Film production can be a gruelling task. Pre-production, on-set, in the studio; all environments have 100s of challenges unique to there own. Anything that can streamline a certain task is worth knowing about. Here are 10 great filmmaking apps that will help you along the way.
I recently read a great article on Premium Beat, with exactly the same premise as the one I type now. I’ve taken a few and added some more of my own to bring you 10 great filmmaker apps you (the Producer, DOP, Director, AC, Editor) should own.
I’ve found apps to help mostly during pre-production, as this is where there are a lot of theoretical based calculations (space, budget, angles). Production is very much focused on actual operation (for me as a cameraman anyway), but many of these apply to different point of the project, starting with number
1. Digital Cinema Pocket Guides
The cheat sheet of modern cinema cameras. Digital Cinema Pocket Guides offers the hard facts and features of 30 camera systems delivered in a concise tablet/smartphone display and even a single fold out print.
It bypasses the usual jargon found in manufacturers manuals that’s mostly filled with laymen’s warnings like not to eat the batteries.
The app updates alongside cameras firmware and features support for popular systems by Arri, Sony, Canon and Panasonic.
Compatible with iOS, OSX, Android, and Windows devices, guides are $0.99 each or the lot for $14.85. Check them out here.
2. Cameras + Formats
I wrote a news feature article on this app when it was first released under the name of ‘Formats’. Cameras + Formats features a long list of popular cameras disclosing information such as lens mounts, sensor size, native ISOs and recording codecs.
More than just a library, Cameras + Formats offers a very easy to use calculator to quickly determine how much data a given camera codec will produce, under various settings.
What I love about the calculator is you can approach it from a few different angles.
Whether you know your camera and want to know how many cards you’ll need or an editor who wants to work out how much space his hard drives can handle, Cameras + Formats makes it quick and easy to make the calculations.
Much like the cameras catalogue, the app features a long list of Formats stating specifications like colour space, bit depth and chroma sampling.
3. Sun Seeker
On a reccy and think to yourself “I hope the light is like this for the shoot day”? With Sun Seeker you don’t have to guess, A neat 3D View gives you a live view of where there suns arc will be at any given point.
With Sun Seeker you’ll know exactly where the light is coming from so can plan your shots out accordingly.
Further more if you’re months ahead of your shoot you can even input the date at which you’ll be require to see an accurate projection of the suns movements.
Check out Sun Seeker on iOS for $9.99. Available on Android too.
4. Shot Lister
Here’s a good app for getting you organized. With Shot Lister you can develop a comprehensive shot list and add this to your schedule, upload scripts and get deep in production notes with reference to lighting and required camera kit.
A nice feature is that you can sync your schedule with your crew (providing they also have the app) to ensure everyone is running on time.
5. Artemis Director’s Viewfinder
Here’s a nice little app that gives you accurate focal length markings to determine your desired focal length.
Use the camera function through the Artemis app and overlays display each what any given focal length will provide.
Roger Deakins likes it:
“It’s great having Artemis on my iPhone. Since I always have my phone with me, I always have a viewfinder at hand. Not only convenient but extremely accurate.”
Check out the Artemis Director’s Viewfinder app on iOs for $29.99. Available on Android too.
6. pCam Film + Digital Pro
If you want to take filmmaking apps a step to the next level, check out the pCam Film + Digital Pro app.
With an Emmy award for engineering under its digital belt, the pCam Film + Digital Pro offers a plethora of features: Depth of Field, Field of View and Angle of View calculator, Sensor Sizes, Focal Length Matching, Exposure, Shooting to Screen Time, HMI Flicker-Free, Color Correction, Diopter, Time Lapse, Underwater Distance, Beam Intensity, Light Coverage, Conversion Calculator, Insert Slate, Focus Chart the list goes on.
7. Room Scan
Here’s an app I find really useful in pre-production and one of my personal favourites. Room Scan enables you to quickly map the size and space of a location, providing you with invaluable information when considering camera setups, green rooms, set builds etc.
Input some quick information on your location then pace around the room, touching each wall with your smartphone as you walk. The result is a mapped plan with measurements of the space.
8. The Grip App
Here’s another great catalogue app. The Grip App features a wide selection of camera grip ranging from dolly systems to C stands providing useful information on maximum and minimum heights, payloads etc.
It’s easy to over spec or simply go with what you know when it comes to grip. Sometimes the solution is one that you have never thought of. The Grip App offers a good platform for researching exactly what you need.
9. Light Meter
The Pocket Light Meter app is great for ball parking your camera exposure settings. The app accesses your devices camera and displays colour temperature, shutter, aperture and ISO of any given scene. You can input your desired settings and the app will tell you whether you’re over or under exposed.
It’s pretty accurate, I wouldn’t take read outs as gospel but I’ve found it great in past for getting an idea of how ambient light at a location will impact native ISOs for example. The white balance kelvin calculator is also handy.
10. JumpStart LTC
There’s lot of clapperboard apps out there, but this one is great as with a little bit of hardware you can sync up any timecode in/out enabled camera.
Here’s Abelcine to show you how it works:
These are just a few great apps to make you a more productive filmmaker. There are so many others out there, if you have a good ones yourself please share with us in the comments below.