Software and Hardware

To make the most use of the Stop Motion Handbook you'll need a Mac computer.

The computing demands for stop motion are fairly low because essentially you are working with small still images. You don't need the latest fastest computer, in fact we've often use computers that are more than 5 years old.

The Mac comes with GarageBand which can be used to create the soundtrack. (You can also use existing audio clips without needing to use GarageBand).

The Mac will also come with iMovie which is used to add titles and credits. iMovie can also be used for general movie editing where the stop motion sequence is part of a movie.

There are a range of options for microphones to record the sound (link) and cameras to record the pictures (link).

The only extra software you'll need to start making stop motion movies is iStopMotion (click here to purchase this software directly from Boinx) or email us for a quote for educational pricing for your school or organisation.

  • iStopMotion 3 US$49.99
    • use a wide range of cameras including Digital SLR (Canon/Nikon), iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad), Firewire and USB cameras, and webcams
    • record HD movies
    • import a soundtrack before recording the pictures to achieve frame accurate character movements to match the soundtrack
    • import a rotoscope/lip sync reference movie to achieve accurate and realistic movements and lip sync to match the pictures to the soundtrack
    • apply the Tilt Shift filter
    • colour correction to adjust the picture when the camera image or room lighting is not quite right.
    • use your own custom foreground and background images - for certain special effects using a green screen.

Click here to purchase iStopMotion directly from Boinx.







Choosing a microphone for stop motion

Where you need to record the soundtrack for your stop motion movie, use the best quality set up you have access to.

Here are 5 examples of the equipment needed to record a soundtrack (listed in order of potential recording quality):

  1. For the best quality audio recording you'll need to use a breakout box such as the Apogee Solo or Duet. This allows you to connect a XLR microphone to the Firewire port on your computer.
    This method is like a recording studio and is the most expensive. It should be considered for serious stop motion work.

  3. Connect a separate microphone to your computer. You may need a special cable such as the Griffin Microphone GarageBand Cable to convert the sound signal in the microphone to the 3.5mm phono line-in port on your computer. This method produces a good quality sound recording. The Apogee MiC is a studio quality microphone that directly connects to USB on a Mac.

  5. Connect a separate microphone to a video camera. Record sound into the camera as you would do for video, and then upload it to the computer. This method takes slightly longer and produces a good quality sound recording.


  6. Use the built-in microphone on your computer. This method is quick, easy and cheap, and produces a medium quality sound recording.

  8. Use the built-in microphone on a video camera. Record sound into the camera as you would do for recording video, or connect the camera to the computer and use it as a microphone to record the sound directly onto the computer. This method is produces a medium quality sound recording.

You can also use pre-recorded audio (eg dialogue, stories, music or songs) as soundtracks.





Choosing a camera for stop motion

The most important camera features useful for stop motion are:

The number of mega-pixels is not usually important because HD TV is only 2 mega-pixels (standard TV is less than 1 mega-pixel). Many cameras, even up to 10 years old, fit this requirement so you don't need to spend a lot of money on the latest model. You can often get cheap cameras and accessories on internet auction sites such as trademe or eBay.


New to version 3: use your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad as a wireless remote camera.

Most MiniDV video cameras with a Firewire connection will be compatible.

USB webcams will usually work (click here for information on the web cam shown). Some webcams may not have features such as manual focus, so won't be useful for close-up pictures. Some may be limited to a picture size of 640 x 480 pixels.

Some digital still cameras (DSLR) also work (click here for a list of still cameras compatible with iStopMotion).

The iSight camera on your computer has limited use for stop motion as it lacks manual focus and zoom and is hard to get close to the scene you want to record.


Stop motion movies can also be made from a series of digital picture files. These pictures can be taken on any digital device (camera, phone, MP3 player) as long as they can be uploaded onto a computer. The camera does not have to be compatible with iStopMotion.




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Sample pages TOC (PDF 4.9mb)
Lesson plans (PDF 120kb)
Story outline (PDF 80kb)
Audio resources
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