Hey, everyone, I am sorta new here but I have a question! So I have been doing stopmotion for a while but I have never figured out how to stop light flicker! I mean I have tried everything, I got 2 led lamps, I blocked out all other lamps and then I also make sure I am wearing a black shirt when doing stopmotion but still the light flicker persists! So I am using stopmotion studio on PC which I know, it isn't as good as phone but this is what I got. So I don't know what I am doing wrong please help me whoever reads this.
A couple of possibilities:
1. Camera. If you have Stopmotion Studio on a PC, what are you using for a camera?
Maybe the camera is doing some automatic exposure adjustment, which will cause flicker. You can get that on a Canon or Nikon DSLR, the pro option for stop motion, for a number of reasons, and you have to use fully manual lenses and go through every menu to shut off all the "helpful" auto settings. I'm guessing you aren't using a DSLR with manual lenses, though, or you would be capturing with Dragonframe.
Most video cams and web cams have auto exposure, which means they keep adjusting the brightness. If you go in front of the camera to animate, wearing your black shirt, they increase the exposure because it looks dark. The when you step out of the way to take the shot, they change back, but not quite exactly where it was before. When using an iPad or iPhone, Stop Motion Studio lets you lock focus, white balance, and exposure, so they stay put. Those are the only 2 devices I've tested it on. I don't know if it has that function with the camera you are using, or running on a PC. If you can't lock the exposure on the camera or via software, it is not suitable.
2. Varying power supply. Mains power often goes up and downy one or two volts, and this causes most lights to get brighter or dimmer. It is gradual so you don't see it, but with animation a minute or two might pass between taking one frame and the next one, so it will look like a sudden change. I had that problem, after blacking out windows and going through all the menus on my Canon 40d to eliminate al camera flicker, I found that the voltage kept changing as factories in the neighbourhood turned machines on and off. (Turning my 1200 watt oven on and off in the studio also did it, which was handy for testing.) I had to spend a lot ($5000) on a power conditioner to filter my mains power. I was able to check it by putting a multimeter in front of the camera, connected to the mains power, and taking shots - I could see the needle went up on the brighter frames, and down on the darker ones, so that confirmed that was the cause. Power was more stable between 2 and 5 AM, but who wants to always animate at night?
I'm not sure about the LED lights - if they will work with a dimmer, which lowers the voltage to reduce the brightness, they would also respond to voltage changes that you didn't intend. I only have one LED light, a narrow beam pinspot, and I run it through my double-conversion UPS with my older halogen lights, so voltage remains steady. I could test it, but I don't think all LEDs are the same.
3. Oh, and an obvious one you probably have covered already, since you are wearing black to avoid reflected light - point the computer monitor away from the set, it can throw flickery light onto the set. Also if you stand in a slightly different place when you take the frames, that will cause variation.
Hmmm well, I use a webcam so I don't know how to change settings on that, and I don't have any power problems...here is my youtube channel where I do my stop motions if you wanted to see what my problem is.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TTyJuEq4c0&t=138s
Nicely put together video! But yes, the flicker is noticeable. I suspect it is from your webcam. Auto is standard on most video cameras, you generally pay extra for cameras with manual settings or the ability to lock the settings.
I used to use a security camera looking though the viewfinder of my Nikon (before live view was available on DSLRs) as a video assist and it kept adjusting the brightness automatically. Nothing I could do about it. My final images from the DSLR were saved separately so it didn't matter, the spycam was just to see how much I was moving the puppet. Since I did my learning on film, I missed out on using web cams so I don't know if there is a better one with more manual settings available.
Ok so do you think I should invest in a new camera?
I've found that led lights are problematic, at least the less expensive ones. With flourescents, you can drop your shutter speed below 1/60th, but even that doesn't work with some leds. I've gone back to halogens (hot, yes, but beautiful light).
You also have to watch out for your own shadow; if it's light and diffused, you won't see it with your eyes. If you're too close to your set, and especially if you stand in slightly different places, the light suggestion of the shadow of your body will show as flicker. Make sure your trigger for your camera, be it your computer's keyboard or anything else, is placed far enough away from your set so that it's impossible for your diffused shadow to show up; in other words, make sure you're behind a light when triggering your camera. Guess how I learned this (white backgrounds are cruel and unforgiving rascals).