Your camera is probably the most important tool out of everything you choose to use in the process of making stop motion animation. There are so many choices and it is important to understand what works and what doesn’t in your selection of cameras for use. You will need a digital camera for this course.
Pixels are the individual squares of color that make up an image. You will often here things such as 8 mega pixels or 4K Images. Without going to in-depth at this time it is important to know that how many pixels your camera images holds is important. 8 Mega Pixels is a great place to start but don’t be afraid if you can only capture images at 4 Mega Pixels. We go more into this in the TV/FILM/Animation Standards lesson.
Here are the various types of cameras to choose from.
A web camera is a USB connected device that sends a video feed to your computer. They originally are used for communication purposes over the internet. Web cameras come in various brands, types, resolutions, and sizes. It is suggested that if you use a web camera that you choose one that has a manual focus and is 1080p (also known as HD) resolution. Though you can get away with a standard definition (SD) version if that’s all you have access to. Cameras that use Autofocus will cause you lots of problems when animating since the focus will shift overtime you move your hand in front of the camera lens. Logitech is one of the most recognized brands but there are a lot of choices out there that offer manual lenses at a lower price with the same level or better in quality.
Point and Shoot Fixed Lens:
Point and Shoot cameras are those type that have a fixed lens attached to camera body and usually can fit into your pocket. There are many of these cameras available on the market. Be careful in selecting these cameras since they usually don’t allow you to control the focus or zoom of the camera. Some software manufacturers however such as Dragonframe or Stop Motion Pro allow you to control these functions in select models. It is important to look at the software manufacturers website to see what cameras offer in their functionality with their software.
DSLR cameras are typically cameras that have a body and a detachable lens. Though this is not necessarily true in all cases. They offer a far great range of control and function in terms of photographic techniques. The ability to change lenses is a huge bonus when trying to produce professional looking animation. Also the range of color depth and features found on these cameras allows for professional features unfound in Web Cameras and Point and Shot cameras. The two major cameras used in stop motion animation are Nikon and Canon cameras. It is important to point out that DSLRs have two versions. One has a mirror and the other has no mirror. The mirror stays in from of the cameras sensor and bounces the image to a preview sensor. The mirror moves out of the way of the main sensor when a shot is taken. This can cause some issues with flicker of light in the image but has been the standard for many years. The mirrorless version has no mirror and the preview image is taken directly from the main sensor. This technology has been around for many years but has recently reached a major level of interest for its ability to use large sensors to take very crisp and vivid images.
-DSLR Side Note: The most favored camera selection is to use Canon Cameras with Nikon Lenses. This allows the use of good quality lenses with a stable camera that doesn’t overheat.
TRADITIONAL FILM CAMERAS:
For this course it is definitely not advised that you pursue a camera that uses film. The reason for this is that film cameras require not just an expensive media format but also a maintenance schedule and technique that literally makes them very difficult to use. They also don’t offer functions such as Live View which is important in making the animation process easier. Bolex and Mitchell cameras were the traditional instruments used in the past.