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. Available for iPhone for $4.99. 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. Check out the Shot Lister app on iOS for $13.99. 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. Check out pCam Film + Digital Pro app on iOS for $29.99. 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. Check out Room Scan on iOS for $4.99. 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. Check out the Grip App for iOS for $7.99. 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. Check out the Light Meter app for iOS for free. 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: Check out the JumpStart LTC on iOS for $19.99. 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.Read more
by Darya Danesh | 2nd November 2015
This is a guest article by Darya Danesh from StudioBinder. Production is not for the faint of heart. Long hours, physical strain, and emotional exhaustion are part of the job. Stress can bring out the worst in people, and when you have to work with difficult personalities on set, a production can can go south quickly. So what’s the best way to work with challenging people on set? We asked Angela Tortu, a seasoned assistant director who has worked on a wide array of productions, from big budget features like Crimson Tide to shows like Entourage and Scrubs, how she sidesteps potential issues on set. 1. Look for opportunities to build trust Oftentimes, “difficult” people simply want to know that their concerns are being heard. When a problem does arise, take a breath, and give them a chance to express their side of the story. This is usually enough to turn the situation around. Angela Tortu recalls a tense experience with Sharon Stone in regards to blocking: “I noticed that Sharon was getting frustrated, and preparing herself for a big battle. She huffed, ‘I’m not going to do that. I need a stunt double.’ Rather than forcing the issue, I just replied ‘That’s not a problem at all. Do you have a preferred stunt double? I’ll be happy to call her.’ Sharon was surprised that I didn’t push back at all. With a softer tone she replied, “Really? Okay. Great!” The following day she came in with an upbeat attitude, and requested to speak directly with me for the remainder of the shoot.” According to Tortu, one of the most important building blocks for trust is to make a sincere and proactive effort to listen to the concerns rather than letting them fester. Do this and you’ll be seen as someone who “gets it.” 2. There’s no magic bullet, so find creative solutions This is a people-oriented business, and people are different. A solution that may work for one person may not work for another, so make it a habit to identify solutions that fit the situation and the individual. For example, if your lead actor is chronically late to set but sensitive about the topic, forego the discussion altogether and try making their call time earlier. Tortu recalls an experience on set of a commercial where one of the leads, a 5 year-old girl, refused to exit her trailer. “No matter what we said or did, she just wouldn’t come out. So finally, we decided to bribe her with toys and candy. After a few minutes, she finally stepped out. It might seem a bit silly, but it worked for that situation.” 3. Don’t make a scene when someone messes up Every job on set is important, and all positions deserve respect. However, as tensions escalate, some people may blow off steam in public (we’re looking at you, Christian Bale). Whatever you do, don’t allow anyone, especially yourself, to have a meltdown on set. Not only does it make everyone uncomfortable, but it destroys hard-earned good will. “When somebody is chronically difficult or makes a serious mistake on set, never make a scene of it. No one should ever be treated like a piñata, and broken in front others,” says Tortu. Instead, pull the person aside and engage in a private conversation one-on-one. If the issue turns out to be chronic, get the producer involved. Difficult situations come with the job. When in doubt, listen, be kind and tailor your solutions to the individual’s needs. Do that and you’ll be well on your way building a positive culture on set. Darya Danesh is Co-founder and Content Director at StudioBinder. This blog post originally appeared on StudioBinder’s blog.Read more
Some people said I’m reporting too much about expensive gear. And they might be right. We’re indie filmmakers and we want to get our no budget movies done before we win that lottery fortune. So here’s something affordable: In fact this (“recertified”) monitor by not so well known company Haier costs less than a parking ticket, less than the articulating arm that could support it, and certainly much less than all we’ve spent on fighting malware this year. It might be one of those products that has a lifespan of “out of the box and right into the trashcan”, but if we look at the user reviews (“Not the best, but not horrible.”) on the seller’s page, it could be more useful than we think. Who has ideas for applications for this device? It offers a “high resolution display” which I guess is something between 320×240 and 640×480 and has a built in battery. 90 days warranty. Oh yes, it’s $25 [UPDATE]: Sold out on Newegg, get it on Amazon for 50 bucks via NextWaveDVRead more
Remember the Rolling Shutter plugin by British Software company The Foundry? I guess the name speaks for itself. Well apparently they have something new for DSLR people in the works. Their new stand alone application STORM has been a very useful on set tool for RED shooters since March. By mid 2011 this software will support all Canon HDSLR cameras and give us some handy features like timecode, organisation, tagging, basic grading, even editing and then edl (universal editing format to save stuff) to Final Cut etc… Very good on set workflow. Will they have Rolling Shutter implemented? I don’t know, but that would be cool. You can check out the 15 day free Trial on their website. The application costs $375Read more
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