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My Favorite Filmmaking Apps

By Devin Forbes

Though filmmaking has survived a hundred years or so without smartphones, there are a number of low cost or even free apps available that can make your life on set a whole lot easier. From depth of field calculators to magic hour alarms, these iOS apps are a serious must-have.

1. Digital DoF

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This is the one that I use the most. Being able to quickly gauge how deep my focus is for a given focal length and aperture is invaluable, and makes sure I’m ready for a tough shot.

2. Sun Scout

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Yet another app I use frequently. Yes, it isn’t one of the most accurate options out there, but other similar apps are usually more expensive or don’t provide the camera overlay the way that Sun Scout does.

3. theGripApp

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If you are new to filmmaking and aren’t super familiar with the weird equipment lingo (“What in the world is a Buttplug?), then this is a great cheat sheet. That being said, it hasn’t been updated since 2013, so it is increasingly out of date.

4. Magic Hour

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A pretty self explanatory app – it lets you know when magic hour is for a particular location and date. You can even set alarms to warn you when it starts. This is very helpful when you are running around getting set up and want to make sure you don’t get distracted and waste precious minutes of golden hour.

5. Kodak Cinema Tools

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Kodak has put together a great collection of tools for filmmakers, such as a sun calculator, depth of field calculator, film run time calculator, and other film specific resources. Particularly useful if you want to minimize the number of apps on your phone.

6. Panascout

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Panascout is a director’s viewfinder, with a wide range of data readouts to help you plan your shoot down to every last detail.

7. Shot Designer

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For the extremely prepared, there is Shot Designer, which allows you to create camera diagrams with your shot list and storyboards attached.

8. VFX Screens

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Very useful for shooting app explainer videos, this allows you to overlay a customizable greenscreen on your phone’s display. I have used this many times.

9. CamScanner

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CamScanner isn’t exactly a film-specific app, but it has proven to be very useful over the years for me. I can easily photograph a document with my phone and email it as a PDF to someone. Awesome!

I hope you liked my choices! If you have an app you really like that I didn’t mention, comment it below!

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