June 29, 2011

'DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit' Vies to Be the Swiss Army Knife of On-set iPhone Apps

DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit is a new app for iOS devices that combines a number of handy tools for, you guessed it, DSLR filmmakers. Current features include an electronic slate, shot log, depth-of-field calculator, level (for dolly/slider shots), daylight calculator, director's viewfinder and more. It's priced at $7.99 and available now through iTunes. I can't test it myself as I'm on Android, but here's a look at the app in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaZvSly3iSk

For an in-depth review of the app (which, keep in mind, is only $8), see a very helpful comment below from Darius.

Link: DSLR Toolkit

[via planet5D]

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23 Comments

wow. For dslr filmmakers, that genuinely looks amazing

June 29, 2011

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Can't tell from the video if the slate does the clack noise.

Wish they also had true neutral grey on the slate.

June 29, 2011

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"True neutral gray" on an uncalibrated digital display wouldn't be very "true," I'm thinking...

June 29, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I swear there's one app out there that claims "because it's only meant for ipads, and all ipads are calibrated to be the same, it's legitimate true color". How good the color variance is from one ipad to another, I don't know.. but I know I've seen at least one app that claimed this

Of course that leaves something like Android (droid v1 here) out in the dust as the variation amongst handsets is all over the place

June 29, 2011

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I've heard that digital grey cards don't work because they only emit light, whereas true grey cards absorb most light and reflect some. Apparently an important difference.

The app looks pretty cool though otherwise :)

June 29, 2011

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I spoke with the developer a week or so ago, and he said that on the white flash there is a beep.

June 29, 2011

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Alec Sprinkle

I'm waiting for Android too.

June 29, 2011

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Dave T

jst wanna say wow. defa i ll buy that . .

thank you . .

June 30, 2011

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Ok, got the tweet from No Film School on this and decided to buy it and see how this rates against other apps for filmmaking I have including:

a. DOF master
b. DSLR Slate
c. Movie*Slate
d. pCam

As a note, all of those apps cost more than the DSLR Filmmakers Kit and only have one function. So there are definite pros and cons to both.

Here goes the rapid review:

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

1. I wish this app was iPad res as well as iPhone/iPod.

2. SLATE FEATURE:

This is a really basic slate and for basic slating and shot logging it will work for most people.

The only things I can see that would improve on it is that the slate controls are touch a plus or minus button instead of a scroll wheel which means when you start getting into scene 40-50 you are going to be pretty frustrated.

As part of the slate it ties into the shot log feature, which I'll cover next.

3. SHOT LOG

The shot log is pretty basic in that what you log is:

White Balance, ISO, Camera, FPS, Card, Lens, Filter.

Each of these pulls up a text entry field and here again I think a wheel selector for each category word make this infinitely more useful. Also the addition of perhaps the most key piece of information that should be included in a shot log: GOOD TAKE. I know at least 20 shooters who are friends of mine that don't give a damn about logging ISO, WB or even what lens was used. What they care about is GOOD TAKE, SAFETY TAKE and maybe something to make a note for.

But this doesn't have an option to make at least a note. That's a major omission because without that for me at least a shot log is useless.

4. VIEWFINDER

A great little viewfinder that will work well for just about everybody. Simple to use. Fast result. No complaints.

Important note: It only references Canon cameras (unless I missed something), so Nikons and other DSLR owners, you'll have to figure out which one of the camera settings matches your camera view and use that.

5. DOF Calculator

Note again: This only has Canon cameras from which to select. So Nikon owners, etc... be aware.

This is a very basic DOF calculator which basically gives you hyperfocal and near and far focus. That for me is pretty much what I need.

There is the $29.99 app Pcam which does all of that and has actual built in illustrations showing you what's in focus as well as giving you image previews, and has every camera and film format known to man or beast including IMAX, etc...

But honestly for most of us who are running and gunning and through the learning curve on what lens gives what image size, etc... this DOF calculator in the DSLR Filmkit is plenty.

Also it uses the spin selection wheels which makes it very convenient to use.

6. DAYLIGHT TIMES:

This is a great little addition to the toolkit which basically tells you here is how long you are going to have sun for. It doesn't tell you anything else such as weather patterns, estimated color temperature and light levels for the different times of the day (which would be a cool addition). Because it automatically syncs to your location it tells you without you having to insert in GPS locations which is convenient.

7. SPIRIT LEVEL

This tells you if you have a level spirit. Ok yes, minus points for lameness on that one!

It's a level. Very handy, but honestly I keep a small torpedo level in my bag for use on leveling the Cineslider and most decent heads come with a bubble level so I'm not sure where you would use this and be dead certain of level. Nevertheless it's a thoughtful inclusion.

