Big Hero 6 Puzzle – Review

Big Hero 6 is the latest Disney movie, and is due to be released this Friday 30th January. Ravensburger have released some great new puzzles to coincide with the launch of this action packed film, and the boy was excited to see if he was up for a little jigsaw challenge of his own. There are two new Big Hero 6 puzzles from Ravensburger and we were sent the Big Hero 6 XXL 100 puzzle, RRP £7.99 for ages 6+. The boy was convinced he could do this puzzle with his eyes shut (it’s a boy thing)

big hero 6 puzzleWhen the boy first completed the Big Hero 6 puzzle we had no idea of the story from the film. Now that we have seen it the puzzle picture makes much more sense.  Like all Ravensburger puzzles the picture is bright and clear, and the Big Hero 6 puzzle is action packed too. The picture features all the hero’s from the film in their special super hero suits and includes the lovable Baymax character.

big hero 6

The puzzle proved to be enough of a challenge, but without loosing interest for the boy and he completed the puzzle in about 20 minutes. I love the grading of the pieces, which allows you to choose a puzzle that will suit your child’s age or abilities. Its been a long time since the boy sat down and did a puzzle, but he was very patient and actually enjoyed this quiet time. The pieces for this puzzle are XXL, and I think are a great way to encourage hand-eye coordination as well as visualising the pieces and where they might fit. I can see that this Big Hero 6 puzzle will be a popular puzzle, and certainly one that the boy has enjoyed and even gone back to. I can thoroughly recommend Big Hero 6 as a great family film, and this puzzle is a perfect gift for a Big Hero 6 fan.

 

Disclaimer we were sent this puzzle to review, the words remain our own and have not been altered.

Hue Animation studio

Hue Animation Studio is the complete stop start animation kit for kids. The box contains everything you need to get started with a HD webcam (available in 6 different colours), USB cable, software disc, simple start-up instructions and small supply of soft putty to get you into modelling your animation figures.

Hue Animation Studio

The software is compatible with windows 7 and mac and claims to be easy to install. OK so I now have a confession I didn’t find it easy to install, but this was not the HueAnimation Studio’s fault. It turns out I had a dodgy i-tunes update which had uninstalled various essential programming from my computer. So what should have been a simple register with the website, email code and click install turned into a weekend of computer rebooting hell!

So having experienced the helpful support team at Hue, who sent me out a new activation e-mail, I can tell you the online help is great, and worked first time. The installation from this point was insert the disc and off we go. The camera can plug-in via the USB, and then you just need your actors.

The boy and I decided that our test would be with Lego and chose a car. I thought we could simply use this as a test, and we built a small three sided box studio as our backdrop for our film. What followed was 4 hours of mini figure animation, as the boy was so engrossed he didn’t want to stop! The result is this slightly strange film of the occupants of Lego City, with the addition of some random music, which somehow seemed to enhance the production. Tell us what you think?

To give you some idea this 30 second video contained 300 individual stills and took about 3 hours to film.

The software was easy to use, you can see two shots on-screen, your current shot and the last still taken. The camera takes great quality pictures and you can add words or simple drawings. You can import photo stills, as well as music, and the camera also has a built-in microphone so you can record as well. I did experience a few problems with the Hue Animation Studio. The first was loosing frames, if you delete something because it AutoSaves it is lost for good. I found grouping and ungrouping frames a bit tricky, and adding the music was difficult. The text can also be a little limited and seemed to go fuzzy when you save it to a film. But all these things are more advanced features, and I would expect need an amount of trial and error.

Having said all of that the boy had no problem working out what to do, the shooting is a simple click of the mouse or space bar. Deleting shots that go wrong is a one click dustbin We loved the onion skimming on the current shot, this shows a ghost like image so you can see exactly how far each character has moved. The bendy camera, and  time-lapse feature which you can be set up from the software sound interesting. Making the finished film is a simple export, which can then be uploaded directly to YouTube if you wish. The boy was using lots of words like “awesome” “cool” and “wicked” so I know he approved, and the Hue Animation software will certainly come in useful for the wet days at home, we might even make some more crisp videos like this one!

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We really enjoyed the Hue Animation Studio, and I think that the more we use it the more complex and better our films will become. Hue Animation Studio has an RRP £79.95 but I noticed that you can purchase it directly from their website here at a reduced price of £49.95 which I would say is a great price.

 

Disclaimer we were sent this product for the purpose of review, the opinions remain ours and have not been altered.

 

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians

Zavvi sent us Disney’s 101 Dalmatians on DVD to watch over the Christmas break so last week we settled down on a wet and windy Sunday with our popcorn to watch this classic animation. The boy is familiar with some of  the characters from this film as I guess we all are but he has never watched the film, so it was interesting to see what he thought.

