When I was 11, we went on a family holiday, the trip of a lifetime, to Florida. I thought I would love Disney, and I did really enjoy it, but the place that blew me away was Universal Studios. While we were there, we stood in front of a Green Screen and were ‘shrunk’ like in Honey, I shrunk the kids. (I know, this probably shows my age.)
I love the magic of film, and I love that green screen technology is making places and ideas that have previously only been imagined, come to life. I thought the green screen belonged in film studios.
So when we were asked to review the #Stikbot Zanimation Studio I was really excited, because it uses green screen technology! You can have your very own green screen!
In the #Stikbot Zanimation Studio, you get the little studio itself and two Stikbots.
Stikbots are the little robot people. They have little suckers on their hands and feet. The original idea was that they can climb up windows and walls.
The green screen itself is quite nifty. It’s basically very sturdy cardboard which you slot together to create a backdrop. There are also a couple of mini boxes so you can alter the height of your stage.
You also have a little tripod to hold your phone in position while you film – an essential bit of kit!
Then, you download the Stikbot app onto your phone and the fun can begin.
The app itself is really simple to use, and choosing a background for your photo or film is easy. There are 6 preset images, including the surface of the moon and Central Park, which I really liked. But the genius part is that it’s so easy to use a photograph as your backdrop.
This was absolutely brilliant, and I can see loads of uses for it. One of the ways I will definitely be using it is in school, getting students to design a theatre set and then using it to create a mini film. I can also see it being very useful when we study green screen technology in media – we can give the students their very own green screen to try.
Although the Stikbots have been around for a while now in different forms, I actually think you can have more fun with different characters. We had fun with Lego figures and some of Ben’s smaller toys. Although the figures stuck fairly well to the studio, I had a few times when one leg popped up and the figure tumbled, just as I was filming. Although the Stikbots are an important part of the product, don’t feel limited by them – other figures work as well.
The app uses stop-motion animation technology, which is brilliant because it’s so simple. In some ways I’d have liked a bit more flexibility with it – I couldn’t find a way to just delete the last frame, for example, and recording sound was tricky – but most of it worked really well.
However, and this is a minor issue really, the Studio is aimed at children aged 4+. I tried it with a nearly 4 year old and a 7 year old, and it was much too tricky for them. They didn’t have the patience for the stop motion technology. I had a great time playing around with it, and I can imagine the secondary school students that I teach having a great time using it, but it’s definitely one to save until they are at least a bit older.
So, here’s the film we made, using a few snaps from our half term. In each one, the Stikbot man creeps into the photo of Ben, until he goes off on a nice holiday and makes another Stikbot friend.