Tech Tip Fridays: iPhone App pCAM

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The pCAM (by David Eubanks) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is likely one of the most comprehensive and useful tools for anyone working with film and video cameras – whether you are the DP, VFX Supervisor, or anyone in between, pCAM is a must.

Basically this app does all the math that we all would love to be able to do on the fly – but who amongst us carries a scientific calculator – or wants to?  This tool eliminates your need to know and understand complex mathematical formulas and/or your need to carry around a cinematographer’s manuals, focus charts, etc.

What do I mean?  Have you ever wondered what aperture you should set your lens to in order to get the correct depth of field so that everyone is in focus in your shot  (or just two rows out of four?)  Have you wondered how much more depth of field you could get by choosing one lens down (i.e. choosing a 24mm instead of a 28mm)?  Do you know and fully understand the term “hyperfocal” and how to apply it?  Basically you don’t need to, just use pCAM – It will do everything for you.

So if you don’t have a 1st A.C. on speed dial, or at your hip at all times, this app will not only provide solutions to the standard photographic calculations (such as depth of field, field of view, and exposure), but also to more advanced ones (such as timelapse, mired shifts, and underwater distance).

A good example of how to use this – using the “Depth of Field” panel – I was able to answer a friend’s question just now.  The question was:  is it true that if you shoot at f 5.6 on a 5D MKII  – that you would need to shoot at f 2.8 to get a similar shallow depth of field with the same lens equivalent on a 7D?

I went ahead and calculated that a 5D MKII w/ a 32mm lens at f 5.6 yields a similar depth of field to a 7D with a 20mm at f 2.8 +1/3  (with the 1.6x crop factor of the 7D the 20mm effectively gives you the field of view of a 32mm lens (1.6 X 20mm = 32mm))   Therefore it’s almost true – a Canon 5D MKII at f 5.6 on a 32mm yields a comparable depth of field to a 7D at f 2.8 + 1/3  (or f 3.5)

pCAM is incredibly useful (and a huge stress relief) for any DP, photographer, or crew member that has to work on small to large productions and can’t afford to guess – and for only $29.99, it’s a bargain.

If you are interested in this app, go to the following link on iTunes by CLICKING HERE.