6 Filmmaker Apps You Need to Have

Posted on: Apr 21, 2023

A film director on set with a green screen and cameras using a filmmaker app on his phone.Photo courtesy of Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com

By Staff Me Up

Let’s be honest, in this field we are obsessed with amazing cameras, new lighting technologies and sound equipment that would blow your mind. That said, app creators and industry professionals alike have teamed up to create hundreds, if not thousands, of mobile apps for filmmakers today to help them work as efficiently as possible. Whether you’re a PA that needs to organize their releases, an AC that wants to make sure their GoPro was rigged up properly, or a director that wants to get their shot list together, you’re going to want to get in on these apps— stat!

1. PhotoPills

Looking to plan out your perfect shot for your Wild West-themed commercial? PhotoPills is a photography or film planning app that helps you visualize sun, moon and Milky Way positioning and path wherever you are or are planning to be. PhotoPills lets you calculate equivalent exposures with filters in low light and at night, and also provides all your solar and lunar info on demand. That way you can lock in that shot of your cowboy riding off into the sunset after a job well done.

2. Kodak Cinema Tools

This app has something for everyone that uses celluloid film in their projects. With its Film Calculator feature, you’ll know exactly how much run time you have left for your project, regardless of which format you’re using (including Super 8, 16, 35 and 65 mm). Take the guesswork out of the equation with the Depth of Field Calculator. Discover what the TRT is by just entering in the specifics, and Kodak Cinema Tools will calculate it for you. You can even learn your filmmaker lingo with the app’s glossary of terms.

3. GoPro Quik

Filming some B-Roll around town? Want to make sure your shot looks good? Well, unless you’re on the roof with the GoPro, you should probably get this app. GoPro Quik gives you remote control of all the camera functions to help you frame shots, record from a distance and more. Take photos, start or stop a recording, adjust settings, and see what the camera sees with live preview to ensure that your B-Roll looks great from the get-go. When you’re done filming, play back your photos and videos for self-inspection, and if you’re happy with what you’ve got, share your favorites via email or on your social channels—all from your phone!

4. Shot Designer

Shot Designer lets you create a full-blown camera diagram in seconds. The animation feature shows you how a scene will play out to show the crew. While these diagrams are being made, Shot Designer will be auto-creating the shot list! The app also allows you to bring in lens-accurate camera angles with a director’s viewfinder integration, and contains an integrated lighting designer for DPs. Shot Designer comes with a MAC/PC version so you can see your work on your computer when you get home from set.

5. Crew Call (iOS exclusive)

Created by Bradley Andrew, a freelance DIT from Melbourne, Australia, Crew Call helps you manage your time on-set in a variety of ways. Start by adding your work days or work week in advance, where you’ll log multiple pre, shoot and post days. Then add your call times, wrap times, travel times and meal breaks, the equipment used each day, and even camera wrap and drive away times. Crew Call lets you set up jobs of any length you see fit, which you can adjust as needed. You can even generate timesheets for yourself, or an entire department if you’re tasked with logging this info.

Crew Call can also generate reports and can automatically estimate your earnings based on your hours and overtime. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this app can do. As a bonus, the jobs and work days you’ll create are stored on a secure, local database on your iPhone, ensuring that your personal information is safe.

6. MovieSlate (iOS exclusive)

Lost your dry erase marker or clapper board? With MovieSlate, you will no longer need it! The self-proclaimed “Rolls-Royce of slates” is an AC’s best friend. You can log footage, take notes as you shoot, set timecodes and even wirelessly sync your timecodes to compatible cameras, sound recorders, LTC generators and more! MovieSlate also has optional in-app plugins for purchase. These include the Reality MultiCam, where you can log data and shot notes for up to 26 cameras, and Sound Dept, where sound mixers can log all sound department metadata and quickly generate reports.

These mobile apps are amazing investments that will not only make your day easier, but will totally impress your supervisor. Know of any amazing filmmaker apps that we might have missed? Tell us about your personal favorites on our social channels.

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