Animation Toolworks Introduces Completely New LunchBox Sync for Animation
September 20, 2000, Ottawa, Canada - At the opening of the Ottawa International Animation Festival today, Animation Toolworks introduced a completely new electronic audio-video device for animators, the LunchBox Sync. The LunchBox Sync is a successor to the revolutionary Video LunchBox. It enables animators to instantly test their work in progress and eliminate time-consuming errors by monitoring pacing, lighting, audio synchronization, and registration. The LunchBox Sync also results in bolder animation by reducing the time and cost to try alternatives. As with its predecessor, studios and independents will use the LunchBox Sync for feature films, Academy Award nominated shorts, weekly television series, television specials, commercials, web animation, and theme park rides. Colleges, elementary and high schools, museums, and after school programs build classes around the LunchBox.
The LunchBox Sync captures still images from a video camera and plays back this sequence of images at the same rate as film or television. It accepts input from either composite (NTSC or PAL) or S-Video devices such as cameras and VCRs. It cleanly outputs this same format video to monitors, VCRs, computers, etc. The LunchBox Sync records these still images internally for playback at 24 or 30 frames per second (25fps for PAL). Over five minutes of animation can be stored. The LunchBox Sync records audio input, plays back the audio with the video, and plays associated clips of audio when frames are stepped through one at a time (audio "scrubbing"). The "Sync" comes from the LunchBox's ability to synchronize the audio with matching frames of video, at the touch of a button. In addition, the LunchBox Sync provides simple controls to alter holds (the number of frames each image is shown), replace, insert, and delete frames.
The reason for the diverse users -professionals to elementary school students - is the product's instant feedback, and the ability of students to learn and use this technology in ten minutes. Animators appreciate the simplicity and transparency of the LunchBox, calling it "a liberating tool."
"You've made it ten times more capable than it was before, and it's still easy"
The Disney Institute's animation program, current users of the Video LunchBox, beta tested the LunchBox Sync. Animation Instructor Lock Wolverton summarized his testing, "you've made it ten times more capable than it was before, and it's still easy." Fellow instructor Phil Ferretti stated "Audio sync on this box is faster than anything else now. You will make people's lives much easier. You have a small studio in a box!"
"It's a LunchBox on steroids, and it still looks simple"
At Snake Pit Studios, creators of the Rotten Fruit series for z.com, director/producer Eli Roth beta tested the LunchBox Sync for its suitability for web animation. Mr. Roth said of the LunchBox Sync, "it's a LunchBox on steroids, and it still looks simple. The image quality is so far superior to the previous LunchBox, it's much better image quality than you'll every need for the web."
"The editing features are invaluable for character animation"
Cal Arts' character animation and experimental animation departments are also current users of the Video LunchBox. During beta testing, Technical Faculty Larry Fagan examined the quality of the images output by the LunchBox Sync and concluded "much better resolution. The video is clear, and is usable for post." Mr. Fagan enthusiastically offered his overall assessement of the LunchBox Sync, "It's 100 times better than what I expected." Nathan Strum, of the Technical Staff, focused upon the editing features of the LunchBox Sync, and said, "The editing features are invaluable for character animation." Regarding the audio, Mr. Strum stated, "The audio is great. Syncing and scrubbing audio is a big plus."
"To animate without it would be like oil painting blindfolded"
Mike Bannon, Creative Director at Wreckless Abandon Studios, beta tested the LunchBox Sync by placing it in a production stop motion environment, and put it to work. The results? Said Mr. Bannon, "the likelihood of nailing a shot perfectly is more like 95% with the box. To animate without it would be like oil painting blindfolded."
The LunchBox Sync will begin shipping in September, with volume shipments commencing in November 2000. Price for the LunchBox Sync in the United States is $2,995.
Animation Toolworks, based in Sherwood, Oregon, serves professional animators and animation students by providing tools to reduce their cost and reinforce their creativity.
"Get it. Does what you want it to do and more. And it's relatively cheap"