So it is time to choose a camera. If you are like most people starting off, you will probably work with whatever is already around— or maybe it is what your parents have. Not long ago, most people would have said to never use a webcam for stop motion animation. Though it is still not the recommended choice, webcams have progressed and there are now very attractive and more importantly affordable options.
When choosing any camera, remember that picture quality is directly proportional to your knowledge of the camera and lighting. When you use a better quality camera, it can make up for a lack of expertise, but it is still important to learn about your camera before you begin shooting. Your movie will look better if you take time to learn about your camera and lighting. Plus, you will get some good practice in before you tackle your film project.
Basic Rules to Remember When Choosing a Camera
- Manual focus is an absolute must have. Without manual focus your animation will be in and out of focus and blurry as the characters are moving.
- Control your image. This means that you want to have control setting for white balance, gain, and exposure. By having manual control over these, your images will remain consistent.
- Try not to Zoom. Unless you have a higher end camera or good lenses, zooming will degrade the value of your image. You want the highest quality picture you can get and this is generally achieved when zoomed out. Instead of zooming, move the camera around to get that perfect shot.
- More on White Balancinghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-5HHkUdXTk
Camera technology changes daily and choosing what to buy usually comes down to your budget. Almost every option has its positives and negatives and instead of overthinking which one to buy, purchase the best you can afford and focus more on your animation and story building.
Though there are a few more options, these are the most used.
Digital Stills $300.00+
Example SLR – Canon
Be careful when looking at digital cameras as most lack manual controls. Also, the picture quality will not be as good as the higher end models. With the image quality, digital cameras have the ability to take high quality pictures that will make your animation look even better. Do not forget to see if your camera has remote capture software, or the ability to be connected to frame grabbing software.
Most DV cameras will not capture a single frame by themselves. You will need extra software to be able to do this. Keep in mind before you purchase anything, that only certain cameras work with certain software. There are more expensive cameras, like Sony XDCAM, that offer the ability to take single frame images. However, this method is not been used as much by brickfilmers as less expensive alternatives offer the same quality animation.
Webcam $25.00 to $200.00
The most positive aspect of the webcam is cost. Most come with a solid stand and because they plug straight into the computer, offer smooth and quick uploading and therefore is a very smooth transition into editing. However, it almost goes without being said that the quality is low. Lighting becomes even more important as webcams have low resolution even in optimal conditions.
Point in Shoot $100.00 to $500.00