The iPad an amazing tool for production. Its changed the way we work by providing a multitude of tools in one small, compact yet powerful little device. There are several apps that I’ve been using regularly for my creative development and production. While there are plenty more apps out there that do the same things but differently, these listed fit my workflow and needs.
Sun Seeker – This is an absolute must for any photographer or video production. It basically shows you where the sun will be anytime, anywhere. It features both map or 3D “augmented reality” view, allowing you to virtually scout any location and plan your set ups.
This app is available for both the ipad, iphone and Android users.
Storyboards Premium – This is an app that I came across when looking for an alternative to drawing out storyboards. This is an excellent app for those of us who have a hard time making even a stick figure look good.
Storyboards offers a unique way to illustrate your ideas. They have a library of figures that can be configured for men, women, children, long hair, short hair, different ethnicities, and a multitude of standing, sitting and lying poses. There is also a fairly wide array of props that the user can choose from as well. One of the nice features of this app is that you can insert photos as backgrounds. So if you have a scouting shot of a location, you can insert that and then place the Storyboards figures over it to provide a more realistic idea of what the scene will be. The app works on layers so you can move objects in front and behind each other for spacial perspective.
There is also a writing feature that allows you draw directly on the storyboards to show motion, blocking or notes.
A full storyboard export to PDF has to be done through iTunes. Its a bit clunky way of exporting but again it works fine once you learn it.
This app is pretty good. It took a little bit to figure out all of the idiosyncrasies, but now its pretty quick and easy to use. I think it could be a bit improved with some more wardrobe options and kid figures. Then again, its just for providing a scope of what we’re trying to create. It doesn’t need to be perfect. The cost is a bit steep but if used a lot, it can be rationalized.
Note: There is a basic Storyboards app but you only get 3 storyboards. It really should be called Storyboard trial.
I just found this app and used it for my last project. Shotlister is pretty cool and is surprisingly powerful. It is described by Shotlister as “the only truly professional shot list app and scheduling app.” It allows you to create and organize all of your scenes and shots, then schedule them on a calendar.
Once shots are created in the scene mode, they can be dropped and moved around on shoot days by simply dragging-and-dropping. There is a time duration slider that can be applied to each shot to make scheduling super customizable. Notes can be added to the shoot day mode to show travel, lunch, prep or wrap if that works in your workflow.
One of the coolest features is the real time tracking. On shoot day, it monitors if you are on schedule or if you are ahead or behind schedule.
Here’s the video from Shotlister telling a little more about it. (Note: Videos show 1.4 version and the app has been updated to 3.0.)
Creating a shot list
Importing and Exporting
DSLR slate is a great tool that replaces a conventional slate and it cost a LOT less. It allows you to enter all of the information about your camera, settings, lens, director, DP, producer, etc. The app also runs timecode which creates a visual reference for shooters who are working with DSLRs or cameras that don’t have timecode. It doesn’t replace timecode on cameras and recorders, but for logging and syncing purposes, it can make thing easier.
One you press “Open Slate” an active window opens with a color bar, timecode and the essential information for the shot (card, scene, take). The slate is activated by pressing “Start” where a quick succession of all data appears, followed by a white flash and an audible beep.
Easy Release by ApplicationGap allows you build model releases complete with a model photo on your iPad or iPhone. This is a huge improvement over having people sign physical copies and the ability to shoot a photo (with the iPad) of the model to attach to the release is a bonus. A jpeg or pdf can be mailed to you and the model.
This is a field audio recording app directly on the iPad. The original app was developed by a company called Audio Engineering and Rode purchased it from them. When I was researching the app store to find text for this post, I found quite a bit of negative reviews regarding the inability to export large files. It looks like they are aware of the issues and trying to fix them.
When working correctly, this a very capable tool for recording audio. If you plug in a mic like the Rode iXY or SmartLav mic, you have a compact, powerful tool at your disposal. It won’t replace professional recording equipment but you can get pretty good results with a fairly small setup.
To be honest, I use this as a backup audio recorder for interviews. Simply put the iPad on the table in front of the interviewee and record. It is a subtle ornament on the table that is fairly commonplace in many environments so it doesn’t detract from the scene.
Info from Rode
RØDE Microphones presents RØDE Rec, the definitive audio recording app for iPhone and iPod touch.
RØDE Rec combines professional features with an intuitive interface, making it easy to record, edit and publish broadcast-quality audio directly from your iOS device.
Featuring real-time waveforms, a suite of non-linear editing capabilities and powerful EQ and gain controls, RØDE Rec is the only field recorder you’ll ever need.
New in 2.8:
• Dedicated iPad interface – view the waveform, editing and a suite of controls on the one screen
• Batch export of files
• MP3 export
• Improved interface
BROADCAST QUALITY AUDIO
• High resolution 24-bit, 48kHz stereo/mono recording (up to 96kHz when paired with the RØDE iXY microphone)
• EQ and dynamics: Compression, high/low-pass filter, and frequency cut/boost
• Live input monitoring
• Complete control of the iXY microphone, including high pass filter and LED behaviour
COMPLETE EDITING TOOLS
• Real-time waveform and one-touch markers
• Landscape mode provides greater visibility when editing
• Non-linear cut/copy/paste/crop
• Waveform looping
• Normalise volume and change gain levels
ONE TOUCH PUBLISHING
• Output in multiple formats including WAV, MP3, AIFF, AAC, Apple Lossless, FLAC and more
• Export direct to computer via iTunes or a web browser
• Direct publish to SoundCloud and Dropbox
• Upload via FTP