Friday, November 6, 2009

Is That a Slate in Your Pocket? - Smart Phone Apps for Filmmakers

You ever try to make a phone-call using your film slate? I’m sure you think that would be rather silly, but in today’s world of digital technology, why should anyone be surprised?

Amongst the over 100,000 iPhone applications available, there are now apps tailored specifically for the needs of filmmakers. The Zippo and Beer apps are important on set, sure, but now there is an ever-expanding selection of applications that can actually be practical to us.

For example: the slate. I have seen more than one low budget film using a makeshift slate, and I think every single set I have been on, someone cries “all eyes out for the dry-erase marker!” Well now your iPhone can be used as a slate with the Movie Slate App. At $9.99, it’s cheaper than the clunky original and saves you the running through pack after pack of double A’s.

The TapeMeasure. It’s use is pretty self-explanatory and it works by using the built in GPS. Useful for measuring in Meters or Yards, not inches though.

Or Gel Swatch Library. A made-for-video-lighting app that transforms your screen pixels into a small light, emitted in whatever standard gel color your cinematic eye desires. Sure, it might only be for tests and close-ups, but it still comes in pretty handy.

Also helpful for the low-budget filmmaker are the Calculators:

The Power Load Calculator (helps you calculate the load on a circuit so you can avoid blowing a fuse and keep a safer set), Depth of Field Calculator, TimeCode Calculator and the Film Rate Calculator, just to name a few. There is even a LightMeter that uses the camera to calculate perfect exposure!

A bunch of apps made for general use also happen to be particularly useful during production or pre-production.

Weather Underground or The Weather Channel apps, as well as the sunrise & sunset apps like Magic Hour can really help you plan your shoot for example, or any of several photo organizers to keep your stills in order.

There are always a million different tasks to do on set and it seems like more and more of them are now doable with a single device.

Follow Up Questions:
1. What iPhone apps do you find most useful on set?
2. And what type of filmmaking apps would you like to see in the future?
Leave a comment below!


Here's an even more comprehensive List of iPhone Filmmaking Apps courtesy of a comment by Samatha Halfton at the World Wide Angle Blog and written by Derrick Faw. Thanx for the tip!


Samantha Halfon said...
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Samantha Halfon said...

We have a nice list of iPhone apps for filmmakers on the World Wide Angle Blog, if you wish to check out a few more.