iPhone Apps For Lighting Professionals

September 16, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 10 Comments
Filed under: Computing, Equipment, Internet, Lighting 

apple lights

I came across several applications for lighting professionals while researching our recent post iPhone Apps For Filmmakers. Lighting engineers can enjoy a full array of sophisticated apps to assist in their work.

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PowerCalc by West Side Systems, LLC (Cost: $0.99)

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

PowerCalc performs basic electrical power calculations with watts, volts, amps, and motor power factor. More Info

Luminair (DMX Remote) by Synthe FX, LLC (Cost: $99.99)

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

Luminair enables you to wirelessly control, view, record and manage intelligent DMX lighting fixtures, consoles, media servers and other software directly from your iPhone or iPod touch. Using Artistic License’s Art-Net protocol over your device’s built-in Wi-Fi connection, Luminair communicates with other compatible hardware and software nodes on your network. A gorgeous user interface provides desktop-calibre features and performance, all on a mobile platform. Use Luminair as the ultimate remote focus tool, for advanced architectural lighting, or simply as the centerpiece of your intelligent lighting rig. Video Demo   

User Manual   
More Info

DMXCalc by West Side Systems, LLC (Cost: $0.99)

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

Entertainment lighting equipment uses a control system called DMX512. DMXCalc is a simple and elegant calculator which does address arithmetic for DMX equipment. More Info

DMXtoolSet by Holger Blümler (Cost: Free)

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

Most features and functions of this app require external hardware interface at docking connector. This hardware receives audio output signal that carries the DMX data. This works like a modem via FSK (frequency shift key). But the app also works without external hardware. In this case you can use the DIP-switch tool. It calculates DMX channels to DIP-switch settings. The DMX hardware interface may be purchased separately at hmb-tec.de or futuresoundfactory ebay shop.

iSwitch DMX by Michael Zinman (Cost: $4.99)

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

iSwitch DMX is an easy to use binary DIP switch utility for stage lighting electricians, technicians and programmers. Selecting a DMX address updates the DIP switch graphic with the correct DIP switch settings. You can also select an offset for your next DMX device to display the next subsequent address & DIP switch settings.

iSwitch by Michael Zinman (Cost: $4.99)

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

iSwitch is an intuitive binary DIP-Switch calculator for engineers, technicians and programmers. Selecting a Device address updates the DIP switch graphic with the correct DIP switch settings. You can also select an offset for your next device to display the next subsequent address & DIP switch settings.

Light Calc by Michael Kohler (Cost: $4.99)

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

Light Calc is a photometric calculation tool for professional lighting designers and theatrical electricians. It allows you to carry a pocket database of commonly used theatrical lighting fixtures that you can quickly access in the field. Light Calc allows a user to select a type of lighting fixture, choose one of several lamp types, and set a throw distance. The calculator will then return a beam diameter and field diameter, in feet, as well as center field illumination, in footcandles.

Light Calc Lite by Michael Kohler (Cost: Free)

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

Light Calc Lite is a simple beam calculator application for Lighting Professionals. Simply enter a beam angle or a field angle and a throw distance to calculate the expected diameter.

PocketLD by Michael Zinman (Cost: $19.99)

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

PocketLD is a photometric database and calculation tool for theatrical and TV/Film lighting professionals. Simply enter your throw distance, than select manufacturer, fixture and a lamp to calculate beam/field diameter and fc/lux. More Info

ML Finder PRO by Michael Zinman (Cost: $39.99)

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

For lighting designers, stage electricians, programmers and techs, ML Finder PRO is the perfect companion to any toolkit. ML Finder PRO is a complete list of parameters and channel assignments for over 500 lights, LEDs and media servers. For the tech addressing a light plot, a designer determining the functionality of a moving light, or a programmer building a profile for their lighting console. This information is nicely integrated into one app. More Info

ML Finder by Michael Zinman (Cost: Free)

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

For the stage lighting tech addressing a light plot. ML Finder displays the DMX footprint for over 500 moving lights, LED’s and media servers. Know how many DMX channels each device uses, in any mode. Simple to navigate and FREE to download!

GelCalc by Michael Zinman (Cost: $4.99)

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

iSwitch DMX is an easy to use binary DIP switch utility for stage lighting electricians, technicians and programmers. More Info

Gel Swatch Library by Wybron, Inc. (Cost: $19.99)

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

The Gel Swatch Library by Wybron, Inc., lets lighting production personnel browse, search, and compare more than 1,000 gel color filters. More Info

CXI Color Calculator by Wybron, Inc. (Cost: $4.99)

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

The CXI Color Calculator from Wybron helps lighting production personnel find and program colors for the CXI dual-gelstring color changer. Scroll through two overlapping gelstrings of cyan, magenta, and yellow to blend the ideal shade, then plug its numerical values into your lighting control console to have a CXI color changer move to that color. The Color Calculator also gives you the values needed to replicate several colors from the GAM, Lee, and Rosco collections of theatrical filters.

