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The Top 10 Best Filmmaking Apps for the iPhone


This handy guide is published courtesy of ActorsandCrew website, which means the apps featured have been tested by professionals and covers pretty much all aspects of filming on the iPhone





Movie Slate by PureBlend Software. (Cost: $4.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.1 or later)

Movie.Slate is a digital slate, clapper board, shot log, and shot notepad. designed for use with film, television, documentaries, interviews, and home movies. Movie.Slate provides an easy way to log footage and take notes as you shoot. saving you time later when you capture and edit the footage on your computer.

“Here’s a few highlights: It can log data from multiple productions, and export the data as Final Cut Pro XML files. It has a terrific interface for changing data on the fly. You can customize the hell out of it, including stick designs, colors, and fonts. You can save text, voice, and photo notes for each shot. You can rate the audio and video quality of each take. You can set markers within a shot to remember when something specific happened. And here.s a feature that knocked my socks off: You can wirelessly sync the running timecode of multiple iPhones running Movie*Slate over bluetooth. Now that.s just sick.”



Hitchcockby Cinemek inc (Cost: $19.99)

(iPhone, OS: 3.0 or later)

Cinemek® Hitchcock for iPhone and iPod Touch is a mobile storyboard and pre-visualization composer designed for Directors, Directors of Photography, Producers, Writers, Animators, Art Directors, film students and anyone who wants to be able to visualize their story.

“The price of Hitchcock is not for the novice. It.s $19.99. But, for broadcast and film professionals, it.s a drop in the bucket. Plus, there is NOTHIING else out there on the desktop that can compete with Hitchcock.s speed and ease of use. If you.re doing film or commercial work and you have an iPhone. You HAVE to buy this App or your competitors will. They will get the job because they were faster to visualize your idea. Hitchcock is a game-changer.”




pCamby David Eubank (Cost: $39.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.2.1or later)

A Motion Picture and Still Photography calculator for Directors of Photography, Photographers, Camera Operators, Camera Assistants, VFX Supervisors, Script Supervisors, Gaffers, Grips, Editors, Production Designers, Art Directors, Film and Photography Students. Created by the same Hollywood Camera Assistant who created the widely used Palm version.

“The mother of all lens calculators. Originally written for the old Palm Pilot, pCam has been updated for the iPhone with an intuitive graphical interface. It calculates depth of field, field of view, focus splits, hyperfocal distance, exposure compensation, running time, HMI safe speeds and shutters, color correction filters, diopter shift, macro, time lapse, underwater focus distance, illumination beam intensity, light coverage and even has a built-in Siemen.s Star focus chart.”


Action Log Pro

Andris Ltd (Cost: $29.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.0 or later)

Action Log is a film and television logging tool, designed for use on location or in a studio with up to 25 recording devices. At the touch of a button the logging system keeps track of all reel names and timecodes for each recorded piece of action.

“Entry of comments is quick and easy by constructing clip names from predefined lists and use of the inbuilt keyboard. All clips in a project can be emailed as ALE and XML files to overnight digitisers and editors for immediate ingestion. For those who like to edit with printed logs in hand, HTML formatted log sheets sorted by reel name, can also be forwarded. Supports up to 25 virtual recording devices.”





by Black Mana Studios. (Cost: $2.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 3.0 or later)

Black Mana Studios. Screenplay is the world.s first fully-functional mobile screenwriting application. It allows professionals and hobbyists alike to write complete movie and television screenplays directly on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

“Black Mana Studios is an official technology partner of Final Draft, Inc., creators of the industry-standard Final Draft Production Suite.”





by Audiofile Engineering. (Cost: $9.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 3.0 or later)

FiRe was created specifically to be a field recorder for the iPhone, not a voice or memo recorder. It is a truly professional recorder developed for audio professionals by audio professionals. It has many professional features other recorders don’t. In addition to supporting stereo recording, it.s the first iPhone recorder to display an accurate audio waveform in real time, and the first to support markers, Broadcast WAVE metadata, and the instant downloading of files in multiple file formats. FiRe is also the first recorder of its kind to offer native SoundCloud integration.

“Excellent quality and design. Some real thought went in to this one. When I don’t have my Zoom H2 handy, this is my field recorder.”





by Michael Zinman. (Cost: $19.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 3.0 or later)

A photometric database and calculator with a vast array of the most popular lighting instruments for film and stage lighting. Need to know what an ARRI 10K fresnel lamp at 25. will deliver in beam spread and footcandles? The Gaffer.s best reference tool.

“Needs some updates for AARI specific stuff, but generally kicks total ass.”




Gel Swatch Library

by Wybron. (Cost: $9.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 3.0 or later)

Browse, search, and compare over 1,000 GAM, Lee, Apollo and Rosco gel colors with Wybron.s Gel Swatch Library. for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Gel Swatch Library gives you multiple ways to find the perfect color for your production. Scroll through lists of gels made by each manufacturer, or search for a specific gel name. Spectral Energy Distribution curves and CMY/RGB percentages listed for each color provide the vital data you need to create breathtaking scenes.

