When cell phones first came into use, not many people had them and they were approximately the size of a brick.
These days cell phones are getting smaller and lighter and they do much more than just make phone calls and send text messages. Sure, one can use one’s iPhone to play Tetris, but moviemakers are more likely to be interested in the many useful apps they can use to track their film’s budget or calculate depth of field. Keeping in mind that MovieMaker readers like to be well-informed on all the latest tech tools, we’ve compiled a list of 25 essential apps for moviemakers who want to further their films “on the go.”
Actor Genie ($9.99) • Actor Genie provides its thespian users with info on films and television programs currently being cast. Also included is a directory of agents, managers and casting directors, as well as tips on how to build your acting career, like info on talented headshot photographers and reputable acting coaches.
Action Log Pro ($29.99) • This logging tool keeps track of reel names and timecodes. It’s designed for use with up to 25 cameras; you can log clips and then view, edit and delete them as necessary. The logs can then be exported as HTML files (for easy printing) or as Avid ALE or Final Cut Pro XML files, making coordination between the shoot and the edit room much simpler.
Artemis Director’s Viewfinder ($29.99) • With this app, directors and DPs can pick a camera format, aspect ratio and lens, then use their iPhone to see what the shot will look like when it comes time to hoist an actual camera onto his or her shoulder. With new updates, moviemakers can customize the app to test any camera format, just by plugging in a few numbers.
Aspect Calc ($0.99) • This app, helpful to those wishing to upload their video projects to the Web, lets moviemakers pick the correct source video pixel ratio to use when exporting video, even if (or especially if) they’re working with nonstandard sizes.
DOFMaster ($1.99) • A tool of outrageous practicality for DPs, DOFMaster calculates depth of field for whatever lens and f/stop permutations are being used. The app’s Website (dofmaster.com) also features a free Windows DOFMaster download for computers (you know, that thing that sits on your desk and charges your phone).
Doddle (FREE) • Acting as a 24/7 production guide, Doddle allows access to online production directories as well as information on producers, talent, caterers, equipment rentals and much more. It’s free to download, and free to advertise your services. Coming this summer is the Electronic Call Sheet, where producers can create and distribute call sheets using Doddle.
Film Budget (FREE) • Track the budgets (including the costs of props, locations and equipment) of three different projects at once with Film Budget. Simple—and indispensable—enough.
Film Calculator ($0.99) • A valuable tool for anyone shooting on a format (digital or film) for the first time, just plug in the format and watch the app calculate the hard drive storage you’ll need, using a stopwatch that counts both time and length for anyone overwhelmed by script supervising duties and converting between length and time for many different film stocks and speeds.
Filmfest (FREE) • We all love film festivals. So any app that lets you look at a fest’s schedule, get info on the programmed films and even locate festival venues has to be worth checking out. The app is relatively new, but will allow users to access information on more festivals as time goes on.
FiRe – Field Recorder ($9.99) • FiRe bills itself as “the ultimate field recorder for iPhone,” and reviews seem to confirm that. It records in mono and stereo and is the first iPhone recorder to support audio markers, so a moviemaker never loses his or her place.
FPS Calculate ($0.99) • FPS Calculate allows animators and 3-D artists to convert a time span into a frame count (you can choose 24, 25 or 30 frames per second, or choose a custom frame rate) and vice versa. It also features a digital stopwatch, called the Animation Timer, that tallies frame counts.
Helios Sun Position Calculator ($29.99) • Wherever you are, this app will predict the position of the sun for any given time—perfect for DPs working with natural light. You can find out the expected direction of the sunlight at your exact location, as well as the proportionate length of shadows at any point during the day. It even works without a network connection.
Hukilau Slate (FREE) • Hukilau turns Apple’s gadget du jour, the iPad, into a functioning film slate. Moviemakers can type in the production title, scene name and take numbers, then shake for a digital clapping sound. Technology! Planned future updates include an LED clock and other improvements.
iMotion ($0.99) • iMotion uses the iPhone’s built-in camera to capture and generate an animation from up to 1,000 pictures. You can then save, edit and e-mail your animation (just in case you harbor stop motion aspirations of making Coraline 2 for less than $1).
iSee4K (FREE) • iSee4k’s five calculators let DPs pull focus and frame their shots, all without having to consult manuals or ask an assistant for help. Though specifically developed for use with the RED camera, the app can be used to calculate depth of field and dimensional field of view for many other cameras and lenses, too.
KODAK Cinema Tools (FREE) • There are several parts to this app; you can calculate depth of field to determine the necessary settings to get a particular focus and can also contact a Kodak representative online. The app also features a film calculator, so you can figure out the running time you have with a variety of different film formats.
MatchLens ($9.99) • This app takes two cameras with different focal lengths and calculates the settings needed for both cameras to produce the same field of view. It works with film or video cameras (16mm, 35mm and HD video formats are supported) and still cameras as well.
Movie*Slate ($9.99) • As the name indicates, this app is a digital slate—but it does quite a bit more than your physical clapperboard. Easily customizable, Movie*Slate allows you to set time code and write or record shot notes; it also stores shot data into a shot log history, where you can rate and sort your shots, making life easier for your post team later on.
MyWeather Mobile ($1.99) • This app isn’t specifically for moviemakers. Still, it never hurts to know if there’s, say, an avalanche warning in effect the day before you’re due to shoot a pivotal mountainside love scene on skis. The app includes radar and satellite maps and seven-day forecasts for more than 10,000 U.S. cities, as well as precipitation and wind graphs.
Plastic Bullet ($1.99) • Just take a picture and this app will provide you with random variations on the original photo. The program was created by Stu Maschwitz, creator of the Magic Bullet visual effects products and visual effects supervisor for Sin City, so you know you’ll get eye-catching results.
PocketLD ($19.99) • PocketLD is a useful photometric database and calculation tool for any lighting professional who wants to calculate beam/field diameter and footcandle/lux, just by inputting throw distance and what type of fixtures and lamps are being used. You can even keep track of your favorite of the more than 1,000 fixture/lamp combinations available, and create your own fixtures, too.
Reel Director ($3.99) • This editing app features a drag-and-drop timeline, transition effects and watermarks. It also lets you record voiceover and import your own music from a computer—whether you’re simply working on a temp version of a scene you’ll complete in Final Cut Pro later on or going the decidedly inexpensive route.
Save the Cat! ($19.99) • With this app version of the Save the Cat Story Structure Software (branched off of Blake Snyder’s book with the same title), you can carry your story ideas around with you, so when an idea hits at the grocery store, you’ll have everything you need to start writing.
Scripts Pro ($5.99) • Write your script, import pages you’ve already worked on and preview the finished product with Scripts Pro. There’s also a free version called “Scripts,” featuring all the same functionality, save the ability to import, export and e-mail your masterpiece.
Storyboard Composer ($19.99) • This app, formerly known as Hitchcock, lets you take pictures with your iPhone and create a digital storyboard, including notes on dolly moves, tracking shots and more. You can also set the duration for a shot so that when you play your storyboard back, you’ll be able to see if your pacing works. MM