ShowTool LD by Daniel Murfin (Cost: $3.99)

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

ShowTool LD is an easy to use, yet powerful suite of utilities for Lighting Designers and Electricians.. More Info

BeamCalc by West Side Systems, LLC (Cost: $1.99)

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

Use BeamCalc to calculate the geometry of spotlight beams. Enter the height of the fixture above the focus point, the horizontal distance between the fixture and the focus point, and the fixture’s beam angle. BeamCalc displays the resulting throw distance, elevation angle, and beam width at the focus point. Adjust the position to achieve a specific elevation angle. Adjust the position and beam size to achieve a specific width. For use in architectural, display and entertainment lighting design.

ProjectorCalc by Michael Kohler (Cost: $4.99)

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

ProjectorCalc is a program for professional lighting technicians and projectionists. Its primary purpose is to determine the size of a projected image given various information about the projector and it’s location. ProjectorCalc allows users to enter details for a projector and its location in relation to a projection surface.ProjectorCalc will calculate image width, image height, diagonal length, brightness in Nits, total projected area, and how many pixels per inch the projected image will be. Additionally, ProjectorCalc can give you an estimate of how much keystone distortion will occur by calculating the length of each side of the distorted image.

Moiré Gobo Library by Wybron, Inc. (Cost: $9.99)

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

The Moiré Gobo Library from Wybron, Inc. lets lighting production personnel browse, search, and experiment with more than 3,600 different A-size gobos. More Info

iGobo by Richard Williamson (Cost: Free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.2 or later) Screenshots    

Rosco iGobo for iPhone and iPod Touch is the perfect tool for lighting designers, technicians and creative directors on the go. Containing the entire Rosco gobo library of more than 2300 images, iGobo makes it easy to browse, compare and select steel, glass or effects gobos, black and white or color, no matter where you are — in your studio, at the tech table, in a design meeting or even in transit. More Info

Black Steel Gobo Catalogue by HILLA Limited (Cost: Free)

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

GOBOLAND is an independent, specialized manufacturer of high quality glass and steel gobos for all lighting fixtures.Easily browse the award winning Black Steel Collection™ gobos. The App doesn’t require an internet connection while you browse the 1200+ gobo patterns available in high quality Black Steel or Glass.

Light by Digital Film Tools (Cost: $1.99)

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

Light can be added to a scene where none existed before just as if you were adding light at the time of photography. Realistic lighting and shadow is introduced using digital versions of the gobo library created by Gamproducts. More Info




Protective Cases



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Create your own apps or learn how to better use the iPhone.

iPod Touch


If iPhones are still not supported by your service provider or you are looking for an additional device, the iPod Touch might be for you. It works the same way as an iPhone, but lacks some of the features. Buy Now

Video Demo of the iPod Touch (Large  Small)--Requires Quicktime--


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iPhone Apps For Filmmakers

September 8, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 124 Comments
Filed under: Computing, Equipment, Filming, Internet 

One of the hottest commodities on the market today is the iPhone and iPod Touch. It is expected that Apple will have sold 80 million iPhones by 2012. The uses for this mini computer are growing everyday. Currently there is over 65,000 official applications available at iTunes for the iPhone. At the current growth rate this number could top 100,000 by the end of the year. This is not counting a vast amount of web based applications, over 1700 alone registered with Apple.

iPhone apps exist in many flavors, everything from simple games to complex software for professional task. Most apps are very affordable, if not dirt cheap or free. Filmmakers have not been left behind in the app frenzy. While searching the web for some tools to help us, I was astonished by the amount of software available. Here is a list of apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch apps I was able to dig up.

**Opera web browser users: If you have difficulty with the “get app” function working properly with iTunes, see this fix



Native Apps

A native app is a software that is installed directly to the iPhone. The iTunes store host all the apps approved by Apple.

Hitchcock by Cinemek inc (Cost: $19.99)

(iPhone, OS: 3.0 or later) Screenshots    

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. More Info

pCAM Film+Digital Calculator by David Eubank (Cost: $39.99)

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

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. More Info

iTC Calc by KPL Production Services, Ltd. (Cost: $9.99)

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

iTC Calc is the perfect companion for any producer, post-production producer, editor, Flame or After Effect artists and everyone who need to deal with timecode and frames. More Info

iTC Calc Light by KPL Production Services, Ltd. (Cost: $2.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.2 or later) Screenshot    

iTC Calc Light is the perfect calculator for any producer, post-production producer, editor, flame or After Effect artists and everyone who need to make quick timecode calculations. More Info

TCCalc – Timecode calculator by Jean-Luc Pedroni (Cost: $4.99)

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

TCCalc is a powerful time code calculator. With its two views, horizontal and vertical springboard, you can choose between basic timecode operations, or more sofisticated operations and features. More Info

TimeCodeCal by Daniel Maskell (Cost: $2.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.2 or later) Screenshots    

TimeCodeCal is the most flexible time / timecode calculator available. With it’s user configurable frame rate from 1 to 100 frames per second, plus hexadecimal mode it is aimed at anyone performing time based calculations, from the casual user to professionals in the broadcast industry. The hex mode was included with developers in mind looking at memory dumps of data. More Info

FreeTime Pro by Javier Hernanz Zajara (Cost: Free)

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

A powerful timecode calculator. Conversion and editing modes. Formats include NTSC, Drop Frame, PAL, Film edgecode (3:2 pulldown), and real-time. User preferences control behavior with field overflows, illegal (dropped) frames values, and key click sound.

