Finding the right location for your shoot can be taxing, and when you do, it's even harder to know the exact position of the sun unless you camp out all day. While most of us can figure out where the sun will generally be in the sky, Chemical Wedding aims to pinpoint the sun's precise location and simulate lighting and shadows plus provide the position of the moon and stars in a new app dubbed Helios Pro. 

We spoke about Chemical Wedding's viewfinder app Aretmis in our previous "5 Handy Filmmaker Apps" article, and this updated software is set to launch November 20. The $30 iOS tool for iPad and iPhones improves upon the original Helios app for cinematographers looking to visualize exactly how the light of sun will look at any location, at any time of the day or year, by now including mapping of the moon and stars. Cool. 

Helios Pro uses two types of augmented reality (AR) to produce its results. Basic AR overlays images on the screen via the camera, and as you move up down, left or right, the info moves along with the image. Now with Apple's ARKit, the app can create detailed augmented reality environments of actual locations anywhere in the world. Simulating the physical 3D space, cinematographers can interact with the location forward, backwards or sideways to visualize how light will affect the location set and other objects in the area. 

Helios Pro Pollution MapHelios Pro Light Pollution MapCredit: Chemical Wedding

There's also a unique tool for videographers looking to shoot the Milky Way for time-lapse B-roll or insert shots. The Night Shoot Planner maps out the days of the month along the bottom and the hours of the day on the left-hand side. The yellow, white and blackcurrant overlays show when the sun, moon and Milky Way are in the sky. It also comes with a light pollution map to show you how the light from surrounding houses and cities will disrupt the night sky. Across the bottom runs a color scale indicating where the polluted sky will most likely be.


  • Multiple tools to explore sun, moon, and star data
  • Light simulation on a range of virtual stand-ins
  • Scarily accurate alchemy and celestial mechanics
  • Night-shoot planner to see the optimum dates and times to shoot the Milky Way
  • Dynamically generated 3D models of landscapes, buildings, cars, trees
  • Many tools will still work without reception
  • Multiple ways to export data
  • iPad and iPhone compatible