Kodak Cinema Tools
An identical version of its iPhone counterpart, Kodak’s Cinema Tools is really sleek. It helps calculate film running time, depth-of-field and has a comprehensive list of terms in an included glossary. The interface of this app makes it easy for you to navigate and the graphic for depth-of-field is clear and practical.
The catch to this app is that it will only work with film formats. After all, Kodak has an agenda and a stake with celluloid, so you won’t find any support for RED One, Alexa or other digital offerings. With that said, the app impressively supports plenty of film formats from Super 8 all the way to 65mm — though no 15/70mm IMAX.
There were a slew of depth-of-field calculator apps I found in the Android Market, but this one stuck out to me because of its versatility. From solar calculations to field-of-view charts, CamCalc has a variety of useful tools. I especially enjoy the depth-of-field chart (on the bottom left of the screenshots) that illustrates the “1/3 in front, 2/3 in back” principle of DOF. Very cool.
CamCalc will cost you a couple of bucks, but there is also a free version available that will have advertising. The bad news is many of the reviews complained about a lack of customization for intermediate F-stops, lens choices and one reviewer even claimed that the DOF calculations were wrong for Canon APS-C cameras.
S3D Stereoscopic Base Calc
If you don’t already have a stereography app for your smartphone, you may have to bite the bullet in the coming years. 3D doesn’t seem to be going away and if you’re working near the camera, you will need to have basic stereographic information when shooting in the format.
S3D Stereoscopic Base Calc is priced reasonably compared to similar iPhone apps and was the only 3D stereography app I found while searching the market. In my opinion, the aesthetics leave something to be desired, but the wealth of information it provides is enough to overlook that tiny gripe.
SL Director’s Viewfinder
A viewfinder app for a phone shouldn’t be replacing a bonafide director’s finder anytime soon, but they can provide quick support. SL Director’s Viewfinder is certainly a better option than the pretentious thumb/index finger trick that the icon displays.
The few reviews of the app have been good and it looks like a promising alternative to simply taking pictures. An app like this would be most useful for when you’re out scouting and need quick reference stills with frame lines and simulated focal length. All of the major camera formats are supported from 35mm to RED to 4/3’s.
It’s no secret how I feel about using an app in place of a real slate, but they do provide mild value as insert slates or backups. The app also offers options to log shots, which is the most beneficial aspect of digital slate apps.
After looking at the screenshots, you may be thinking it’s nice that SL DigiSlate includes timecode, but there is no way to jam sync it. Despite that drawback, it might be worth purchasing for those who have no traditional slate or for the camera assistant who wants to have a quick go-to insert slate.
Power in the Pocket
If you don’t already have a smartphone as part of your toolkit, whether an iPhone or Android phone, you should consider investing in one. Especially as the technology gets stronger, these portable devices have developed to become powerful tools and an important asset to carry around in your pocket on set.