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In real time: FlickerLab takes live animation to the next level

Using its entire suite of live-animation capabilities, including Cartoon Broadcast System, which allows multi-cam animation to be produced the same day it airs, the New York-based studio has launched MAKEngine (Mobile Animation Kinetics Engine), a unique user-generated animation tool.
August 14, 2014

With today’s tech-savvy SVOD-gobbling kids, who are more connected than ever, it’s becoming increasingly advantageous for content creators to develop properties that are fully compatible across all platforms. Arguably, no one knows this better than Manhattan-headquartered technology and educational content studio FlickerLab.

Always watching for efficient solutions to keep pace with evolving industry trends, the company has found a significant level of success over the last five years with its proprietary live-animation tool, the Cartoon Broadcast System (invented in 1996 and acquired by FlickerLab in 2009). CBS allows multi-camera animation to be produced the same day it airs at a much lower cost than traditional broadcast animation—less than US$1,000 per finished minute of animation in some cases. FlickerLab is now moving live animation to the next level. Using its entire suite of live-animation capabilities, including CBS, the studio has launched MAKEngine (Mobile Animation Kinetics Engine), a unique user-generated animation tool.

MAKEngine lets anyone from kids to professionals create any style of full-sound animation on any mobile device in a matter of seconds. (CBS places animation elements, such as backgrounds, characters and effects onto a timeline, and the sound—featuring live performers or pre-recorded tracks—is synced automatically for output directly to broadcast, tape or digital video file.) The inexpensive, small-file size content can be played back immediately or uploaded to a server to be shared and curated.

According to FlickerLab founder Harold Moss, the MAKEngine recorder can be used on any platform as a stand-alone app or integrated into existing iOS, Android or web apps. “We’ve created an entire cross-platform ecosystem,” says Moss. “Its applications include performable eBooks, updatable animation and live-animated avatars. The same system could also be used to put animation onto a YouTube channel.”

He notes that MAKEngine was first created for use in FlickerLab’s upcoming Animgram app for iOS, Android and the web that will be released in the US in September.

Animgram is touted as the world’s first animated messaging and social media app. Along with enabling users to send text and pictures, it will let them send Animojis (short full-sound cartoons) and Animgrams (fully customizable animated characters).

“For the app, we’re also reaching out to independent animators and designers that have some great characters. We’re prepared to offer them revenue-sharing deals for original content that could then be developed explicitly for Animgram,” says Moss.

In related FlickerLab news, the company is currently producing the final episodes of its health-focused animated web series How the Body Works with Chloe and the Nurb for children’s wellness site Kidshealth.org. According to Moss, there is still talk of a possible spinoff series for TV.

This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of Kidscreen 

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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