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Testing frames per second

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How to ensure you have accurate frames per second (fps) in Stop Motion Pro.

Accurate frames per second playback is crucial for stop motion.  

Stop Motion Pro uses a number of techniques to play back your animation at exactly the correct speed.  Utilising advanced video display techniques means Stop Motion Pro can playback extremely long sequences (limited only to hard drive space) with no render or RAM loading time.  One of the ways Stop Motion Pro does this is by using a "proxy" or mini set of images for playing.

It is possible to change the size of these proxy images depending on your system to optimise performance.  For instance, Canon DSLR users can set the proxy size to 1024 via the Settings | Advanced settings dialog when starting a new project.  This matches the native size of the Live view image.   You can also drop this proxy width down to 600 if your system is older or you do not have much screen real estate. 
A 25% increase in the proxy size will double the data rate required to playback the animation.

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How to test if your system is running at the correct FPS

This test will work with any frame rate up to 60.  In this example we are working at 60 frames per second. 

Using an audio "ping track" you can test the playback of your system.

Download this zip file (right click and "save as") extract it to the desktop of your computer running Stop Motion Pro.

Start a New project and open Tools | Audio Sync.  Load the audio file from the desktop (see above) into the Audio Sync tool. 

Click the Sync button on the Audio sync tool.

Capture one frame from your camera. 

Now open the Editor.  Click on the first frame thumbnail in the editor and from the Actions tab in the sidebar, select Insert blank frames.  We enter in the number of frames as 59 (one frame less than a full second). 59 new black frames will appear in the editor,there are now 60 frames in total.

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Repeat the sequence

Select all the frames using the Shift key and clicking on frame 1, then frame 60. From the Actions tab, select Repeat selected sequence, enter in 10 and click Apply.

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Now playback the animation, it should playback with an audio "ping" noise every second.  The first frame with an image should always appear in sync with the ping.

Look at the Audio sync dialog, does the bar running throught the green audio track match the white bar running through the frame indicator below?  If the Audio sync bar runs faster than the frames, you need to start a new project and adjust the Settings | Advanced settings | Play tab Proxy size until the frame indicator runs at the same speed as the audio track indicator.

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Next step

We take this process one step further when testing Stop Motion Pro.  We video the monitor during playback and record the audio from the PC speakers.  We then use a video editing application to analyse the timeline and check the audio ping is matching the video frame exactly over time. 

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