TC Calculator by Javier Hernanz Zajara (Cost: Free)

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

TC Calculator is a simple calculator for operating with TC’s (Time Codes) and frames. It can add, substract and convert TC’s between different speeds. It may be very useful for people working on video or film. Currently not available in iTunes US Store.

EditCalc by Brad Brooks (Cost: $0.99)

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

EditCalc is a frames, footage and timecode calculator app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. More Info

time:calc by WattenEarth (Cost: $1.99)

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

time:calc is a time calculator that does conversions and calculations of time. It also works with timecode enabling calculations of frame rates for TV and film. More Info

timecoder app by zinc Roe Inc. (Cost: Free)

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

Timecoder converts video timecode between two different frame rates, from timecode to frame number and from frame number back to timecode. You can leave out the hours, minutes or seconds when they’re not necessary. You can also use large values that will “roll over”. For example, you can enter 90;00 (90 seconds) and Timecoder will automatically convert it to 00:01:30;00 (1 minute and 30 seconds). You can choose from a list of common framerates (frames, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30), or enter any framerate you like. Timecodes and framerates are rounded for display, but the conversions are accurate to more than three decimal places.

Film Editor’s Calculator by Michael Koperwas (Cost: $0.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.2 or later) Screenshots    

The Film Editor’s Calculator is a valuable tool for any film editor which allows you to calculate feet and frames for 35mm motion picture film. The calculator’s database also gives you information such as manufacturer and film stock based on the keycode’s prefix. The keycode calculator interface is very simple to use and is helpful when working with film at the bench or working with telecines on an editing system.

Film Calculator by Noah Harlan (Cost: $0.99)

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

The 2.1 Film Calculator is a multi-purpose tool for filmmakers to aid in common tasks of film conversion and counting in pre-production, production and post-production.** On Sale! Now only $.99 until we release the new version in a couple weeks. Enjoy! ** More Info

Action Log Pro by Andris Ltd (Cost: $29.99)

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

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. More Info

Action Log by Andris Ltd (Cost: $5.99)

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

Action Log is a film and television logging tool, designed for use on location or in a studio with 1 recording device. At the touch of a button the logging system keeps track of all reel names and timecodes for each recorded piece of action. More Info

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

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

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. More Info

FilmSlate by Idea Engine, Inc. (Cost: $4.99)

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

FilmSlate puts a portable “Smart Slate” in your hand. FilmSlate was developed by professionals, for professionals, and is designed to be used on set as an insert slate, a run-and-gun slate, or a portable backlit slate in your pocket. More Info

iSlate by ibuiltthis (Cost: $2.99)

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

iSlate is an easy to use portable digital clapper board that can help video enthusiasts add a touch of hollywood magic to their videos. Possible uses include video blogs, online video postings, and various video projects. More Info

iSlate Lite by ibuiltthis (Cost: Free)

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

Free Lite version of iSlate the portable digital clapper board.

AClapBoard by Rolf-dieter Klein (Cost: $4.99)

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

A digital clapboard/Slate and client time measurement system. New features: timecode calculator and color charts, 2-pop sync. The application combines many functions useful for film makers but also in general for free lancer. More Info

ClapBoardLT by Rolf-dieter Klein (Cost: $0.99)

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

A digital clapboard and client time measurement system. ClapBoardLT is the smaller version of AClapBoard which has more features like color chart and timecode calculator.
More Info

LlamaSlate by Scott Lawrence (Cost: $1.99)

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

LlamaSlate is a filmmaker’s tool to help with the editorial process. LlamaSlate is a simplified digital version of a traditional “clapper board” or “slate”, which is used to mark the beginning and end of every shot filmed. LlamaSlate can also help you to sync multiple cameras easily. More Info

Pocket DIT by Clifton Production Services LLC (Cost: Free)

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

RED Camera users, this is your cinematography “cheat sheet”. More Info

iSee4K by Edward Watkins (Cost: Free)

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

With this nifty little app spend your time ‘getting the shot’, rather than pouring over manuals and reference tables. Although primarily developed to aid users of the RED® Digital Cinema Camera, iSee4K is highly configurable and allows users to calculate DoF, FoV and Lens equivalence for virtually any camera and lens. More Info

DoF by Michael Neuwert (Cost: $1.99)

