I'll be viewing the camera view on a computer screen, but I've noticed that the flip out screen would be a huge advantage for "normal" photography. But oh well.

Lens: Back when I got the T3 body I bought a Canon 18-55mm macro lens. It's not the typical 18-55mm kit lens though, it's a macro lens. You can focus as close as 9.6", so it's great for my purposes. I actually can't find any info on this lens.

I recently got an adapter so I can use Nikon F lenses on my Canon T3. So a lot of people on the internet say to use a Canon body and old Nikon lenses for stop motion. They have very valid reasons. Apparently the Canon bodies do better with live view and being on for long periods of time. Using an old Nikon lens means there's no chance of automatic control from the body, which you don't want. But also, vintage Nikon lenses are going to be a fraction of the cost of new Nikon or Canon lenses and still look as good. But more so than that, my dad handed down some old Nikon lenses to me. These are ones that he used with his old film SLR. He also gave me the camera itself, as well as a Yashica body and lens, but I don't know if I'll be getting into film photography anytime soon lol. I know I can get an adapter to use the Yashica lens on my Canon, but I don't want to go crazy.

Anyway, I got a 28mm Miida wide angle lens and a Nikon 50mm lens from my father. The Miida looks to be in pretty good condition, I shot some pics with it and it looks pretty sharp. The Nikon lens, the glass looks like it needs to be cleaned. I know this lens was used heavily when my father was younger, so I'm not sure the condition of it yet. But hey, free is free. The lens adapter was $15 and seems to work well enough. I was able to focus pretty close with the Miida lens, closer than I thought I would be able to. So it might be great for stop motion.

I also decided to buy a Sigma 18-300mm macro lens. The specs say minimum focus distance is 15.3" which will be real nice. This lens got great reviews, lots of nice pics posted to Amazon reviews. This is perfect for me because I wanted to get a good general use lens for my camera.

Stop Motion Software: I'm still gonna go with DragonFrame. I messed around with the trail version back then and loved it.

Video Editing: So I picked up Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2019 when Adobe was running a sale. Photoshop Elements I'm not a fan of, but I was using an old full version. Premiere Elements though, maybe I'm just naive to video editing but it seems like it'll do. I've never used the full version of Premiere so I really don't know what I'm missing. If I outgrow it then I'll get something else. But I'm sure it'll be fine for now.

Seven years ago, I did mess around a bit with Lightworks. Well, at least, the free version of it. I'm not a huge fan of the workspace, it seems overly complicated for no reason. I hate software that's too complicated to figure out the simplest of things. Also, the free version has a pretty big limitation. You can only export straight to YouTube or similar, you cannot export to a local file on your computer.

Audio Interface: I still have the Tascam US-2x2 that I bought seven years ago, and I've used it a bunch over the years. I love this thing, and it'll do fine for stop motion. Especially since I really only need to record a single track at a time.

Audio Editing: I still love Adobe Audition 3.0. I would love to upgrade to the latest version, but Adobe only offers subscription based for Audition and it's just too expensive for little old me. If I were a pro and using it all day every day, then sure. But what do they expect amateurs like me to do? Except either pirate it or get something else. I haven't outgrown Audition 3.0, but if anything I might migrate to Pro Tools. It's total overkill for what I need for stop motion, but I'm also into writing and recording music. Well, I guess it isn't overkill if I want to record original music for my stop motion videos.

Microphones: I've picked up a few new mics over the past seven years. I still have the SM57, but I finally got my own SM58 as well. I have a bunch of small diaphragm condenser mics now, they might be good for sound effects. And still an assortment of not-so-good mics. The plan still is to use the SM58 for voice. If things really take off then I'd consider getting a better vocal mic, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Misc: I just picked up an AC adapter for my camera so I don't have to worry about battery while shooting.

samsonlonghair wrote:I think a relatively cheap tripod is fine so long as you are working indoors, and you aren't panning. I assume that's the case if you're working in stop motion. Any tripod should have legs that lock firmly into place. If the legs don't lock into position, then the tripod is effectively broken.

Most of the expensive tripods feature nice, smooth panning. That's a good feature if you're tracking a moving actor, but stop-motion films don't usually feature panning cameras (unless your name is Tim Burton or Henry Selick). Yes, the expensive tripods are heavy, but the weight of the tripod wouldn't matter much if you're working indoors with no wind. Just be careful not to kick the darn thing. I would just use whatever tripod you can find.


I don't know if I agree. I have a cheap tripod stand and I'm just not satisfied using it. The legs lock in position just fine, as far as the telescoping action goes. But it's so light that it's kind of wobbly. It weighs less than my camera, which isn't good. I know it's obvious to say "just don't bump into it" but that's easier said than done. The camera is almost always going to be position really close to the set, and you have to make hundreds or thousands of micro adjustments to the set while shooting. I mean, I'm careful, but I'm not perfect. I'd hate to be an hour into shooting a scene and nudge the camera and mess the whole thing up. That said, I really want to get something better than I have now. The tripod I have now might be excessively cheap, but if I'm going to upgrade I feel like I might as well get something decent instead of a minor increase in quality.

