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Swap your Director’s Viewfinder for a Smartphone App

Danny Greer

If you’re still stuck in the past using a traditional director’s viewfinder it’s time to step up your game with a smartphone app.

Cameras and Equipment

Historically, film directors have used physical viewfinders to frame their shots with the correct aspect ratio, camera format and focal length. When shooting and location scouting these tools can save time in shot preparation without setting up the camera. Unfortunately though, these director’s viewfinders can be prohibitively expensive (the popular Alan Gordon Mark V will set you back nearly $700).

For the uninitiated, NoFilmSchool’s done a rundown on “What is a Director’s Viewfinder and Why You Need One?”

Now, digital viewfinders are taking the place of their more traditional counterparts. For the last few years, Artemis has led the way in the ‘smartphone as a viewfinder’ technology. The app will simulate different lens and camera combinations using the phone’s camera. Use the app on-set to frame your shots or take stills to create a storyboard. It’s available for iOS and Android for $29.99.

Artemis App

This week a new player entered the ring with Cadrage, a viewfinder app from mobile developer distantblue. Available in both Android and iPhone versions, Cadrage has a large database of professional film/photo camera formats and lenses. Early reviews of the app are positive and it’s currently available for $10.99. Get more info here.

Cadrage App

Are you using a director’s viewfinder? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below!