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posted by - Monday, 03 August 2009


Following in the footsteps of the Leatherman and the Maglite, the iPhone has become one of those ubiquitous tools that is on every set. With 50,000 apps available, there were bound to be some clever programs written for use in our industry. (We can’t all spend our days pretending to wield lightsabers…) Here’s a list I compiled of some clever apps that may be useful. All are available at the iTunes Apps Store.

pCam (David Eubank, $39.99)
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.

iSee4k (Edward Watkins, free with $7.50 donation request)
A must when using the RED One camera. Calculators for depth of field, field of view, storage requirements in both space and time, frame rate & timebase settings and workflow throughput.

DOFMaster (Viewpoint Photography, $1.99)
Calculates depth of field for a variety of formats including HDSLR, 35mm cine, Super16, 2/3”, ½”, 1/3” & ¼” sensors.

LensSym (Noa Technologies, $0.99)
Field of view calculator. Rather scientific and not particularly cameraperson-friendly, but it’s less than a buck.

Edit: LensSym has been discontinued. Try SetMyCamera (free, iPhone & iPad) as an alternative. 

MatchLens (Indelible Pictures, Inc., $9.99)
Matches field of view between various formats and sensor sizes. Want to know what lens in Super-8 gives the same framing as a 105mm on a 6×6 Hasselblad? Covers just about every film, video and stills format in use.

Helios Sun Position Calculator (Chemical Wedding, $29.99)
Uses location, date and time to calculate exact position of the sun. Can use the iPhone’s GPS and when used with a 3GS iPhone it can also access the integrated compass for exact positioning. Great for scouting.

Exposure Assistant (Kigra Software, $0.99)
A handy calculator for determining odd exposure adjustments. Especially useful for time lapse and long-duration exposures.

iSlate (ibuiltthis, $2.99)
A tiny little timecode slate. Can’t jam it to anything and I don’t know if I completely trust its timecode not to drift, but it sure is a handy little sucker.

Photo fx (The Tiffen Company, $2.99)
Dozens of Tiffen filters can be applied in various strengths over iPhone photos or downloaded images. Also mimics various processing effects such as bleach bypass and even different film stock looks. A great preview tool.

Lightmeter (Ambertation, $2.99)
For the new 3GS models only. Lightmeter takes an image with the iPhone’s camera and then measures the illumination levels, allowing one to calculate exposure settings.

LightSource (Pixelexip, $0.99)
There’s a light in your pocket – your iPhone! LightSource illuminates your iPhone’s LCD panel in a variety of useful illumination colors, with options to mimic such sources as a candle, a halogen bulb, sunlight, blue sky, mercury vapor lamps, etc. Not the brightest source in the world but a handy little accent tool when you need to squeeze a little something in a close-up.

Just Light Flashlight (justlightapp.com, free)
Exactly like it sounds – this is a pure white light flashlight app with the idle shutoff mode on the phone disabled so it will shine until you turn it off. Sometimes on set you just need to see what the heck you’re doing. There are a bunch of flashlight apps available, but this is the purest.

Need even more iPhone Apps? Check out the sequel to this post.

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