I'm thinking I'll use a tripod a lot, but I might also end up making custom mounts if the camera has to be position IN the set.

But yeah, I wont be attempting any panning shots any time soon! They actually have specialized rigs that are computer controlled for stop motion... Guess how much those cost.

samsonlonghair wrote:By the way, I would like to politely suggest that you look into some decent lights. Lowel Lights (or a generic knockoff of Lowel Lights) can make a dramatic improvement in the quality of your shots. Because you will have more light on your subject, you will be able to work with a lower ISO and a higher Aperture. Also, you won't need to worry about sunlight changing over the hours you spend shooting frames of stop motion. Lighting makes a big difference. It's the "secret sauce" of professional-looking video.


Yes, lighting is something that I'll have to work on. You can see in this pic for example that I have multiple shadows. Not so bad for a stupid pic in a forum thread, but that would make my stop motion look like garbage. I've never lit a little model set before, who knows how hard that'll be! I'm actually anticipating this being one of the hardest things for me to get to look good.
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by marurun Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:28 pm

Manfrotto makes some very nice tripods, but they can get pretty pricey. That said, a fancy Manfrotto will stand like a rock
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by Ziggy587 Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:16 am

marurun wrote:Manfrotto makes some very nice tripods, but they can get pretty pricey. That said, a fancy Manfrotto will stand like a rock


Thanks. I guess what I'm really asking for is that balance between price and performance. I found this Manfrotto on Amazon that looks pretty beefy. I also stumbled upon this: The 8 Best Tripods for DSLR Cameras in 2019, there's another Manfrotto on that list. I'm looking at their vote for best stability, being that that's what I'm most concerned with.

I may be tainted from having only cheap camera tripods. See, I have a bunch of tripod stands... for microphones and cymbals. They are all heavy, with thick parts. So comparatively, these low end camera tripods just all look week to me. I know as you go up in price they go up in quality, and that one goal is to be lightweight so you can carry them around (unlike a mic or cymbal stand... unless you're Steven Tyler) more easily. This is one of those times that I'd really like to examine something in person (as oppose to buying online without examining it first). I guess I don't really need a better stand until I'm ready to do a "for real" shoot. I can continue to use my shitty stand as I do test shoots for practice.
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by POOPIESkillz Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:35 am

Video Editing: So I picked up Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2019 when Adobe was running a sale. Photoshop Elements I'm not a fan of, but I was using an old full version. Premiere Elements though, maybe I'm just naive to video editing but it seems like it'll do. I've never used the full version of Premiere so I really don't know what I'm missing. If I outgrow it then I'll get something else. But I'm sure it'll be fine for now.

Do you have any expertise with Lightworks? I've been told its fairly solid for a free program. It's the first real software I'm using for editing so I admittedly dont really know what I'm doing. I'm sure Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere are way better but I'm just not willing to pay for them if I'm being honest. The only editing software (if you can even call it that) I have any experience with is ShareFactory for PS4. It's pretty limited but its gotten a ton better over the years. The thing is though that I've pushed it to its limits and it only outputs video in 720p 30fps so I need to graduate to something else. Any advice?
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by Ziggy587 Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:17 am

I was messing around with Lightworks for a while. I wasn't a huge fan of the workspace. It seemed overly complicated. But more importantly, the free version has some important limitations to note.

https://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=c ... Itemid=213

You can only export a project to YouTube or Vimeo, and only up to 720p. There are other limitations, but this is the most noteworthy one. In order to export to a file on your HDD of a resolution of your choosing, you need the Pro version which costs $25/mo, $175/yr or $438 for a lifetime license.
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by POOPIESkillz Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:53 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:I was messing around with Lightworks for a while. I wasn't a huge fan of the workspace. It seemed overly complicated. But more importantly, the free version has some important limitations to note.

https://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=c ... Itemid=213

You can only export a project to YouTube or Vimeo, and only up to 720p. There are other limitations, but this is the most noteworthy one. In order to export to a file on your HDD of a resolution of your choosing, you need the Pro version which costs $25/mo, $175/yr or $438 for a lifetime license.


Man that's a serious bummer. Thanks for the heads up. Editing software is so damn expensive. It's no wonder piracy of them is so common.
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by Ziggy587 Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:31 pm

I know! See, the thing is, it seems like there's no middle ground right now. If I'm a professional and I'm using the software many hours every day or week, then I could justify the monthly subscription fee. But if I'm doing it on a hobbyist level, $20+/mo for a single piece of software is just too much.
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Re: video editing software, digital cams, and microphones, ?

by POOPIESkillz Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:38 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:I know! See, the thing is, it seems like there's no middle ground right now. If I'm a professional and I'm using the software many hours every day or week, then I could justify the monthly subscription fee. But if I'm doing it on a hobbyist level, $20+/mo for a single piece of software is just too much.


I agree completely. I strongly feel that if someone developed a really high quality competitor and had a lower price point, people would be willing to pay for it. Maybe these YouTubers who get millions or at least hundreds of thousands of views can justify the premium prices but for someone like my who has like 150 subs, its a no-go.
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