“This thing is amazing. No more fumbling around for a swatchbook in my bag. And now that it has Apollo, it’s perfect.”





by MyWeather, LLC. (Cost: $4.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 3.0 or later)

MyWeather Mobile is a feature rich weather application with animated looping radar and satellite, 36-hour temperature, precipitation and wind speed/direction graphs (USA only), 7-day forecasts, over 10,000 U.S. cities and now thousands of international cities. You can also rotate the phone horizontally to view FULL-SCREEN radar animation and 36 hour trend graphs (USA only).

“Sever weather push notifications definitely put this app on the top of the pile of paid weather apps. If the weather is mission critical, you should really get this.”



by Chemical Wedding. (Cost: $29.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 3.0 or later)

Artemis is a digital directors viewfinder for the iPhone. Designed with both cinematographers and directors in mind, Artemis works in much the same way as a traditional directors viewfinder, though much more accurately and much more conveniently. After selecting a camera format, aspect ratio and lens type, Artemis uses the camera in the iPhone to simulate the lens views you can expect when you come to shoot. You can either compare all the lenses (as above) or hit zoom and the camera will zoom in to fill the viewfinder with the equivalent view of the lens you.ve chosen.

“This app is exceptional. Thank you, Chemical Wedding, for taking this platform seriously.”


Ridley Scott to Direct New Blade Runner Film

Thirty years on it will be interesting to see how the story is handled this time, although with no sequel from Richard K Dick to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep the studio, Alcon, will have to commission an original screenplay. “We are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction,” says Alcon who bought the rights. No pun intended I presume?

As a dark, dystopian flop it seemed, in 1982, that Blade Runner was a place its British director, Ridley Scott, should flee from and never return. As the years wore on, things changed. Rereleases – most significantly a director’s cut – saw it become a commercial success. Critics caught up with a growing army of fans, and it was hailed as a classic – a pioneer of neo-noir.

Inevitably, there followed calls for sequels, prequels and remakes. It had appeared that Scott was destined to resist, thereby disappointing those hankering to know more of Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, and Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer). But 30 years on, it seems as though Scott is finally ready to go back to Blade Runner.

The US production company Alcon Entertainment, which bought the rights to make a new film earlier this year, confirmed this week that Scott had agreed to be involved. “We are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction,” said producers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. “We are huge fans of Ridley’s and of the original Blade Runner. This is a once-in-a-lifetime project for us.”

Kosove told Reuters: “The idea was always to go right to Ridley and that’s exactly what we did.” He added that having Scott attached “gives people a level of comfort about how serious we are”.

Based on the 1968 Philip K Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, Blade Runner was not a box office or critical hit at the time but has gathered plaudits over the years. Negative critical opinion of the film was largely reversed with the arrival in 1992 of Scott’s own director’s cut, which excised the original theatrical release’s studio-commissioned Ford voiceover and a ham-fisted pegged-on “happy ending” denouement which the film-maker is said to have hated.

At 73, Scott is a Hollywood elder statesman and will no doubt have secured final cut as part of his deal to return as director. Alcon has not revealed whether the new Blade Runner will be a sequel or prequel to the original. Dick never wrote a sequel to the book, so Alcon will probably be aiming to produce an original story. Three follow-up novels by the writer’s friend, KW Jeter, were written between 1995 and 2000 to try to resolve some of the differences between Blade Runner and its source novel, but they were poorly received and are not widely read.

Ford appears unlikely to return in the new Blade Runner. Alcon makes no mention of him in its press release announcing Scott’s signing and in any case, his involvement would ruin the central enigma at the heart of the original film.

Set in an overpopulated future Los Angeles that never sees the sunlight, Scott’s movie is about a ”blade runner”, Rick Deckard (Ford) who is tasked with taking out a gang of replicants (android outlaws) who have escaped to Earth from an offworld colony. The film-maker left the audience to decide whether Deckard himself is in fact also a replicant.

The new film is unlikely to appear before 2013. Scott is also making Prometheus – which sees him return to the universe of his early sci-fi classic, Alien.

Notes from a Filmmaker: Lee Bailes on the iPhone 4

The Steadicam Smoothee in action
The Steadicam Smoothee in action

In the first of our series, Notes from a film-maker, Lee Bailes of Eibon Films gives an excellent insight into some of the pros and cons of filming on an iPhone 4

So a while back I got hold of an iPhone 4 deliberately to play with its HD filming capabilities; because I was dismayed at the utter lack of filming over the last 15 months of hell in my old job and also wanted to negate any excuses that I might have for the future: such as, I haven’t time to charge my video cameras up; I’ve run out of tape; I haven’t got my camera on me and am unable to capture this marvellous event happening in front of my eyes etc.

Especially now that I’ve changed jobs for the better and am in a much more saner plane of existence, my excuse pool is very much shallower.

