Updated Version of SMAPP Mobile App Brings Handy New Filmmaking Tools Right to Your Pocket

SMAPPThe fine folks over at stillmotion have been providing the film community with awesome educational resources for the past couple of years; everything from tutorials on how to light an interview to how to get better handheld footage. One of their coolest resources, however, is SMAPP, the "stillmotion App." It combines all of stillmotion's killer tutorials with a set of story-driven interactive tools, which use input based on how you want your shot to look and feel in order to provide technical suggestions on how to achieve it. Now, a new version of SMAPP is available that adds new functionality to many of their old tools as well as some extremely helpful new ones.

Updated Shot List Tool

A solid shot list can be one of the most important organizational tools that we have as filmmakers. Unfortunately, our shot lists oftentimes end up disregarded for one reason or another, and efficiency goes out the window. The updated Shot List Tool in SMAPP looks to change all of that and become the ultimate pocket shot list for you and your team. Here are the new features:

  • SMAPP Shot ListSharing: You can now share your shot list with anyone on your team, and since it syncs to your Dropbox as well, everyone can see as changes are made to the list.
  • Photos: Attach photos and screen grabs to your list to illustrate what you’re envisioning for every single shot!
  • Alarms: Trying to get the perfect shot right at sunset? Set an alarm so you don’t miss it! This is an awesome feature — on so many occasions we’ve had the perfect shot in mind, but we just forget to get it at the right time.
  • Syncing: The Shot List now syncs to the Lens Selection Tool and the (all new) Movement Tool. For example, if you’re not sure which lens to use for a certain shot, you can access the Lens Selection Tool from the shot list and your lens choice will then appear on the list.

Packing List Tool

SMAPP Packing ListOne of the new interactive tools in SMAPP is the Packing List Tool. With an endeavor as equipment-intensive as filmmaking, always having the right gear at the right time can easily become a burden. With the new Packing List Tool, you can make detailed lists and assign certain pieces of gear to specific bags/cases or certain individuals. Additionally, because it's also completely share-able via Dropbox, everyone on your team can stay up to date with what gear  has been and still needs to be packed, thus helping ensure that you never arrive on location only to find out that you didn't bring an essential piece of gear. Even though many of us aren't traveling for work, this tool can be extremely helpful for day shoots as well. Essentially any time that you've got to bring gear into the field, SMAPP's packing list will be there to help make sure that you stay as organized as possible.

There are a couple of other really cool new features and tools included in the new version of SMAPP, so be sure to head on over to stillmotion's blog and learn about all of them and to download the new version to try for yourself.

What do you guys think? Do these new features and tools have you excited about SMAPP? Let us know in the comments.

Link: Holy SMAPP! It’s New & Improved! -- stillmotion Blog

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Random comment: Still Motion don't come from a filmmaking background, and this is both good and bad (mainly good!). The bad is that, especially in their earlier educational resources, they didn't necessarily have the knowledge behind what they were saying. The good is that they can think out of the box in many ways, and one quality that pervades their educational resources is a sense of openness and exploration. I've never watched a Still Motion video or read a Still Motion blog without learning something. They're pioneers in a double sense, both in the sense of making things up as they go that are new to them (a filmmaking virtue), and in the sense of being at the front of what's new to everyone -- they really do keep pushing the envelope, and are one of the first people to do things with 1DC or C100, to create wedding films without showing ceremonies, etc.

June 18, 2013 at 5:07PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Out of curiosity what's an example or two of times when they didn't know what they were saying?

I've been following them for years and I'd like to know of what I've been misinformed haha.

June 18, 2013 at 7:56PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


You know what? If I could delete comments, I'd delete what I wrote. Reading back over it, not only is it stupid and ungenerous, but probably outright untrue.

So, please consider it retracted.

But to answer the question as to what could have motivated me to blurt that out...

To start with, here's an extract from a forum discussion, to which Patrick responds.

A commenter is discussing his experiences of the KNOW workshop. He writes:

"I found several places where their recommendations were quite myopic and would only work with the Canon dSLRs they use in their work. In my opinion I don't think they did enough to qualify some of their statements as to the scope of where their recommendations would work and where they would not work. As an example their recommendations for how they handle media management will work fine with the Canon sDLRs but would be bad for an XDCam workflow (renaming files on the cards before downloading as a way to track downloaded material)...

They are certainly not horrible in the tech area. They know how to use their gear. No doubt about it.

I asked a question during a break regarding the use of a grey card vs a light meter. I asked the question because in the presentation the talk only about using a light meter for exposure. They seemed to not understand what I was talking about when I asked about using something other than a light meter. A light meter is fine for photography or with a motion picture camera using real film. It is not the best tool to use for example when using a CINE gamma curve on a video camera. I did say that for something that moves as fast as a wedding that using a grey card would be burdensome. I related the question to their commercial work because they framed the use of the light meter against a commercial project they were doing.

My concerns may seem a bit pedantic. I'm not picking them apart to indicate the seminar wasn't good. It most definitely was good for those entering the wedding market. My issue with some of what was being presented was in the assumption that what works for them would work with anyone. I would have felt more comfortable if they had stated in a few places that you should try out any of their suggestions ahead of a project to see if they work for you. In a room full of people with less experience it can be dangerous to offer information in such an authoritative way."

Patrick responds, among other things: "As for the technical side, I'll let our work do the talking there. Our cameras aren't setting our exposures, lighting our scenes, or grading our edits. It is absolutely true that questions about grey cards and light meters might not have gotten then attention or response you were looking for, and i apologize if that was the case, but that was certainly not the focus of KNOW."

And, frankly, I think Patrick's comment is fair enough. Maybe the presenter knew about grey cards, maybe they didn't; but does it really matter?

I don't remember anything Still Motion has written or said as being outright wrong on their blogs or videos. But I guess I've sometimes felt -- and it's no more than a feeling, really -- like they haven't gone deeply enough (compare a Still Motion lens discussion to a Shane Hurlbut lens discussion), or they've left something out, or have made a suggestion without doing enough to point out potential pitfalls.

Sort of thing that comes to mind:
-- general preference for shooting very shallow, without really mentioning how lenses function optimally when they're not pushed to extremes of aperture
-- a video where they recommend using high shutter speed to achieve shallow depth of field in bright outdoor lighting. From memory, I don't think there was any mention of the change in look this would cause, or any mention of NDs or vari-NDs.
-- a video where the coverage they recommend for bride walking down the aisle is a monopod from the front, near the groom, and a steadicam behind the bride. I actually think (anyone who does weddings, please feel free to step in and disagree) that it's very hard for the monopod guy to keep the steadicam guy out of shot.

So, it's really kind of small, nit-picking things like that, which are arguable anyway, which stick in my mind.

But, to balance against this sort of pedantry, let me give two example of times when I felt that coming from a non-traditional background helped!

Suggestions of: holding a monopod upside down against the side of a car for a wheel-in-motion shot; and placing a slider upside down in order to get a close-to-table ring shot. These are left-field and creative suggestions to me. I think, for many people trained more traditionally, monopods and sliders don't even exist, let alone upside-down ones -- at film school it's either tripods or shoulder-mounted.

The other thing I think should be said is that... Well, as the blurb goes, they declare that they're constantly changing and learning. If one takes that statement at face value, then it sort of contradicts any implication that they think their way of doing things is the only way or the right way.

June 19, 2013 at 1:14AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Still only for Iphone? moving along.

June 19, 2013 at 5:34AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


The Droid version should be on its way soon.

June 19, 2013 at 8:34AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom

According to the blurb at the bottom of their site: coming to android soon! :D

June 19, 2013 at 6:00PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

David J. Fulde