This guide is the instruction manual for my animation software, SingleFramer.
(Click the link for screenshots, features, and latest download.)
Just download the dmg, double-click to open it, and put the SingleFramer folder in your Applications folder
When the app starts, most of the controls are hidden. You must set up your movie using the menus at the top of the screen.
- In the NTSC/PAL menu, select the video format (NTSC for North America, PAL for most other places)
- In the Watching menu, select “Start Watching”. Now your camera image should appear onscreen. SingleFramer uses the most recently connected camera. (See the camera compatibility page for supported cameras and video input devices, but note that SingleFramer only supports NTSC/PAL resolutions, not HD. It will probably scale down the input from HD cameras, vertically stretching them in the process.)
- In the Movie Setup menu, choose “Start new DV Movie” or “Start new Anim Movie”. DV movies are compatible with Final Cut Pro DV/NTSC or DV/PAL sequences. Anim movies use the Apple animation codec (uncompressed). Most people should choose DV. Now you should see the buttons in the user interface.
- Grab frames. Use the “GRAB FRAME” button or the space bar to capture 1, 2, or 3 frames. (You’ll hear a “click” for each captured frame.) On your keyboard, the 1, 2, and 3 keys will capture the corresponding number of frames.
- Finish your movie. This step is crucial. If you quit without “finishing” then your movie will be lost! (There is no way to recover the movie file if the app crashes before you click “finish”. I know it’s stupid, but it was easy to code.)
TV Safe Gudes: These overlays indicate the 10% overscan area around the edges of the NTSC or PAL frame. Keep your action within the green guides to make sure that it doesn’t get cropped off the edges of the TV set. Keep your titles within the red guides so they don’t seem unnaturally close to the edge of the screen.
Onion-Skinning: This slider lets you control how much of your previous frame to blend with the live video feed. The blended image won’t be captured, it’s just a visual indicator of the movement between frames. For example, if you’re animating a walking figure you can see the previous foot position while you move the foot for the next capture.
Load Previous Movies for Comparison: Normally the onion-skinning function shows the frame you just captured, but it can also help you maintain continuity across multiple sessions. If you load a previous movie into the onion-skinning source selector, you can compare the live camera to any frame in the movie. Then switch back to normal onion-skinning whenever you want.
Time-Lapse: SingleFramer can do time-lapse shooting with arbitrary intervals expressed in seconds, minutes, or hours. Alternatively, you could write an Applescript to grab at whatever intervals you want, using whatever schedule is required.
SingleFramer was made in MAX/MSP/Jitter 4.6 which lacks direct Applescript Support. However, you can write Applescripts that control SingleFramer by interacting with its menu items using “UI scripting.” (these are script commands that say “pull down the File menu and choose Save” rather than simply “Save File”) Note: To use these scripts, you must “enable assistive devices” in your Mac System Preferences.
I included a set of “handlers” to make scripting easy, and there is an example script that launches SingleFramer, captures a few time-lapse frames, save thye movie to the Desktop, and quits. (It is very difficult to script the “Save” box that appears when you make a movie, so the included scripts are currently limited to saving movies on the Desktop.)
SingleFramer is Copyright 2005 – 2007 by Zach Poff. It is Free Software, released under a GPL 3.0 license. You are free to copy it, modify it, and redistribute your changes provided that all derivative products remain GPL licensed. The source files are included in the download. (See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html for details about this license.)
There is a caveat: This software was developed in the (non-free) MAX5 visual programming environment ( http://www.cycling74.com ) which is required if you want to edit the source code. My application contains the MAX5 “Runtime” environment, which is not GPL, so my license pertains to my contributions only.
Version 2.4 (December 2007)
- Fixed: keyboard wouldn’t trigger grabbing if number boxes had been recently touched.
- Fixed: after canceling the creation of a movie, frames could still be grabbed.
Version 2.3 (November 2007)
- Merged NTSC and PAL versions into one application (select at launch and it will be saved as default for next time)
- Refined and simplified the user-interface
- Added support for limited Applescript “UI Scripting” (the new menu items can be scripted)
- onscreen video window uses smoother interpolation (does not affect captures).
Version 2.2 (October 2007)
- Now a Universal Binary (works on Intel or PPC Macintosh)
- updated to fix crashes with Quicktime 7, and frame-addressing issues when loading existing movies.
(not tested under older OS and Quicktime versions!)
- Added user setting for the number of frames to grab whenever spacebar is pressed (1-3)
- The 1, 2, and 3 keys now grab that many frames respectively.
(This is useful if you hack a USB “numeric keypad” to become a footpedal.)
- changed some label text to warn about the “DONE” button.
- Moved the “TV Safe” box to a more logical position.
- added a lockout so it’s impossible to start a new movie while capturing (which will break your current movie.)
Version 2.1 (2005)
- First public release