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

DoF is a small utility for Photographer or Videographer allowing to calculate the depth of field. More Info

DOFMaster by Donald Fleming (Cost: $1.99)

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

Use DOFMaster to calculate the depth of field in your photographs. You’ll be able to select the lens and f/stop combination that provides the zone of sharpness you need. Use it to calculate the hyperfocal distance for landscape photography. More Info

DOF Ruler by Devin Hartman (Cost: $1.99)

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

DOF Ruler is a Depth of Field calculator with a unique sliding ruler interface. It is a quick and easy way for Photographers to calculate Depth of Field. More Info

f/8 DoF Calculator by Thorsten Kramp (Cost: $3.99)

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

Photojournalists have a saying, “f/8 and be there,” meaning that being on the scene is more important than worrying about technical details. Yet with f/8, the depth-of-field and hyperfocal distance calculator for the iPhone and iPod touch, you’ll be there with the depth of field spot-on, too! Anywhere, anytime! More Info

MatchLens by D Matthew Smith (Cost: $9.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.2 or later) Screenshots    

This calculator computes the equivalent lens focal length to produce the same field of view between two cameras with different aperture/sensor sizes. It will do a “Match Lens” calculation, and produce the closest equivalent angle of view lens, in millimeters, for both vertical and horizontal frames, between the original camera’s focal length and the current camera’s focal length. More Info

ShootPad by David Brewster (Cost: $6.99)

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

Made for the guy shooting home video or the videographer shooting with their own camera. As the professional video guy is pausing and starting his video camera, he’s supposed to make notes for the starting and ending of cuts for later editing. More Info

Animation Timer by Randy Cartwright (Cost: $4.99)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: 2.2 or later) Screenshots    

Animation Timer is a simple stopwatch designed for animators. More Info

FrameTime by Patrick Spizzo (Cost: $0.99)

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

FrameTime is a simple animation timer that lets you time events down to fractions of a second. Use the simple controls to start the timer, then add keyframes based on the action you are timing out. Once you are finished, the timer controls conveniently move out of the way so you can see as many of the keyframes as possible. More Info

FPS Calculate by Wes McDermott(Cost: $0.99)

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

An animation timer is being added so that you can time movement and convert that into a given frame count! More Info

Screenplay by Black Mana Studios (Cost: $2.99)

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

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. More Info

hollywoodhelperHollywoodHelper by differential enterprises (Cost: $2.99)

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

For actors, Hollywood Helper / Broadway Buddy helps you learn the lines of your scripts without lugging around printed scripts, whether you aspire to screen or stage. More Info

Sync Points by Jon Lay (Cost: $0.99)

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

Sync Points is a calculator for composers for film, video, or any medium where precise synchronization to picture or SMPTE timecode is needed. With this app, you can calculate hit points from tempo or beats, generate an exact tempo in BPM and FPB for a given number of beats or timing, and compute a number of beats given a tempo and timing. More Info

FiRe – Field Recorder by Audiofile Engineering, LLC (Cost: $5.99)

(iPhone, OS: 2.2.1 or later) Screenshots    

FiRe is the world’s first professional field recorder built exclusively for iPhone and iPod Touch.. Combining powerful, elegant and uncluttered audio utilities with unparalleled technical support. More Info

PowerCalc by West Side Systems, LLC (Cost: $0.99)

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

PowerCalc performs basic electrical power calculations with watts, volts, amps, and motor power factor. More Info

LightMeter by Frank Bauer (Cost: $2.99)

(iPhone, OS: 3.0 or later) Screenshots    

Turn your iPhone 3G-S into a exposure meter.More Info

Helios Sun Position Calculator by Chemical Wedding (Cost: $29.99)

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

Helios is a Sun Position Calculator that graphically represents the position of the sun from dusk to dawn, on any given day, in any given place. More Info

Focalware by Spiral Development Inc (Cost: $9.99)

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

Focalware calculates sun and moon position for a given location and date. Use the interactive compass to determine the path and height of the sun or moon. Photographers and filmmakers who are always asked by their clients for the sun, moon and stars, can now deliver. More Info (with Video Demonstration)

MagicHour by Vela Design Group (Cost: $3.99)

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

MagicHour™ (formerly VelaClock) is a world clock that can quickly display the time of sunrise, sunset, three kinds of twilight (civil, nautical, astronomical) for dawn and dusk, moonrise, moonset, duration of daylight, current phase of moon, date and times for the next four moon phases, countdown to the next sunrise or sunset and next moonrise or moonset, and more. More Info

iFilmmaker Pro by Katha Films LLC (Cost: $4.99)

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

For the movie making beginner, expert filmmaker or “been-there-done-that indie enthusiast”, iFilmMaker is loaded with 1500 questions, tips and tricks of the film making trade, presented in a very entertaining, and educational manner. With iFilmMaker application, you can learn about different aspects of filmmaking like editing, directing /producing, scriptwriting, acting, and cinematography with easy to answer questions, and click to live web links for detailed information about the particular subject. More Info

iFilmmaker Pro Lite by Katha Films LLC (Cost: $1.99)

