As the saying goes, the best camera is the one that’s in your hand at the moment – and more often that not, that camera tends to be a small, flat rectangle that happens to look a whole lot like a smartphone. Since it’s now pretty common for filmmakers to use their phones to shoot, produce, and edit video, a bunch of fantastic apps have emerged to improve usability – and enhance creativity. Here are a handful of our favorites:
1. Artemis Directors Viewfinder ($29.99 for iOS & Android // Website)
What they say: “Artemis Director’s Viewfinder is an indispensable tool for filmmakers. It replaces the traditional viewfinder that would hang from a director’s neck, with a more convenient form factor and far more accurate and adaptable feature set. It is now the most used director’s viewfinder in modern filmmaking.”
What it does: After you snap a photo with your phone, use this app to create a preview of what that image would look like with different lenses, focal lengths, and camera formats by simulating the field of view. Images are embedded with GPS data, focal length, camera format, and other details, and can be saved and shared.
2. Celtx Script (Free for iOS & Android // Website)
What they say: “Lean, lightning fast, and fully-featured. Celtx Script makes it easy to write properly formatted scripts on your iPhone or iPad.”
What it does: Knock out perfectly formatted (and annotated) scripts from your smartphone or tablet device, choosing from a variety of formats: screenplay, stage play, comic book, and more. Celtx also makes free apps for storyboarding, call sheets, and other film-related needs.
3. CineMeter II ($24.99 for iOS // Website)
What they say: “Cine Meter II turns your iPhone®, iPod touch®, or iPad® into a reflected light meter, an RGB waveform monitor, and a false-color picture monitor.”
What it does: This app acts as a light meter to measure exposure and color, with some ability for manual adjustment of shutter angle, ND filter compensation, and other settings.
4. Digital Clapper (Free for Android // Website)
What they say: “Digital Clapper is a professional Android app for synchronizing multiple cameras and sound devices on a film production sets.”
What it does: As the name suggests, this clapper app simulates the analog variety as it helps sync sound and picture with time snapshots. It also features a countdown function, timecode generator, GPS data, and other handy tools.
5. Easy Release ($9.99 for iOS & Android // Website)
What they say: “Professional-grade model releases, created and signed, right on your iPhone, iPad or: ANDROID! since 2010!”
What it does: An easy-to-follow template allows you to create and complete universal model and property release forms on the spot, with room for photos and signatures.
6. FiLMiC Pro ($14.99 for iOS & Android // Website)
What they say: “FiLMiC Pro is the Gold Standard for Mobile Video.”
What it does: This app allows you to ramp up the capabilities of your phone to shoot high quality video, with an array of impressive features that allow you to customize focus, exposure, shutter speed, and white balance while also storing metadata and preferred settings. Did we mention that you can also shoot in slow motion and time-lapse mode?
7. Green Screener ($9.99 for iOS & Android // Website)
What they say: “Green Screener does away with light-meters and waveform-monitors, and SHOWS you exactly how even your green screen is, giving you the power to do literally perfect green screen (and blue screen) using just your phone or tablet.”
What it does: This app is designed as a light meter replacement, helping you achieve correct lighting for use with a green screen.
8. iMovie (Free for iOS // Website)
What they say: “Turn your videos into movie magic.”
What it does: This is, of course, the classic iOS video editing app. While it offers a pretty basic range of editing functions, the upside is that it’s relatively accessible and easy to use.
9. Kodak Cinema Tools (Free for iOS & Android // Website)
What they say: “The KODAK Cinema Tools App, provides essential film making tools for filmmakers that use celluloid film in their projects.”
What it does: This app features an array of handy reference-oriented features, including a host of calculators, a glossary of terms, a list of film processing locations, and aspect ratio references.
10. MAVIS – Pro Camera ($16.99 for iOS // Website)
What they say: “The ultimate iPhone camera app by filmmakers for filmmakers.”
What it does: Similar to FiLMiC Pro, this impressive app offers a dizzying array of features to turn your phone into a fully-featured video camera. It features a host of audio, color, exposure, focus, bitrate, and resolution controls, all customizable.
11. Movie Slate 8 ($29.99 for iOS // Website)
What they say: “Get fast, searchable access to the shot info you need, without wading through hours of footage.”
What it does: This customizable app serves as a digital slate and clapper tool all in one. Among other things, it records production info, logs notes, syncs timecodes, generates daily shot reports, and works in conjunction with popular software like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.
12. pCAM Pro ($29.99 for iOS // Website)
What they say: “This award winning app has become a time-tested industry standard.”
What it does: This tricked-out app offers a suite of tools that allow you to calculate depth of field, field of view, hyperfocal distance, exposure, lighting needs, and more.
13. Shot Lister ($13.99 for iOS & Android // Website)
What they say: “The better way, to make your day.”
What it does: This app serves as a digital assistant that manages and edits shot lists, storyboards, shoot days, and your overall filming schedule.
14. Sun Surveyor ($7.99 for Android & $9.99 for iOS // Website)
What they say: “Your personal guide to the sun and moon.”
What it does: Using several features on your phone, this app provides a complete picture of the sun throughout any given day, in any given location. Nail down times for “golden hour” and more while also tracking exactly where the sun will land (and how it will look) in your location at any time during the day.