Could anybody please give me some advice on stopmotion proj using imovie/istopmotion?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by lia77, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. lia77 macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hello everyone!

    I am wondering if somebody could help me. For the last 3 months I have been working on creating an animated stopmotion film. I have created the real 3D sets, done the clay figures and shot the still images. As I am not very good with computers and all the settings that there are, I just imported every single image from iPhoto into Imovie and changed the time lapse for each image to 0,2 and that´s how I created the animated film. It looks good, but since the film is now over 5 min long, the software (or can it be my computer?)get´s really slow. Sometimes I can´t even watch the video, and definitely not in the full size mode, just on a small video image in imovie.
    I am getting really stressed about this now since I have put so much work into it and just want to finish the project (maybe add another 2 more min) and export it to a dvd with as good quality as possible.

    I started to read about imovie and discovered it isn´t supposed to be used for stopmotion. So.. I just got istopmotion and did a small test reimporting just onescene, then trying to export it, and importing it into imovie (i like using imovie because of all the possibilities of playing around with contrasts and colors)
    But now the quality of the images looks really bad. It isn´t at all as sharp as before. I have tried so many different settings while exporting from istopmotion, but it doesn´t seem to make much difference. I am working in 4:3 ration, and the best option seems to be HD ( but in 16:9 only) so that doesnt seem to work.

    Does anybody have any advice for me?
    Should I use a completely different software for this and start from scratch?
    Or is there maybe just some small trick that I am missing??

    I would be very thankful for help!

  2. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007

    What codec is istopmotion exporting the video at? It's probably compressing the video before you send it back into iMovie which is exactly what you don't want it to do.
  3. lia77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thank you for replying.
    There are several options to export but none of them seems to give great quality.
    (I have the Boinx Istopmotion 2)
    Here are the options I can choose from:


    I am working in 4:3 so and the HD options are only for 16:9 and when I tried exporting it anyway the image just gets streched out instead.

    But I also just read in this forum that to get the uncompressed images when exporting from istopmotion you need the Istopmotion Pro. Do you think that´s true?

    Thanks and have a good evening!

  4. lia77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
  5. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    Some thoughts...

    I've always thought that Boinx is a little brain dead when it comes to iStopmotion. The Home and Express editions are limited to 960x540 resolution. Why, when 1080p and 720p are so common in the consumer space now. Their Pro version handles 10,000x10,000! Also, you can't tell what your project is set to. One has to assume it matters since they have several settings upon creation and a limit on the size.

    When you create a project, make sure you set that up correctly. You didn't say what your source is. High resolution images from a still digital camera perhaps? Is the ratio 4:3 or 3:2? You hinted it is 4:3. For the Preset, I would try Medium or Large, or maybe even custom if the size of your images are odd. I also think you should set the frame rate to what you expect to output.

    Upon output, you can choose a very custom setup by using File-->"Export..."-->QuickTime Movie-->"Customize...". Under the "Setting..." tab, try the "Compression Type" of "Apple Intermediate Codec", Animation, "Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2", or perhaps H.264, or Video. If options aren't grayed out, match the frame rate to your project or try leaving it at "Current" and choose "Key Frames:" All. Those are options I'd try.

    I notice they also have a "Send to iMovie" option. Did you try that too?

    Remember, exporting to full HD makes no sense if you don't have the Pro version since it is limiting your project to less than that.

    Another tool to try is QuickTime Player 7 Pro. It has a feature to import a sequence of images. Apple still charges for that 'Pro' feature.

    Oh, and yet another thing to try. You said it looked good in iMovie already but is getting sluggish to playback in iMovie. You could try exporting to a high quality video and then importing that back in and using it in a new project. My thought is that iMovie might work better with a movie rather than a collection of images. I'm not sure how it stores those images, so this is a bit of a shot in the dark. Worth checking though. If it works out, do that for each scene.
  6. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I had a look at the Boinx software. Once you moved up from the basic versions it started to look quite expensive to me. I was considering this - Dragon. Haven't bought it yet so can't review it for you but it might be worth looking at?
  7. lia77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thank you both for replying and for the advice!

    I have tried to export using imovie and then reimporting, but to me the quality didn´t look so good. (the colors got faded for ex)
    I think I will continue testing different exporting modes istopmotion like you suggested and/or also look into the Dragon software.

    Thanks again for taking your time to reply!

    All the best to you!

  8. lia77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hey Xstep,

    I just tried to export one scene at a time using imovie (but in the 16:9 ration which allows meto export using HD- and with no compression) and then importing again into imovie. This seems to work fine! When I had done it before i used 4:3 where there is no option for HD, so that is why there was so much loss in resolution.
    I was a bit reluctant to using 16:9, but now i think it will be just as fine. As long as the image gets better.

    I must say though that I don´t like Istopmotion!!
    When trying to use the 16:9 ratio there (because when I used 4:3, even on the pro version, i still lost a lot of quality)
    the software decides how to crop the image, which is just to take the middle part. That was so annoying because not all sequences had that composition, so I got a lot of cropped heads etc. It would have been so much better to be able to move that around like you can in imovie.

    Then the quicktime solution didn´t work either. Which appeared to be a bug in Snow leopard I found in another forum. Supposedly some people get problems creating an image sequence in quicktime once they have leopard installed. The screen just got blank for me, and the same had happened to a bunch of other people too...

    So, thanks for the advice on imovie!! It turned out the easiest and best way to solve my problem!i

    Thanks again!!
    I also hope this reply might help somebody else..

  9. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    If you told us more about the source you might get better suggestions. For instance, the image size and ratio.

    BTW, it isn't ration, it is ratio.
  10. lia77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    I´m from Sweden so sorry about my english (although "ration" was just my typing..)

    I was perfectly happy with the help you gave me though, it really helped!
    The istopmotion comment was just because I was so surprised a program like that, which is really expensive in the first place, would do such a strange thing as just crop the image like that. I was just very surprised to see that..

    Anyway, cropping my image in imovie, making it 16:9, then exporting it using HD and uncompressed format and then reimporting it turned out good. (I did a check on a 21 inch screen and it looks quite good. I never managed to get that quality on 4:3.

    And another thing, I also looked into Dragon, but they won´t let you important any photos that you have already taken imported with another program. That´s also kind of crazy I think, but nevermind..

    Greetings and thanks again!
  11. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.

    Sounds like you have a satisfactory solution. Please post back here when you post your video. I'm curious to see it. :)

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