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

For the movie making beginner, expert or “been-there-done-that indie enthusiast”, iFilmMaker is loaded with hundreds questions, tips and tricks of the film making trade, presented in a very entertaining, and educational manner. With iFilmMaker application, you can learn about Editing, Directing/Producing, ScriptWriting, Acting, and Cinematography with easy to answer questions, and click to live web links for detailed information about the particular subject. More Info

Clz Movies by Bitz & Pixelz BV (Cost: $9.99)

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

This app is a supplement to Movie Collector software by Collectorz.com. Movie Collector is a must have for anyone with a large film collection. It is by far the most complete and versital database software available on the market. Clz Movies application for the iPhone allows your to take your movie collection with you on the go. More Info



Web Based Apps

Web applications (or web apps) combine the power of the Internet with the simplicity of Multi-Touch technology, all on a 3.5-inch screen. iPhone and iPod touch let you easily flick through news on Digg, play Sudoku or Bejeweled with a finger tap, and quickly check movie times, train schedules, and favorite blogs.

When you find a web app you like, you can put it front and center on your Home screen. Just open the web app on your iPhone or iPod touch, tap the plus sign, and then tap “Add to Home screen.” A Web Clip will be added to your Home screen automatically for easy, one-tap access. You have up to nine Home screen pages for all your Web Clips and you can organize them however you like.

Footage Calc by Digital Rebellion (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshot

Enables you to calculate the amount of disk space required for various video codecs at varying frame rates. It offers an easy-to-use interface that allows you to quickly and easily view the required information whilst on the move – perfect for those awkward on-the-spot questions from clients. Along with the iPhone Version there is also a full browser version. Also available as an offline application.

Film Rate Calc by Digital Rebellion (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshot

Calculates the relationship between film reels and shooting time. Use this calculator to work out how many rolls of film are required for a certain shooting ratio, or alternatively calculate how many minutes have been shot for a certain number of rolls. This is a useful tool for any script supervisor or producer. Along with the iPhone Version there is also a full browser version. Also available as an offline iPhone application.

Aspect Ratio Calculator by Digital Rebellion (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshot

Allows you to calculate the aspect ratio, width or height of an image or video. Also displays extra information such as the film or video format that the aspect ratio is normally associated with. This enables you to work out the correct frame size to use when creating CG shots that will be broadcast or intercut with live action footage. Along with the iPhone Version there is also a full browser version.

Depth of Field Calc by Digital Rebellion (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshot

This tool will calculate the depth of field for a given sensor or film type, aperture, focal length, and subject distance (the distance from the camera to the person or object you are focusing on). A lower number means that a large proportion of the background will remain in sharp focus and a higher number means that a smaller proportion (if any) will be in focus. It also includes presets for popular video cameras. Selecting a preset will automatically change the sensor type to fit your camera. Please be aware that this tool is designed for cinematographers, not still photographers. Along with the iPhone Version there is also a full browser version.

Pixel Aspect Ratio Calculator by Digital Rebellion (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshot

This tool will help you calculate pixel aspect ratios (PAR) of video formats. It also enables you to work out the proper resolution for a still image placed into a non-square pixel timeline. The source resolution is the square pixel resolution (ie. the dimensions of the still image) and the target resolution is the non-square resolution (ie. the final resolution of the image upon adding it to the timeline).
Along with the iPhone Version there is also a full browser version.

Lens Angle Calculator by Digital Rebellion (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshot

Use this calculator to calculate the lens angle or focal length for a given sensor size. This is useful for planning out camera placements in advance, which is particularly invaluable for visual effects work. Along with the iPhone Version there is also a full browser version.

Power Load Calculator by Digital Rebellion (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshot

Use this calculator to calculate the lens angle or focal length for a given sensor size. This is useful for planning out camera placements in advance, which is particularly invaluable for visual effects work. Along with the iPhone Version there is also a full browser version.

RED StrorageCalculator by Alex Boerger  (Cost: free)

(iPhone/iPod Touch, OS: All) Screenshots

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Lens Cleaning Tips

August 26, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 3 Comments
Filed under: Equipment, Filming, Photography 

When shooting video or taking photos a clean lenses and filters are a must. Rather you shoot digital or on film, or have consumer or pro camera, you are not immune to the dirty forces of nature. I can tell you, little is more disheartening than coming home from a shoot and finding your images are corrupted by a dirty lens. There is no remedy for this foolish, yet easily avoidable mistake. You can not rely on the view finder or LCD screen, the resolution is just not good enough to show most small smudges.

