- Capture and export in 720p HD quality
- Manual or Automatic shutter settings for making stop motion or time-lapse movies
- Exposure and Focus lock
- Onion Skin
- Hardware Volume (+) button works as the shutter release
- Frames Per Second adjustments
- Ability to add frames to a preexisting project
- Use either the front or back camera.
- Stop Motion Sample
- Time-Lapse Sample
Frameographer comes to us via Studio neat, known for making fantastic iPhone compatible products such as the Glif and the Cosmonaut. Their newest creation, Frameographer is an application that enables you to capture stunning 720p HD stop motion and time-lapse video. Although time-lapse is not a new concept, it is something generally reserved for larger, more pricey, equipment than the iPhone. The fact that we now have access to these tools from our mobile devices is truly astounding when you think about it.
Studio Neat is not the first outfit to produce a stop motion and/or time-lapse app for the App Store. In fact, there are several options out there. However, I have tried a handful of the apps that do the “same thing” and Frameographer stands above them head and shoulders. Here’s the major reason why: When recording stop motion videos, it requires a lot of time, patience, attention to detail and effort. Now, suppose you’ve just spent the last 30 minutes creating a 1 minute video, 900 still frames in all. Now imagine if the application you were using to create those images crashed! That is the experience I have had with most every other stop motion/time-lapse app I have tried. Frameographer makes light work of those chumps! After creating more than 9 videos over the last week of testing, Frameographer emerges as the victor for stability and reliability. I have not experienced one single solitary crash nor have I lost any of my work.
Ease of Use
Although stability plays a major role in deciding upon the creative tools we choose to use, ease of use certainly weighs in as well. This is something that Frameographer excels at. Without ever having used the app before, I was able to breeze through the creation process with little or no explanation of how to use the application. The icons are bold and logical representations of the features they link to. Frameographer offers a few tool hints to nudge you along, but nothing that is invasive to the creative process. I appreciate that tremendously in an application. Simple, uncluttered is definitely the way to go. If you would like detailed information about using Frameographer, there is a page dedicated to mapping out all of the controls accessible by tapping the question mark icon on the home screen.
One of the features that makes Frameographer an easy, pleasant, experience is the ability to perform actions quickly. Specifically deleting unwanted frames from a project and changing the frames per second. When you are reviewing a project, other applications may require the repetitive tapping of “next frame” buttons. This can be so painstaking when you have 300 frames to review. Frameographer takes advantage of swipe gestures to help you to quickly navigate through your frames. The center frame, or current frame, is highlighted by a bold blue border. This ensures that you always know what frame you are on and decreases the likelyood that you will “accidentally” delete a frame; a safeguard that some other stop motion apps can take lessons on.
Changing the frames per second, or FPS, is a snap. At any point in the review process, tap the clock icon to reveal a slider. Slide left to decrease the number of frames per second or slide right to increase them. The more frames per second, the smoother the video. It defaults to 15fps but I tend to like a little more “chop” in my stop motion videos so I usually end up using 10-11 fps. The beauty of Frameographer is the fact that it doesn’t lock you in to a certain frame rate. You can export your video at 10fps and then change the fps to 15 and export again. This is a short-coming of other apps in this genre. Most times, once you save a video, it locks in the frame rate and renders the video useless for future editing. Not Frameographer. As long as the project still lives in the app, you can always return to it to add frames, delete frames or change the frame rate. Can I get an alleluia?
About Adding Frames…
The simple fact that you can stop a project and return to it at a later time or date is a fantastic concept for a man like myself who cannot seem to get three hour stretches of time to work on a single project. This enables me to work when I can and stop when I need to. And because Frameographer utilizes the Onion Skin feature, I am always able to align my frames properly when returning to an old project so that everything remains consistent. Want to shoot stop motion? Have a family pulling at your heels? You will love love love the freedom Frameographer provides.
Time lapse is similar to stop motion with the exception that images are recorded automatically at a set time interval, like every 5 seconds. When recording time-lapse videos it is extremely helpful to use a tripod to keep your device steady and images aligned properly from frame to frame. Consider Studio Neat’s Glif. It’s the perfect tool for the job. To enter time-lapse mode, just toggle the switch located at the bottom left of your screen once you have tapped the “add frames” button. Once toggled to the time-lapse setting, tap the button that appears with the default 5s displayed inside. From here you choose your frame interval (1 second – 10 minutes) and number of frames (10-infinite). Hit start to begin recording images and stop to complete the process. If you have set Frameographer to anything other than the Infinite Frames setting, it will stop automatically when it reaches your presst number of frames. Not only can you record time-lapse videos that are independent of any other project but you can also start a time-lapse in the middle of a stop motion video and then resume stop motion when complete.
Suggestions for Users
When using time-lapse mode, ensure that your phone is juiced up to the max. Time-lapse videos will eat your battery quicker than Shaggy & Scooby eat a 5ft tall cold-cut. If you are shooting a long term time lapse and it is detrimental that you capture all frames without a hitch, plug your phone up while recording. This eliminates the possibility that the battery will die and you will miss the shot. Also, when in time-lapse, switch your iPhone to silent mode. Frameographer sounds off every time that virtual shutter closes. If you have your video set to record 1000 frames at 1 frame every 3 seconds… and you have the volume on… prepare to listen to the shutter sound effect every three seconds for the next 5 and a half minutes. This may not bother you, but it will certainly bother those who may be less than enthusiastic about your time-lapse video dedicated to grass growing. Be polite.
Although I am thrilled to use Frameographer as-is for all of my stop motion and/or time-lapse projects, I would be thrilled to see some features added. Mainly, the ability to add a soundtrack. It would be marvelous if, as I am exporting, I could choose a song from my iPhone’s library to play as a soundtrack to my beautiful time-lapse video of the Tulips in my front yard. Additionally, exporting my videos to YouTube or Vimeo in-app would be a welcomed addition. Lastly, selection of multiple frames for deletion. Frameographer makes it simple and fast to delete a frame or two here and there but the process is quite tedious to delete all 45 frames that you are unsatisfied with. This is most likely to occur with time-lapse since you are simply recording whatever happens to walk in front of your camera. You may not want the 15 seconds of a dog doing it’s duty in the middle of the video… or maybe you do. An option to select more than one frame at a time for deletion would be more than helpful.
What Does it All Mean Basil
Well, to sum it all up, buy this app! Frameographer is so far advanced beyond it’s competition that it is slightly ridiculous. Just think, this is a 1.1 reelase and it’s lapping other releases in their fourth or fifth version. The future looks bright for Frameographer and the folks at Studio Neat. I look forward to future updates as well as more cool stuff for the iPhone. If you were really cool, you would be checking out Studio Neat’s current product line and drooling over the prospect of future ones. This is not a paid advertisement. It is really what you should be doing if you’re cool, that’s all.
Per a recent update, Frameographer now allows you to add songs from your iTunes library as a soundtrack to your videos.
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