Lego and Steven Spielberg "MovieMaker set

However, the best thing this kit contains is the PC camera and software that turn it into a budding director's workshop. The camera is a standard small Web cam, equipped with a USB cable of generous length to permit convenient use, and cased in an exterior that interlocks with standard Lego blocks. The software is a simple video editing application that can cut and splice scenes, and edit soundtracks.

The most important characteristic of the software is its ability to perform stop-motion animation. By taking a series of pictures, and moving the Lego models just a little between each one, kids can easily make their own animated films. It's easy to understand the technique, and Lego provides a well-illustrated instruction book.

The theme of the kit doesn't limit imaginative exploration. The components are compatible with hundreds of other Lego parts and, of course, the camera can be used to animate other objects as well. With some inspiration and a little patience, any bunch of toys or household objects has the potential to become a junior Kubrick's masterpiece.

The software incorporates three major functions - filming, editing and viewing. While it doesn't have the sophistication of "serious" video editors, it does allow stop- and full-motion video recording, sound recording, importing pictures and sounds from other sources, synchronisation of sound, and a range of basic scene transitions. There's plenty here to keep a creative child, or a young-at-heart adult, busy for many hours.

Lego & Steven Spielberg "MovieMaker Set

Price: $299

Supplier: Lego

Phone: (02) 9428 9666

URL: www.lego.com/studios

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