What is worse than a dirty lens you might ask? Well it is improper or obsessive over cleaning of the lens. Most of the lenses we deal with have a special coating on them which helps reduce flares, or light reflected by the surface of the lens. In addition the coating allows in more light than an uncoated lens. Typically on a glass to air surface 4% of light is naturally reflected away. A coating can bring this level down to about 1%. Lens coatings can usually be noticed by their red-purple or green appearance. Lens coatings can be rubbed away from over cleaning and applying too much pressure on the lens as you clean.

Preventative

The number one way to have a clean lens is using  preventative measures.

  • Always use lens caps when not shooting.
  • Keep your fingers off the lens.
  • Use caution when changing lenses.

Use extra vigilance when shooting outdoors. Dust can come from a plethora of sources. Be especially aware around pollinating trees, salt water, and sandy areas with a lot of wind. For example during our recent vacation in Tunisia, we stopped to take photos at some sand dunes. I step out of the vehicle with my camera in hand ready to take a shot and was immediately blasted by a whirlwind of sand.

Removing Dust

Bulb Type Air BlowerSimple dust particles: A little dust on the lens doesn’t really hurt a lot, as the end of the lens will be out of the focal depth of field. Problems could arise though when shooting against a strong light source, where reflections off the dust can intrude. Dust particles can be easily removed with a light brush or air. Avoid using any kind of compressed air cleaners, which could leave a residue on the lens surface. The essential and primary tool for the job is a bulb type air blower. It is simple and easy to use, just avoid contact with the tip of the blower and the lens as to not scratch the lens surface.

For more aggravating dust use a fine brush to gently knock off particles. A great tool that should be in everyone’s equipment bag is a brush style lens pen. They offer a quick and easy method for dust removal as well as other deposits on the lens. One end of the pen will have a retractable brush, the other will have a non liquid based cleaning pad. These gizmos have become extremely popular and are in wide use around the world.

Lens Pens From B&H

First use the brush tool to remove all abrasive deposits then use the cleaning pad lightly in a circular motion. These pens are usually marketed to clean both lenses and LCDs. I recommend having a different pin for each use. Also these pens can not be cleaned and will have to be replaced from time to time, which is no problem considering how cheap they are. Similar type pens are also used for sensor cleaning, which I will cover in a future post.

Liquid Based Cleaning

Liquid based cleaning methods have long been the standard method and are necessary for stains like grease from your fingers. Apart from the liquid a cloth is also required. Avoid cheap dime store wipes that may be too abrasive. Use a good microfiber cloth specially made for lens cleaning. Before attempting to clean your lens with a liquid and cloth, use a brush to knock off any dust particles. One of the best liquids you can use is your own breath. It contains no chemicals that may eat away at the coating on the the lens. Breath hard on the lens surface leaving a fog of moisture on it. Then using a the microfiber cloth, gently wipe in a circular motion from the center of the lens to the outside(without rubbing). In other words, leave off the elbow grease. If a problem area still exist a stronger cleaning solution will be needed.

Many products exist for lens cleaning. It is important to chose one that will leave no residue on the lens surface, such as those commonly sold for eyeglasses cleaning. One possible solution is pre-moistened cleaning pads especially designed for camera lenses. Use these pads one time and dispose off, they should not be recycled. Your other option is to use a cleaning liquid in conjunction with a dry cloth. The procedure here is the same, just be aware that it only takes a little bit of liquid. A small amount will go a long way and decrease the possibility of leaving any kind of residue on the lens surface.

A full line of top quality cleaning products can be found at the B&H photo and video store. Keeping your lens clean and dust free is one of the most essential parts of coming home from a shoot with usable material. Make a habit of checking your lenses before shooting and periodically throughout. With a little care and proper handling, your lenses can give you years of beneficial service.

10 Alfred Hitchcock Quotes

August 20, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 5 Comments
Filed under: Cinephile 

Hitchcock

  1. In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.
  2. Self-plagiarism is style.
  3. A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake.
  4. There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
  5. What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.
  6. If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.
  7. Actors are cattle.
  8. I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.
  9. A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.
  10. Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.

Spotlight: Wilco

August 19, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 2 Comments
Filed under: Music 

uncletupelo1Once upon a time in the American Midwest there existed a band. They didn’t seem like anything that came before and captured the hearts of fans hungry for an alternative to downward spiral of the music industry. They and called themselves Uncle Tupelo. Named from a drawing of Elvis by a friend, from randomly picked words in the dictionary. The roots of the band were as varied and sporadic as the sound they produced. In their music folk and country are shamelessly intertwined with rock and punk. Though band members might humbly dispute the claim, they have been credited as being the founders of alternative country. Jason Ankeny of allmusic wrote,

“With the release of their 1990 debut LP, No Depression, the Belleville, IL, trio Uncle Tupelo launched more than simply their own career — by fusing the simplicity and honesty of country music with the bracing fury of punk, they kick-started a revolution which reverberated throughout the American underground. Thanks to a successful online site and subsequent fanzine which adopted the album’s name, the tag “No Depression” became a catch-all for the like-minded artists who, along with Tupelo, signaled alternative rock’s return to its country roots — at much the same time, ironically enough, that Nashville was itself embracing the slick gloss associated with mainstream rock and pop.”

