The LEGO minifigures advanced, millimeter by millimeter marching across the tiny stage, as we took hundreds of photos for the basic stop motion video. If you have ever done anything with a stop motion concept, you know that it is a labor of love and managing tiny movements, incremental changes.
The HP Sprout Stop Motion App aims to make that way easier and it is one of the built-in applications that my son and I used to evaluate the new 3D computing system. Even though it was years later, we used LEGO minifigures again and this time created a chase scene across the HP Touch Mat. The mat is just what you would expect – an interactive screen that rests horizontally, where you might have the customary keyboard.
We had a blast with those first stop motion videos. They were totally goofy, hacked together, pre-teen nonsense, but the Stop Motion app was so easy to use it lowered our barriers to logic. As I have written in other posts about the Sprout, it is loaded with interactive functions (you can read the 30+ STEAM Classroom Activities Potential With HP Sprout Pro here) so the user-friendliness is well established.
The Touch Mat serves as your stage or capture area. Place your objects, minifigures, whatever, on the mat and then on the actual Sprout touch-enabled computer screen (the vertical one; as there are two to get used to) you can simply click the Stop Motion “take photo” button. It allows you to set a delay of a few seconds, too, which is helpful as depending on how your set is arranged you may want to move your hand out of the way more carefully, thus you move slower, so it is a handy option. The app also records sound so we added in some screams and shouts as the LEGO minifigure raced away from the Indiana Jones-style “boulder” (actually a wooden disk) chasing him across the set.
So the HP Sprout system is loaded with cameras and it makes the Stop Motion experience easy. So easy, that I found myself immediately ready to just create, without concern for “if it was perfect” or other normal mental barriers. I know that people who test and evaluate systems prefer to find other ways to explain how something works than to say, “It’s easy.” But it truly is.
Of course, this creative freedom was based on ignorance of true stop motion genius taking place out there with the Sprout. Had I seen some of the work of others, perhaps I would have been reluctant to make our own goofy movies, but hopefully not!
The creative stop motion genius I am referring to is Hayley Morris, who owns and runs Shape & Shadow, a full service animation studio, and who created Pluck, a short stop motion video with the HP Sprout that is quite amazing. I encourage you to take a look at not only the finished short film, but the making of it, where Hayley explains some of what she did with the Sprout (combining different built-in apps), some explanations of how she did it, and why it seems to be a tool she will continue to use.
- Shape & Shadow: The Making of Pluck with the HP Sprout where Hayley explains the process.
- Then view the completed short film: Pluck on Vimeo.
As I wrap up this post, having made our own fun little stop motion films, and looking at what a professional like Hayley Morris (and her brother Sean who did sound) can do with the HP Sprout, is inspiring. The Sprout is not only a computer, but a mini studio where you can create in ways that were more tedious before, which Hayley alludes to, and get to work on an idea versus fiddling with equipment. Is the Sprout the perfect system? No, because one does not exist. However, it does offer a way to get work and play done in new ways, in less time, and arguably with less hassle. Less hassle means you can focus on your creativity, on your students, on your customers, and that, I would argue, is valuable in more than an incremental way.
Disclosure: HP is a client and they loaned me the HP Sprout Pro as part of a project. As always, my content is my own.