Maybe you've heard of the Mac-only framegrabber called I Can Animate? Well I can't! Let me relate my woes....
For many months now my computer has been on the fritz. It began innocently enough, the occasional glitch and sometimes it would freeze up. Then it got more frequent and more severe, until I got used to actually spending an hour or more some days re-starting it over and over before it works, and then there's no telling how long it will last. Watching video generally kills it, though I can often get in a few minutes before things start to go wonky. So I tend to wait till I'm about done for the day before watching any clips.
Then a few months ago I tried to start up my trusty Framethief, and lo and Behold! It was unable to connect with my camera! That had never happened before! Oddly, iMovie connects to it every time without a problem. I ran my diagnostic software, which told me at this point the only thing remaining to try was a complete re-install of my operating system. Failing that the computer needs to be serviced. Well, I did a re-install - took the better part of a night, and the problems still persist! I've been putting off getting the computer serviced, partly for monetary reasons (no idea yet what it will cost) and partly while I try to decide if I should just get a new one or not instead. The new Macs are intel-based, and from what I understand there are problems getting them to play nice with some video programs. I'm sure Framethief won't run on the intel macs (and from my recent experiences, I want my Framethief back!).
I'm listing this info mostly for my own benefit, so I can always refer back to this post in the future when I need the info. Here are my experiences thus far with trying alternative mac framegrabbers:
The first one I tried was iStopmotion. To my surprise, it immediately connected with my camera (a Hitachi HV-C20 run through a Canopus ADVC-100 analog/digital converter to convert the signal to Firewire). It's not a bad program for the most part, very Framethief-like, but with limitations. The biggest problem for me (a fatal one) is that it doesn't store individual frames in a folder the way Framethief does. Instead it creates a temp folder and when you're done with your session you save the project or export it to Quicktime. What this means to me specifically is that, if (when) my computer crashes I lose everything I shot - unless I've been saving frequently, and even then I lose everything since the last save. But that's really no good unless I save after every frame shot, otherwise I'd need to somehow go back and painstakingly re-position the puppets precisely where they were at my last save.... a laborious and heartbreaking procedure that I'd rather not even mess with.
Another problem with iStopmotion is that you can accidentally mix up your frames! This is really bizarre... I don't see the benefit of it, but apparently you can grab a frame (there are little tiny thumbnails images along the timeline) and drag it to a new position! I can see where this might be neat for a beginner, or maybe a pro in extremely limited circumstances, but it's not something I'd ever use, and I wish there was a way to disable it. The problem is that the thumbnails are so close to the playback head, which I want to grab to try to scroll through my animation (another problem, that doesn't work in iStopmotion, but it's a habit from longtime FT use).
And the final iStopmotion problem that really seals the deal.... sometimes when I try to export my animation the program crashes and I lose everything I shot. No good!
So I tried I Can Animate next. It recognizes my camera. It also doesn't allow scrubbing-through by dragging the playback head across the timeline, a feature I like to use. Unlike iStopmotion however, I Can Animate doesn't have to render out a clip every time you want to play it through to see what you've got. So that's a plus. But it also doesn't save individual frames as image files, and doesn't automatically save every time you take a shot (which amounts to the same thing). AND it causes my computer to crash very quickly, just like iStopmotion. I also don't like that you can't use the space bar to take a single frame... that's pretty standard in other 'grabber's ive tried. The 1 key is hard to spot, not front and center (and BIG) like the space bar! Finally, I Can Animate also causes my computer to crash after shooting just a few frames!
So next I tried Stopmotioner. It can't find my camera, so that's that!
Sorry, I know this post doesn't mean anything to my readers.... it's just a notepad for my own use today!