I am working on a pilot video for a sci-fi space opera. It's stop-motion with light painting and other alternative frame tricks, which I am very excited about.
I'm looking for a cost effective way to make this work, especially because our commission is super tight ($300 total). The camera we have is not Dragon compatible so I am wondering if anyone has experience with, say, the Hue Animation Studio camera/software or other alternatives.
Thanks so much for your input and support!
If you already have Dragonframe, maybe you could look at second hand DSLR cameras with live view. There are also a couple of DSLR-Like cameras that give you the manual controls and can be used with a couple of work-arounds. (You would capture the live view with Dragonframe, but capture the final image on the camera's own memory card with a remote shutter release, and transfer the frames when you finish the shot. The Panasonic FZ-50 is a no-longer-made one that a few people here use, and it still turns up on eBay. That would be well under $300.
If you expect to do more animation, investing in decent gear makes sense, even if this project can't pay for all of it. So one of the Canon Rebel models, with a lens adapter and a Nikon, Olympus, or 3rd party lens with manual aperture control would let you shoot high quality images. But if you can't find the money, you can't.
I'm not too sure about that Hue webcam. It does say it has manual focus, which is good, and very important. But so are manual exposure and white balance, and it doesn't mention those. Light levels bouncing up and down from frame to frame are just as distracting as the focus hunting around. I'm not sure what the resolution is, 1920 x 1080 HD or the smaller 1280 x 720 HD. If they don't want to say, it's probably the lower res. The software is probably basic, but that's fine. I don't use onion skinning, but I do need to click back and forth from the live view to the last couple of frames captured to see the move and how it compares. But failing that, onion skinning does help.
There is some free framegrabbing software, usually with limitations. Here is Master LIO's page on framegrabbers, with links to their websites: http://www.stopmotionworks.com/stopmosoftwr.htm
You also need video editing software, sound editing software (like Audacity, which is free), and something to add effects, erase wire supports, re-size, etc.