thefourmonkeys website

We are the monkeys that brickfilm. @(^_^)@

Question and Answer, and Tips!

 Technical Questions:

Q. What kind of hardware and software do you use?

 A.  We are currently using a iMac for most aspects of brickfilming although we still make use of our MacBook Pro.  We use Dragonframe stopmotion software with a Cannon EOS T5 camera. We edit, add special effects and audio with the Adobe Creative Cloud software (Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and After Effects).  We also sometimes use our old MacBook Pro with Final Cut Pro 7 for some projects. Most of our older brickfilms were made using a Windows Vista Gateway Computer with a Quickcam Pro 9000 webcam running Stop Motion Maker HDMI for frame capture.  Little Monkey still uses this camera/computer setup.  At one point in our brickfilming journey we used a program called Monkey Jam for frame capture; kinda funny eh?  Some of our ancient brickfilms were shot with the Nikon camera and frame captured with iStopmotion on a Mac computer and edited with iMovie HD (Mac).

 

Q. What camera do you use?

A. Big Monkey animates with a Cannon EOS T2i camera. Little Monkeys uses a Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000.  Some of our older movies were shot with Nikon Coolpix 995, but only using it's composite output. 

 

 Q. Will a Quickcam Pro 9000 work on a Mac with iStopMotion?

 A.  Technically yes, but you can not control focus and other important camera features.  The Mac version of the camera (Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro) is all hardware controlled and not a good option for stop motion.That's why we switched to frame capture on a Windows PC when using a QuickCam Pro 9000. 

 

Q. What Audio Program and microphone do you use?

A. Lately we have been enjoying great success recording our voices with a Zoom H2n Handy Recorder.  

 

Q. How do you do mouth movement? 

A. For a tutorial on our old technique that doesn't require expensive editing, check out Mouth Movement 101. Our current technique requires editing software that can do "chroma key" and "key framing".  Check out Mouth Movement 201 for how we do it. Now that we are using After Effects, the process has changed a little.  

 

 

Q. How many FPS (frames per second) do you use?

A. Usually 15 FPS for Lego and 20 for Hotwheels car racing.  Occasionally we monkey around at 30fps.

 

Q. How do you keep your camera so still?

A. Putty tack or tape

 

Q. What program did you use to make the special effects in Attack of the Bionicles and GS3?

A. We imported files into Final Cut Pro. The files were either made in Photoshop or Particle Illusion. When we had a free trial of Particle Illusion we exported a few effects over a black background. We used chroma or color key to remove the unwanted black background out of the image. We used key frames to create motion. The effects  are rendered at a higher frame rate than typical stop motion video. (lasers were made by photoshop and the explosions were generated in Particle Illusion) 

  

Q. How do you make your Blender Lego models?

A. We create the models in LeoCAD (Windows Only) and export as wavefront .obj file. Blender can import .obj files. LeoCAD can import LDD models if you prefer to make the models with LDD.  

 

Q. Where do you get your green screen or blue screen?

A. We got our green screen and our blue screen from a fabric store. You can get them anyplace that sells fabric or craft items.  We also use large poster board.

 

Q.  What program do you use for your green (or blue) screening?

A.  We use Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects.  

 

Q.  What is onion skinning?

A.  It enables the animator to view multiple frames at the same time. Use of onion skinning helps the animator smoothly animate without having to flip back and forth between frames.  We sometimes use it. 

 

Q.   What kind of lights do you use?

A.   We use clip on lights with 15w LED lamps (bulbs). Check out how we have them set up in our studio tour.  We also use LED lights on occasion for practicals.

 

YouTube Questions:

Q. I subbed you, will you sub me?

A. No, we want people to subscribe to us because they like our videos not because they want a sub back in return. We do not sub4sub!!

 

 

Q. Can you voice act in my movie or can I voice in yours?

A. No. We are happy to have so many fans and supporters on YouTube and the internet, but our time is limited and voicing acting for others is generally not possible.  As for voice acting in one of our movies, we will contact you if we think your voice might enhance one of our brickfilms.

 

 

Q. Do you watch videos that are shared with you or will you watch my videos?

A. No, they are immediately deleted. If you want us to watch one of your videos then enter our annual Brickfilmer's Animation Festival which we plan to host every year, usually at the end of each year. @(◠‿◠)@

 

 

 

Various Questions:

Q. How do you do Darth Vader's voice?

A. Big Monkey has a low voice. With Sound Studio we put a chorus effect on it, then repeat that again.


Q. Will you send me sound effects, music, or software?

A . No. File sharing copyrighted music, video, or software is illegal in most countries.

 

Q. How do you get lines from people or send lines to people?

A. You have to ask them for their email address, attach the audio file to an email and send it to them.  Larger files sometime need to be sent using file sharing services.  Making them a mp3 will help with emailing.

 

 

Q.  Can you give me some tips/advice for making stopmotion videos?

A.  The best advice I can give you is to check out these things:

1) Buy the LEGO ANIMATION BOOK by David Pagano and David Pickett.

2) If you brickfilm, join the Brickfilmer's Guild.

3) Check out forums on Brick-in-Motion.

4) Have fun!  As long as you are just making videos that you like for your own entertainment, then it's all good.

 

 

 

Q. Where to you get your ideas from?
 
A.  We are a family of 4 monkeys (silly people) that have a great imagination and many years of experience watching various movies and television and general life experience that comes with being a grown up. 

 

Q. Where do you get your Lego sets/minifigures from?

 

A. We buy them either at a store or online. We occasionally go to the Lego Store to buy sets and loose bricks.  We also get sets from Walmart and Target. Some online sources for us would be: Lego.com, Ebay.com, Amazon.com, Bricklink.com. Google can be a great place to look for bricks.  We sometimes find great deals at garage sales too.

Join the Brickfilmer's Guild!