101 Dalmatians is a story of a Pongo and his hunt to find his owner Roger a wife. Pongo meets Perdita another Dalmatian and together they get their owners Roger and Anita to fall in love. Soon the family has grown in number 15 to be exact and life couldn’t be better. We all know that they soon attract the attention of the evil villain Cruella de vil and her hench men who kidnap the dogs. 101 Dalmatians is a fun if a little dark at time film and a classic from my childhood. The story of course has a happy ending as well as the memorable songs.

We love all things Disney in the soup dragon house and this film is no exception. The boy liked and is happy as he has his very own dalmatian slippers which Bingo Granny bought him for christmas, so now they are named after the characters from the film.

Zavvi have lots of classic DVD’s as well as some great Disney steelbooks on their website many on offer, so why not have a look and see if there is a film to entertain you on a wet Sunday evening!

Disclaimer we were sent a copy of this DVD to review and keep the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

Walkers Might Lights

We had lots of fun making our Walkers Mighty Light video at the weekend, so much so that when I asked the boy what he wanted to do on his last day before going back to school he said “can we make another crisp video?” followed by one of those whiney Pleeeeeeeeeeseeeee kind of noises!

So here is video number 2, Crisp football

Ok, so if you feel inspired to get your little ones into animation is was all very simple.

You will need:
A camera, it doesn’t need to be fancy and a tripod if you have one, but you could sit the camera on a box, just make sure it stays still while taking your shots.
Blue tack or similar, useful for making things stand up and stay where you put them.
Your subjects, we used crisps with ooglie eyes glued to them.
Background and props, the boy enjoyed making advertising hoardings, can you tell his favourite companies?

We found it is worth having everything ready before you start filming, and we had a story worked out as well. You will need to have an idea in your head of how to start and end your story and will need to move your characters about 10cm each time you take a picture. We found moving the other characters as well as your key subject helped to give the film a living feel.

It really was easier than we thought and the film part only took about 20 minutes and 90 pictures later we had told our story. Now to edit these into a film. I use Microsoft Movie maker which you can download for free here. Once you have opened your software simply load all your pictures and I set them to view for 1/2 a second. We decided that we needed to add music rather than leaving the film silent, tracks can be found on royalty free websites.
Then simply press play!
It really is as simple as that, the boy had great fun, and wants to make some more, so watch this space you never know what we might be sticking eyes on next!

Epic, a wet half term day family film

Today turned out to be very wet, not like the weather at the weekend which had made us feel like summer was here. So there was only one thing to do, go to the cinema. The boy had told me that Epic looked like a good film, and I had seem a trailer somewhere and thought it looked worth a full price ticket (we usually only go on a Saturday to kids £1 cinema) So I booked online with my local Cineworld. This is so easy to do, and you even get 10% discount, plus when you arrive you know you will get in and you don’t have to stand in the queue to collect tickets. We arrived grabbed our tickets and went to find seats. I find it difficult to watch the 3D films for long, and don’t want to strain the boys eyes so had booked the 2D version of the film. It was very busy I guess in part because it was wet weather.

The film is set deep in a forest, and has a second family story running through it. If you like Lord of the Rings and fairy’s then this is the story for you. The footage although animated could be real, and I would imagine is very impressive in 3D with lots of great action and thrilling overhead shots. Epic is from the makers of ICE AGE and RIO, and you can tell this from the style of some of the animated characters. You have a hero Nod and a heroine M.T. Two comedy stars in the form of a slug and a snail called Mub and Grub, along with the baddie Mandrake. The film was great from start to finish, and I didn’t hear a noise out of the boy. It is a great length as well not too long that the kids lose interest, or that you have to make a trip to the loo halfway through. The boy said it was good, I think it had enough action and fighting in it. Daddy thought it was good, and I liked the nice amount of humour that ran through it. There is love, passion, loss and danger so be prepared. I will say that like all good fairy stories it has a happy ending, and was truly and Epic way to spend a rainy half term holiday!

We give Epic 5/5

I will just add that the lady next to me had a small daughter who was terrified for most of the last half of the film as there are lots of battles, and I was surprised to find out after that this is rated U. I think if you have a child that can be a bit spooked by battle scenes then maybe wait for DVD, but boys will find it EPIC!

Wreck it Ralph

I was lucky enought to win tickets to see Disney’s new film Wreck it Ralph. We had to drive to Brighton’s odeon cinema, but thought we would make a day of it.
We arrived early so early the cinema wasn’t even open! But didn’t have to wait long.
As a family we have never seen a 3D film so we did get a bit excited, especially Dad.

The film is ok, I confess I was thinking it might have been exceptional. The boys thought it was great, and time didn’t drag. I loved the references to arcade games thatvi played in my teens, this went over the boys heads. They liked the guns and monsters. I think girls will like the heroine, so something for everyone.
The story is easy to follow lonely bad guy looking for a friend and some nice effects, although not as many as I expected.
I won’t give the plot away, but it all ends well.

I am glad I didn’t spend lots to see it but its still a nice film.

The film is out in cinemas from 8th feb…