Uncle Tupelo (Feb 1994 by Dean Taormina)

The original lineup consisted of Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Michael Heidorn. The band would be managed by Tony Margherita, who met Jeff when he worked in a record store in St. Louis. Between 1987 and 1994 the band would embed itself in music history, though without knowing commercial success. Four albums were recorded: No Depression (1990), Still Feel Gone (1991), March 16-20 (1992), and Anodyne (1993). 89/93: An Anthology was released in 2002 as a retrospective of the band’s work. As the Band grew, so did that of the alternative rock scene. Rather than being associated with the MTV frenzy and commercialization of ‘anti-commercialization’, they dug deeper into the roots of country and folk. The band would grow in members as well. Future members would include Bill Belzer who replaced Heidorn, who was then replaced by Ken Coomer. Max Johnston and John Stirratt would also being added to the band, giving them a much richer musical range. With their increasing artistic developments, so did come tensions between Farrar and Tweedy. Eventually Farrar would leave the band and form Son Volt. Jeff Tweedy would take the remaining members to form Wilco with Margherita as manager..

Wilco “I will comply” in CB jargon, would release their first album A.M. in 1995. The album featured Brian Henneman on guitar, a long time friend and collaborator with Uncle Tupelo. Though the album didn’t receive commercial success or many favorable reviews, I always felt it was underrated and an essential step of closure in Tweedy’s breakaway from being labeled. With labels come limitations, through the years Wilco has proved itself to be above categorization. When you think of Wilco, you have to think of Tweedy. He is the heart, soul and leading visionary. Their evolution as a band is like any true artist, growing and experimenting through the years. Rather it be in the style of Boy Dylan or Pablo Picasso, Tweedy is reaching out to expression.

Wilco

After A.M. would come multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett, Bob Egan, and the departure of Johnston. As a guitarist and keyboardist, Bennett brought a new dimension to the sound Wilco was trying to create. The next album, Being There (1996) showed the most significant step in Wilco’s development. The album began to stray from the Uncle Tupelo sound with a harder edge and experimental dive, both musically and lyrically. Another important aspect is that Tweedy convinced Reprise Records to sell the double album set at a single album price. In so doing, the band lost their share of royalties. Though this decision might seem foolish to the business minded, it was a beginning of a special relationship with their fan base. In later years similar actions would fortify them as a band of destiny.

Wilco now had credibility and a life of its own outside of Uncle Tupelo. The next album to be released would be Mermaid Avenue (1998), collection of unknown Woody Guthrie lyrics. The album was a collaboration with Billy Bragg. Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, requested that Bragg put the songs to music. Bragg, being a fan of Wilco, convinced them to participate in the project. The album is a milestone in music history, putting Woody Guthrie in perspective to a whole new generation. The story of this collaboration is documented in Kim Hopkins film Man In The Sand (1999). After Mermaid Avenue Egan would be replaced by Leroy Bach. Simultaneously, Wilco was working on their third album. Summer Teeth (1999) would produce yet a whole new sound, strong and depressing lyrics and rich in overdubbing. After completion would come the second installment to the Woody Guthrie Project Mermaid Avenue Vol II.

During this time Tweedy was also branching out to other collaborations. By this time, Tweedy’s song writing prowess had risen to a level beyond that of the ordinary. I first heard him on the Golden Smog album Down By The Old Mainstream (1996), which lead me to Wilco. He then appeared on the following album Weird Tales (1998). He would join again with Golden Smog in 2005 on Another Fine Day. Tweedy would also do the soundtrack for Ethan Hawke’s 2001 film Chelsea Walls. After another collaboration, with Jim O’Rourke in 2000, the direction of Wilco would change once again. O’Rourke introduced drummer Glenn Kotche to Tweedy. An immediate friendship and compatibility emerged. The trio performed as Loose Fur, with the self titled album Loose Fur (2003) and then Born Again In The USA (2006).

Wilco

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) would be the album that put Wilco over the top. Kotche was brought into the band on drums, replacing Coomer. During production, tensions in the band began to grow with Bennett and Tweedy’s artistic vision for the band. Bennett would then be fired after the album was completed. When the album was finished came what what could have been devastating blow to the band. Reprise records dropped the album and the band. Fortunately Wilco was able to leave with a finished album in hand. This produced an incredible freedom in how the Band could enter the next stage of its development. Remarkably this whole incident was captured for prosperity in Sam Jones Documentry I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco (2003).



