22 Jan 2011

A Look At Three Stop Motion / Time-lapse iPhone Apps


I recently tried out a few iPhone apps so that I could play around with stop motion video, and I figured I'd share my thoughts on each of them. The three apps that I tried out were iMotion, iTimeLapse Pro, and StopMotion Recorder.

While I was testing, I found that adding frames to existing videos can have a tendency to change the brightness levels, which throws off the color.  So, it's not usually a good idea to complete a whole project and then attempt to go back and add/edit individual frames; instead, try to get each frame right as you make the video.  This should be taken into consideration for some of the pro/con items listed below.

Another thing that I noticed is that the ability to set the FPS (Frames Per Second) value for the video is extremely important. Sometimes the stop motion video being created is good to go with a low FPS, but sometimes the video needs to move quickly in order to keep that sense of fluid motion.

Below I've listed each app's pros and cons. The list of apps is ordered from what I thought was the best to what I thought was the worst.

iMotion The notes below are based on version 1.4

iMotion - Febo Studio
PROS
  • Big FPS range of 1-30 frames per second
  • Ability to duplicate frames - great for adding pauses
  • Preview the video (on a loop) without render
  • Ability to inject frames at any time
  • Offers automatic timelapse mode with number of photos & interval
CONS
  • A little slow on the photo-taking... it definitely seems slow next to the freakishly fast 'StopMotion Recorder', so this app's speed is probably normal
  • The preview loop is a little jolting, especially if you're previewing early on in your creation or previewing a short clip

iTimeLapse Pro The notes below are based on version 1.1

iTimeLapse Pro - Time Lapse videos - Laan Labs
PROS
  • Unlimited (9,999) frames
  • Seems like unlimited frame rate, but the app started crashing before I could verify
  • Will also do automatic time-lapse
CONS
  • Cannot insert frames to existing videos
  • Awkward "take photo" location
  • The "take photo" spot (can't quite call it a button, since it's just text) is too small & is crowded by other UI elements
  • It takes a long time to take photos
  • It takes a long time to render videos
  • No preview before rendering
  • The app started crashing when I tried rendering videos, and exporting to camera roll failed with error

StopMotion Recorder The notes below are based on version 1.2.1

StopMotion Recorder - graf
PROS
  • Takes photos incredibly fast
  • Grid is a nice feature to help line things up a bit more
  • The UI has good character, without taking away from the experience of using the app
  • It's fun
CONS
  • Video quality is noticeably pixelated - I consider this a simple toy app until this is fixed
  • Limit of 150 frames (using an iPhone 4, with high/large setting)
  • Cannot add to existing videos
  • Cannot preview the video before rendering

All of the links to iTunes in this post are affiliate links.

Tags

apps frame-rate imotion iphone itimelapse itimelapse-pro itunes review stop-motion stopmotion-recorder time-lapse video

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