8. CONCLUSION

If you want a very basic set of tools and can live with some of the limitations described above, this is a good app for you. The only dealbreaker for me was the inability to create a note for the shot log, and perhaps I just missed that somewhere. But if you don't care about that, then you should enjoy this as an app that costs 1/4 or less of the competition and has some nice features.

Best,

Dare

June 30, 2011

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Darius Wilhere

Kicap on 07.6.11 @ 7:05AM
Darius, if I am using iPad2, what do you reckon would be the best App for Clapperboard or Slate? The DSLR filmaking tools seem to be too much for me. Just want a good movie slate app.

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July 7, 2011

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Hi All - I'm the developer of this app. Thanks for all the comments, especially Darius - This feedback is very helpful and hopefully I can include some of these features in future releases. You are not mistaken - there is currently no way to rate the shots or make notes on them.

Regarding the camera selection, it's not just for Canon cameras, it has Nikon as well as others, but even if your camera isn't listed, you can just select whether your camera is full frame, 1.3x crop, 1.5x crop, 1.6x crop or 2x crop. So hopefully that should cover everything.

June 30, 2011

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Thanks for posting. Could you consider adding cameras that are not DSLR's? Like RED Ones, Epics, & Scarlets, Arri Alexa, and other high end digital cinema devices? That would be very helpful.

June 30, 2011

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paul

Hi Richard,

As I said in my review, it's a really handy app. And with a few more bells and whistles, I'd have no problem paying even 10 or 12 bucks for it. Really the lack of "Good, safety, note" is the only dealbreaker. I think I'm a good cross-section of a lot of DSLR shooters out there and if there is something that will save us TIME and costs less than $50, we'll leap at it.

And realize the other $20 and even $30 dollar apps that I bought, I largely don't use because they are far more than what I need (a print out of my shot list and a pen and notebook are the default settings for my mental shot log taker. My D of F calculator is my 10x zoom on the Canon 5D and my eyeball).

Your little complete flimmaker kit could really be the go-to tool of choice with just a few additions most notably:

1. The shot log additions as mentioned.
2. A little reference chart which gives color temperatures referenced against time of day.
3. A built in white card for setting custom color balance
4. A focus screen chart.

I think each of those would be fairly simple to add and would boost the value of the toolkit immensely.

Believe me, those of out in the trenches really appreciate the work put in by people like you to bring us tools that make our job easier.

July 1, 2011

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Darius

Thanks again Darius. I am definitely going to look into adding these features. I'm not sure about the color temp stuff though - surely the user changing the brightness of their screen would affect this in such a way that I could never be sure exactly what temp it was displaying?

July 1, 2011

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Dear Richard, I meant a copy of the chart for reference such as this: http://www.geofflawrence.com/color_temperature.html. You know you sort of just have a jpeg of this type of chart, or if you wanted to get fancy, you could have a spin wheel that you selected the lighting condition (Bright sunlight) and it pops up what the color temp or WB setting should be on the camera, sort of like that chart shows.

It's such a little thing, but having the reference chart which lays out temperatures at times of the days and various conditions built into the "toolkit" would be great. Of course a person could just keep a jpeg of it stored on their phone, but having it as part of a toolkit which can just be easily pulled up is awesome.

Same with the white screen. Who cares about a white screen? Well if you want to set custom WB you need a pure white surface. Again you can carry a card around but if it's built into the "toolkit" it's just another tool in the box.

Just so I don't bore anyone else to death, if you have any further questions just email me at: dsw@zero2infinitymedia.com

Best,

Dare

July 2, 2011

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Darius

Thanks for a very helpful review, Darius! I'll link to it in the post. And thanks for stopping by, Richard -- looking forward to future versions.

June 30, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Dear Koo! Thanks for a very helpful site! Your site saves me from having to look for 20 others so it's my go to site of choice! I, and I'm sure many others, really appreciate what you do. Best, Dare

July 1, 2011

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Darius

thank you so much for this article, just downloaded, cant wait to test it. But clearly it will put all the produciton process in more order:)
amazing website, i am happily reading every newsletter.

best regards,
kate

July 1, 2011

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kate tartsus

Got it and love it. And everything works fine on the iPad as well!

July 5, 2011

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Darius, if I am using iPad2, what do you reckon would be the best App for Clapperboard or Slate? The DSLR filmaking tools seem to be too much for me. Just want a good movie slate app.

July 6, 2011

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Useful app, does it require internet, can you use it on an iPod Touch?

July 7, 2011

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Mia

When will you be re-writing this for the androidas we arn't all apple fans.

July 10, 2011

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Donald

What do you use the view finder option for? Don't your cameras all have view finders? i must be missing something obvious here. Thanks

October 1, 2011

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