What's In Your LunchBox?
Yes, it sure does seem easy enough for anyone to use, most impressive. But what about shooting on twos or more? Is there any way to insert frames into an animation? What if I make a mistake?
I posed these questions to Howard Mozeico, CEO and the man with all the answers at Animation Toolworks. He explained, "You cannot insert or delete frames, but you can replace frames. So, it doesn't truncate if you replace a frame. This is handy when you accidentally have your hand in the image, or you record the wrong image. It also makes rotoscoping possible. By using the real-time capture, you can store a reference, say a real person mouthing some words, within the LunchBox. Then, by using our flip-flop mode, which toggles between the live image, your drawing, or clay, and the stored image, the real person, you can draw accurate lip-synch. You can then replace the real person that is stored, with your animated character. Proceeding frame by frame, you replace your real person with your animation.
I Gotta Try
After hearing everyone's experiences, I felt I'd really be chicken salad on pumpernickel if I didn't try it out. So, here it goes.
I took the two-minute tutorial and taped it to the wall. I cleaned off a work table and set up a stage and a character. Then I put my Sharp Slimcam on a tripod. To plug my camcorder into the LunchBox, I needed to get a cord with a RCA adapter (under $10 at any electronics store). Most industrial or professional cameras can use the BNC adapter which came with the LunchBox. Once the camera was plugged into the LunchBox, I focused it on my animation set-up. Next, I plugged in my monitor.
All the machines were on and all the lights were green, standing by. It's time to hit the red button on the LunchBox and animate!
Yippee! Look Houston, we have an image! That was quick, easy and most of all, painless. I want to do more, and more, and even more.
The next time you hear from me I'll be having fun, teaching my own animation classes and making my own characters come to life. I think Gary Schwartz says it best, "The LunchBox brings the student back to what animation is all about: art, self-esteem, results and creativity."
On this note, I send you away to consider what you'll be wanting in your LunchBox.
After giving this product the full test, I compiled the following reference list:
Video LunchBox Features and Details
It can quickly and easily capture single frames, or full motion video.
It can play back animation, and loops at 15, 24 or 30 frames per second, with no delay between the first and last frame of the loop (a problem with some PC based systems), so one can get an accurate evaluation of animation cycles.
It appears to be extremely easy to use. You don't have to learn how to use a computer, worry about manipulating files, or dealing with all the complexities of a computer system.
Because it is dedicated hardware, it's capabilities, and limitations are absolute. It is not upgradeable in any way (other than perhaps frame capacity). It will never be a system for editing animation, or providing other features besides being a pencil test or reference test device.
Because it is dedicated hardware, it performs the functions that it does, the shooting and playing back of animation tests, extremely well, and very simply.
One ability that it does not have is a way to capture or play back audio for lip-sync tests.