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8 Must-Have Cinematography Apps

Michael Maher

These cinematography apps have all the tools a DP needs on set. From camera guides to data calculators, use these tools to make your cinematography absolutely stunning.

Every cinematographer needs quick reference guides handy for every shoot. With all the camera options, you may forget which menu has the features you are looking for. Maybe you need to calculate exactly where the sun will be on set. With these cinematography apps, you’ll have the tools you need to pull of amazing shots.

1. Digital Cinema Pocket Guides

Black and Blue Pocket Guides

The Digital Cinema Pocket Guides from The Black and Blue are some of the best tools you can have in your DP arsenal. Any cinematographer can quickly fly through these guides to help them find that obscure menu they can’t find. There are guides for 30 different cameras. You can download them to your phone or tablet, or print them to keep on set.

These camera guides are designed for camera operators with an easy-to-read layout. This allows you to quickly find what you need so you can get back to shooting.

Compatible with iOS, OSX, Android, and Windows devices. Also compatible with paper, because you can print them.  The guides are $0.99 each, or you can buy the entire bundle for half the price at $14.85.

2. Artemis Director’s Viewfinder

Artemis ViewFinder App

Artemis Director’s Viewfinder from Chemical Wedding is an awesome cinematography app that allows you to replicate the viewfinder of any camera. This app is great for blocking, location scouting, and even making storyboards. The app is even used by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC.

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. – Roger Deakins

Requires Android or iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Available in the App Store for $29.99 and Play Store for $29.99.

3. pCam Film + Digital Pro

pCAM

pCam Film + Digital Pro from Thin Man is one of the most-praised apps in the industry. In fact, the app won an Emmy for Engineering. The app was originally created in 1998 for the Palm PDA. Before you are turned off by the price, know that this is seriously a beast of an app. Even the reviews are phenomenal.

The app includes: Depth of Field, Field of View, Angle of View, 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, and so much more. This app has almost everything you need.

Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Available in the App Store for $29.99.

4. AJA DataCalc

AJA DataCalc

AJA DataCalc by AJA Video Systems allows you to put in your camera settings to calculate the storage requirements needed. You can enter the time you need in days, hour, seconds, or even down to number of frames. Then by putting in the type of format you are shooting on (RAW, ProRes, Etc.) and the resolution (720, 1080, 4K) the calculator will determine how many GB or TB of storage you will need.

Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Available in the App Store for FREE.

5. Helios Sun and Moon Position Calculator

Helios

Helios Sun and Moon Position Calculator by Chemical Wedding is a solid Sun and Moon position calculator that recently got a great update. The app even works without a network connection. There are tons of sun calculators out there, but this is one of the best.

The app has 7 modes to track the sun:

  • HelioMeter – representing the direction of the sun on a compass dial, also indicating elevation and shadow length.
  • Virtual Sun View – showing the sun’s path overlaid onto the live camera image
  • Sun Path view which shows the path of the sun the old-fashioned way
  • Map View – showing the direction of the sun overlaid onto a map of the location
  • Sky View – a representation of the sun’s path across the sky
  • Inclinometer- determines at which times the sun will be at a certain elevation.
  • Compass – showing the azimuth of the sun in both degrees and time of day

Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Available in the App Store for $29.99.

6. Shot Lister

Shot List

Shot Lister from Reel Apps is a professional shot list and scheduling app. With the Pro version, you can upload a script and start breaking down shots, even adding storyboards to each shot. There’s the ability to categorize each shot to include the type of shot and the gear needed – lighting, lenses, and more. You can also schedule out your shoot and sync the app with your entire crew.

Requires iOS 7.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch. Available in the App Store for $13.99.

7. theGripApp

Grip App

theGripApp by Darcy Schlitt is the ultimate guide for all things related to the grip department. As cinematographer, you’ll need to direct the grip department to set up all of their gear to your needs. This app will give you a breakdown of all sorts of grip terms and tools.

Requires iOS 7.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Available in the App Store for $7.99.

8. Google Street View

Google Street View

Not only is Google Street View great for finding locations, you can now create 360-degree panoramas. You can scout and visit locations, take a 360-photo, and the app will index your photo and location.

If you need to show off the location to the director, simply pull up the app and use your phone to turn around 360-degrees. The app is also compatible with Google Cardboard, giving you instant virtual-reality locations. The app also features other user’s photos, so your location scouting can also be done from the comfort of your desk.

Compatible with iOS, OSX, Android. Available in the App Store and Google Play Store for FREE.


Use any great apps we left off this list? Let us know in the comments below.

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