News, , , , , , , — December 6, 2011 17:18 — 21 Comments

The best cinematography apps for iPhone

cinematography apps

The phone stays in the picture: best cinematography apps for the iphone

You may not want to shoot your film on an  iPhone, but it is still a handy tool to have on the set, as this list of best  cinematography apps highlights

Field of View / Depth of Field Calculators

David Eubank, $29.99
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.


Viewpoint Photography, $1.99
Calculates depth of field for a variety of formats including HDSLR, 35mm cine, Super16, 2/3″, 1/2″, 1/3″ & 1/4″ sensors.


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



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.


Storage / Runtime Calculators

Film Calculator
2.1 Films, $0.99
This app has three main functions. The first is a basic film stock length to runtime converter. The second is a hard drive storage converter. The third is knowingly called the Script Supervisor’s Assistant. It is a stopwatch that counts in footage of stock used. No more having to convert the numbers.


Kata Data
Katabatic Digital, $4.99
A storage and runtime calculator with more than 100 camera and record format options, including cameras from ARRI, Canon, JVC, Panasonic, RED, Sony, and Vision Research. Plug in a runtime, it will tell you the memory needed; or plug in a memory amount and it will calculate how much runtime it allows. Switch cameras or codecs and it will calculate a new corresponding memory amount or runtime; this is useful when transcoding material or when shooting with a different format on a B-camera. Calculations can be stored in a log which can be adjusted and edited, then emailed to the production office or post house.


Filters / Gels

Gel Swatch Library
Wybron, $9.99
Exactly what you think – all the gels offered by Rosco, Lee, GAM and Apollo. Great for comparing the manufacturer’s offerings.


Mill Colour
The Mill, free
The Mill is a major post production/visual effect facility. They also have some of the best color correction suites in the business. This app recreates the essentials of a color corrector right on your iPhone with a rather astounding level of manipulability and horsepower. Snap a photo or import an image, alter it to your like and then email it away. Great way to converse with a director, colorist, or client – or just play around to see how far an image can be bent.


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.



Just Light Flashlight, 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. There are a bunch of flashlight apps available, but this is the purest.


set Lighting
Enlightened Shenanigans, $9.99
The set Lighting app is a reference for professional lighting equipment. It includes specs for instruments from Arri, Kino Flo, Mole-Richardson, Dedolight and many more.


Ambertation, $2.99
Lightmeter takes an image with the iPhone’s camera and then measures the illumination levels, allowing one to calculate exposure settings.


Michael Zinman, $19.99
A photometric database and calculator with a vast array of the most popular lighting instruments for film and stage lighting. The Gaffer’s best reference tool.




ibuiltthis, $2.99
A tiny little timecode slate.



JumpStart LTC
Edward Richardson, $19.99
This app generates a Longitudinal Timecode audio signal. It also allows you to manually set your frame rate and userbits. Simply plug in a headphone cable to your iPhone, connect the other end to the timecode slate (or other device) of your choice, and it will jam sync to JumpStart LTC. An iPad version is also available.


Movie Star Slate
PureBlend Software, $24.99, iPhone and iPad
This slate app has a clapper that delivers a satisfying audible “snap” when shaken. It also allows for “jamming” timecode between it and other iPhones and iPod Touches. Niftiest of all is a shot logging feature that allows one to insert vocal or typed notes for a given take. For doc work, one can even speak into the iPhone during a take and the notes will log the timecode. The material can even be exported in a Final Cut XML file so that it can be laid down along your timeline for editing reference.


Timecode Slate
Matthias Uhlig, $3.99
This slate app also functions as a music player for any audio file on your iPhone, with repeatable timecode stamp on the track. It’s great for playback on music video shoots.



Camera Angles
Geometry, $0.99
This app uses the built-in camera to work out the angle of rotation plus the pitch angle in relation to real world objects. For scouting it also has another clever function that uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS. Want to know how tall that building is so you can block it with a silk frame? Point the iPhone camera at it, move a little closer and take another photo. The app compares the distance moved to the change in angle and computes the height.


Peter Brietling, $0.99, iPhone and iPad
There are a lot of leveling apps available for the iPhone, but only a few actually measure inclines. A clinometer is an indispensable tool for anyone shooting plate photography for effect compositing. It is important to maintain proper perspective, which translates at least partially to the relationship of the image plane to that of the horizon. This is also important for miniature work. This particular app offers precise, easy-to-read and use incline information.


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



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 it can also access the integrated compass for exact positioning. Great for scouting.


Adair Systems, $0.99
Simple utility to calculate time for sunrise, sunset, solar noon (highest point), plus phase of the moon. Uses the iPhone’s current location and current date by default, but either can be changed. Great for location scouting.



Enlightened Shenanigans, $4.99
This app includes equipment pictures, specs, how-to’s and step-by-step instructions to aid both the beginner and experienced pro. Dollies, cranes, hardware and rigs are all covered.


Cinemek Storyboard Composer HD
Cinemek, $14.99, iPhone and iPad
An amazingly versatile storyboard app that allows one to snap a picture using the built-in camera and then add markups such as pans and dollies. Shots will last for durations the user sets to help determine pacing, and audio notations can be laid over for notes or a more full-bodied experience. The storyboards can be exported as .pdf files for distribution.
Note: this app is not compatible with iOS 5.


DSLR Camera Remote Professional Edition
onOne Software, $19.99
HDSLR cameras such as the Canon 5DM2 are fast becoming “B” cameras on set, sometimes “A” cameras as well, and here’s something you can’t do on your average video camera… Connect the camera to WIFI-enabled computer, and you can control all of it’s functions remotely using this app. Even get the live video feed on the iPhone screen! Great for car rigs and remote head shots.


iMotion HD
Fingerlab, free, iPhone and iPad
Create a stop motion movie using the camera in your iPhone! Up to 500 frames, and it can capture each frame manually or automatically, effectively making this a time-lapse app as well.


● Source doc: AbelCine

Further reading: The top 10 best film-making apps for the iPhone


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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.


  1. [...] if you don’t like the idea of actually filming on the iPhone, there is a bunch of cinematography apps – to use for everything from calculating sunrise and sunset to storyboarding and camera angles [...]

  2. [...] if you don’t like the idea of actually filming on the iPhone, there is a bunch of cinematography apps – to use for everything from calculating sunrise and sunset to storyboarding and camera angles [...]

  3. [...] if you don’t like the idea of actually filming on the iPhone, there is a bunch of cinematography apps – to use for everything from calculating sunrise and sunset to storyboarding and camera angles [...]

  4. [...] if you don’t like the idea of actually filming on the iPhone, there is a bunch of cinematography apps – to use for everything from calculating sunrise and sunset to storyboarding and camera angles [...]

  5. [...] smooth movement. There are windshield mounts and stabilizers, among the many accessories and a-p-p-s now on the market. It seems the want of filmmakers is to take the smallest, simplest device and [...]

  6. [...] if you don’t like the idea of actually filming on the iPhone, there is a bunch of cinematography apps – to use for everything from calculating sunrise and sunset to storyboarding and camera angles [...]

  7. [...] you may need to attach lenses and add all kinds of gizmos or apps to your iPhone for a proper shoot, but the cost of hiring a digital camera is no longer [...]

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    Great overview! just downloaded islate and its good so far. I’ve been using celtx with shot designer and action pro ( ) Those apps have helped me create and finish my projects much faster. I’m still learning about movie making and i hope to one day make a feature film. Any advice for a newbie like me?

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