Tech Tip: DSLR Slate App for iPhone and iPad

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I’m excited to finally see iPad apps come out that take full advantage of the device’s size and functionality relative to the smaller iPhone/iTouch.

I can’t wait for the day where we will be able to use an iPad to interact with our HDDSLR cameras – let alone alone use one as a wireless reference monitor.  What excites me even more is the potential to do some color correction or pre-visualization on location, fine tuning the look of an image live on set.  Countless hours of adjusting light and color balance could be saved if they could be done on the fly with a computer. (What I’m saying here is: a lot of a film’s look today is created in the grading/color timing/color correcton suite… a lot more than most of us know.   Back in the day most of the film’s look depended much more on film stock selection, lighting, filters and gels… now it’s often done more easily and cheaply with a mouse in post… Either way a DP/Gaffer STILL need to know what they’re doing and how to light of course – but giving them the ability to see how things will look after a certain post-processing look is applied – while STILL ON SET – is a huge benefit.)

Can you imagine plugging your iPad into your 5D MK II, RED, Genesis, or Alexa and doing this someday? It would be wild!  But we will probably have to wait a little while for such things.

For now let’s take the first babystep in that direction.

The DSLR Slate App (by Chris Bayol) is a digital slate specifically designed for use with HDDSLR productions and works with iPads and the iPhone/iTouch. The app operates as a traditional slate, providing you with all the standard information (see picture above), but it also goes a step further and provides information tailored to HDDSLR production, allowing you to log shutter speed, ISO, aperture, lens, and many other details (which can come in handy while shooting tests).  All of this additional information is stored by the app, and then displayed for the camera in quick bursts so that each page of information is captured for only a few frames.  This makes slating on set efficient, and ensures that you have all the information you need in post-production.

This app is already quite useful, but I’ve spoken to the developer and there are already plenty of future tweaks in the works.  Personally, I’d love to see the app give us the ability to put in production notes, to auto-increment takes as you go, and of course to find a way to jam sync the iPad to your audio recording device – right now I still use my DENECKE, which is a fantastic but expensive proposition.

If you are interested in this app, check it out at the iTunes store by CLICKING HERE.