I know that the quality of footage will never hold up next to a Semi-pro HDV Camcorder when you’re needing to be able to push the footage in post, as there’s so little visual information to play with in comparison. I also knew that there wasn’t going to be even half as much control over what I shot or the quality of the sound.

However, for quick ‘making of’s’ on set, for doing possible video blogs/podcasts, or capturing something worth sharing on the net that didn’t require the post polish, it was going to be a damn sight better than a Flip type camera.

It was the fact that you can now install the iMovie video editing app on it, and unlike any other phone out there to my knowledge you can film and edit and upload all from your mobile phone, that swung it for me and made me sign up to an exorbitant contract for pitiful data rates.

But like any cynical sod, I firstly wanted to fully research the workflow and conduct a few misguided experiments. I wasn’t going to rush out there like many did, just to be the first iPhone movie (shot and edited on the iPhone exclusively) on the net; although the day I picked up the phone I was instantly inspired to write a very easy to shoot low-budget comedy horror short — more news on that soon.

Anyway, so the phone itself isn’t the most ergonomically pleasing to hold and shoot with a steady hand. However there are some great cheap cases out there already.

There are also a choice of either iPad stand type cases and solutions for Tripod holders / mounts — to enable you to set it down on a safe surface and shoot a vibration / shake free scene. The latter is very useful when you might be a bit under the influence, or don’t want that fake Documentary Verite feel to shooting dramatic scenes.

The solution I went for is the iPhone 4 Tripod Holder — not a bad idea for $9 US. And it was delivered to me in a week! Great service. But if you want mobile shots — perhaps you want to check out the iPhone steadicam style stabilizers out there (sadly iPhone 4 ones not currently available).

Here’s a shonky demo I shot — just to test the tripod holder, practice the workflow and compare it to the iSight cam on my Macbook Pro, and see what the process was like to edit it in iMovie ’09 rather than using the FCP suite.

The sound isn’t bad (I was speaking very quietly… I’m shy) and the footage looks great — although it does tend to get pixelated very quickly (due to it being AVCHD and not true HD) if you allow iMovie ’09 to compress it — but for web delivery it’s fine; especially if all you’re going to do with it is capture someone mooning down the pub.

And if you pack a very small tripod — you could easily carry a tiny portable film studio with you in a backpack, along with all your other crap and not even notice the extra weight. Perfect for those always on the move and wanting to travel light.

I have heard of the ThinkGeek iPhone microphone — for those wanting to record better sound, perhaps shooting interviews etc. That shall be my next experiment — although other users have hinted at�more DIY adapter solutions such as using a Mini A/V Cable.

But what is all of this research in aid of? Well I hope to shoot a short flick next week — entirely with the iPhone 4 — that’s what. And for other fun projects the possibilities definitely outweigh the reasons not to have a go. And that’s nothing but good for a procrastinator like me.

Eibon Films is an independent film production company set up by Lee Bailes that specialises in making transgressive genre cinema

If you would like to contribute to smartmoviemaking.com, drop me an email @ tony.myers@smartmoviemaking.com

Edoardo Ballerini is an actor and a writer. He has appeared in over forty films and television series, including Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos and the indie hit Dinner Rush. He was last seen on Theater Row in New York in “Honey Brown Eyes.”You can reach Edoardo on Facebook or Twitter

Actors, What Kind of Success Do You Want?


In the span of two hours I was referred to as a “semi-celebrity,” and had a woman write me asking “Who are you?” (Why she bothered to write is entirely a mystery, but hey…) Still, it did illustrate the murky waters of notoriety actors can swim in. Somewhere circling amongst the “A-listers,” the “has beens,” and the “never should have beens” are the “aren’t you?… no, never minds.”

Between the Taping and the Viewing…


In the acting life, there is also a falling shadow, and it comes between the gig and the screening. Between the filming and the airing… Theater is different, of course, but for now let’s stick to the world of screens. After you walk off set for the last day, there’s a good chance you won’t see your work for months, if not even years, or if ever.

Reviews: To Read or Not to Read (h/t to @edoballerini)

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The Mindset Change of Social Media


I was recently interviewed for a blog and was asked about using social media for marketing a film. It really got me thinking about that question. Is that all most filmmakers see social media being used for? One big promotional effort only to be used when they are looking to sell something? I think within 10 years this will be a non issue as everyone will be adapted to social media. Those who have refused to start will be so left out it will be like the people who held out on rotary phones and terrestrial TV signals.

Using #Pinterest as a tool for your #Film #Marketing


Speaking of Pinterest…I only recently started using it for the Joffrey project which is why all of my boards are devoted to that. Looking at them gives a good idea on the kind of thing you could use it for on your production. In my workshop presentations, I talk about posting regularly on your social channels and not just information directly about your film, but also about the interests of your audience; those who would be a fan of your film and of yourself as an artist. I am using the boards to show Joffrey history through pictures and videos. The ballets they created, the ballets they revived, their alumni dancers, Robert Joffrey through the years as well as photos of the merchandise available to buy through our site. It’s a balance of audience interest and promotion for the film.

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