During the time between labels, Wilco made a bold move. During a time when online downloading of music was soaring, the music industry was in panic mode. Rather by legal action or other, they were gunning down music lovers. Artist like Metallica battled Napster, bringing down a community of 26.4 million users. Wilco took a different approach. Fans were eagerly awaiting the new album, that was now in delay, the band took the decision to stream it from their website for free. The fans loved them for it. When Wilco finally signed with Nonesuch Records, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot became the band’s best selling album. Ironically enough, Reprise and Nonesuch are both subsidiaries of Warner Brothers. So basically in the end, Warner Brothers bought the album twice. Before the release of the album Wilco would collaborate with Scott McCaughey on the Minus 5′s Down with Wilco (2003).

The following album, A Ghost Is Born (2004), once again experimented and explored musical possibilities. The songs were created first with Pro Tools, before being performed live. Again the album would be streamed free online before the actual release. Bach would leave the band to pursue other interest, making way for the current lineup. Jeff Tweedy (lead singer, guitar), John Stirratt (bass), and Glenn Kotche (percussion) were joined by Mikael Jorgensen (Piano), Nels Cline (Guitar), and Pat Sansone (multi-instrumental). The new lineup debuted with the album Kicking Television: Live In Chicago (2005). Ever since the beginning days of Wilco, Tweedy would embark on solo tours with acoustic guitar and harmonica in hand. In 2006 the film Jeff Tweedy – Sunken Treasure – Live in the Pacific Northwest was released. It displays the special nature of his solo performances, which put the music of Wilco into a whole different light.



The next album Sky Blue Sky (2007) would show a whole new collaboration and arrangement of the members talents. Yet again Wilco streamed the album prior to release and even offered a free MP3 download with the song What Light. The album sold an amazing 87,000 copies in the first week alone. The latest installment in the Wilco catalog is Wilco (The Album) (2009), again streamed from their website prior to release. The album has already produced their first #1 spot in the charts with the single You Never Know.

Wilco

To date Wilco has won 2 Grammy awards and 2 nominations. Mermaid Avenue was nominated for Best Contemporary Folk Album. A Ghost is Born won Best Alternative Music Album and Best Recording Package. Sky Blue Sky was nominated for Best Rock Album. Their success is nothing less than hard work and commitment to artistic expression mixed with a rare relationship with their fan base. I was lucky enough to meet the current lineup and attend the sound check during a show here in Paris a few years ago. Despite their fame and success, they are very approachable and generous. The true highlight of Wilco as a band is seeing them live. The unique manner in which Tweedy and the crowd interact is reminiscent of smokey bar room nights like those in Saint Louis when Uncle Tupelo plowed the grounds of musical development. Check out the official Wilco website wilcoworld.net for more information on the band and to listen to their albums.





Books relating to Wilco



Aquatic Photography

August 17, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 3 Comments
Filed under: Equipment, Photography 

After just coming back from vacation in Tunisia, it is now time to sort out and process all of our pictures. Our primary camera is the Canon EOS 350D (known as the Canon Digital Rebel XT in the United States). Our trip was to a seaside resort. Knowing we would be spending a lot of time doing water based activities, we thought it would be nice to be able to take some photos in the water or from the boats. Since we only wanted something to experiment and play with, we chose to find  a compact camera suitable for the job.

A search on Amazon landed us with the Easypix Aqua W311. At an affordable price we got a pretty nice compact camera for our needs. It seems this particular model is sold only in European markets, the American equivalent is the SVP Acqua DC-1231. Both are pictured below.

Easypix W311 Technical Specifications

aquaw311-SVPAcqua DC1231

The camera performed above our expectations. It can be used with or without the water housing. There is no problem loosing it with the included wrist strap, not to mention it floats nicely. Here are some photos we took at the Club Med Djerba la Fidèle (Thanks to Samantha’s siblings for being great models). The photo links have been scaled down from (2048 x 1536 landscape) to be more appropriate for this website.

Club Med Djerba la Fidele BeachClub Med Djerba la Fidele SailingClub Med Djerba la Fidèle SimonClub Med Djerba la Fidèle DebClub Med Djerba la Fidele Swimming

 

Some amazing examples of aquatic photography can be found on the WaterHousing Surf Photography Group on flickr.

Digital water photography has finally went mainstream and affordable to the average consumer. There is a wide variety of compact as well as professional rigs available. B&H Photo Video carries a complete line of gear to make your existing cameras waterproof, as well as  waterproof cameras. There you can also find complete instructional and buying guides. The following are some nice examples of what you can find on today’s market.

Liquid Image Digital Underwater Camera Mask

Liquid Image Digital Underwater Camera Mask

Pentax Optio W80 Digital Camera

Pentax Optio W80 Digital Camera

 
Snap Sights SS02 35mm Underwater Camera

Snap Sights SS02 35mm Underwater Camera

SVP Acqua DC-1231 Digital Camera

SVP Acqua DC-1231 Digital Camera

 
GoPro Digital HERO 3 Sports Wrist Camera

GoPro Digital HERO 3 Sports Wrist Camera

Nimar NI303D Underwater Housing (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT / 350D)

Nimar NI303D Underwater Housing (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT / 350D)

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