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Weekly Video Tip: Android App for Cinematographers: SL Director’s Viewfinder

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By Stephen Schweickart

Today, in partnership with ReelSEO, we’re going to be talking about this new Android App for Cinematographers. It’s called the SL Director’s Viewfinder.

Let me dispel a cinematography urban legend for you. Holding your hands up in front of your face making a little rectangle with your thumbs and forefingers does not make you look like a filmmaker. It doesn’t increase your credibility. And worst of all, it doesn’t give you a very good idea of what your shot will look like when you point a real-life lens at it.

But thankfully, for you Android users out there (who I still think should get iPhones), there’s a simple solution—SL Director’s Viewfinder.

Long-time-visual-effects supervisor Stephen Lebed has worked in TV and film for decades and has turned his passion for film into the Director’s Viewfinder app. Sure you’ll still be holding your hands in front of your face, but now you’ll be holding your phone and running an app that allows you to simulate many of today’s top cameras and, more importantly, different focal lengths of lenses. So instead of playing the guessing game with your fingers, you get a real life look at what your shot will look like when you get to the location with your camera.

As an added bonus, the viewfinder app comes with built in grids for you, specifically one that gives you a rule of thirds template to help you properly compose your shots. Now I don’t know if you know this, but the rule of thirds is very important.

Viewfinder lets you capture images directly to your phone’s gallery, making it incredibly simple for you to just print the images out and use them for your storyboards. We have another video about that too. So instead of bumbling around you can just look at your shot list and grab the lens it tells you to. Not only will it save you time, but it will save you from looking like a goober in front of your client.

The SL Director’s Viewfinder clocks in at just under $10 so you won’t be breaking the bank, and you’ll wind up with a tool you’ll use on all your shoots from here on out. You won’t be up a creek without it, but it’s a big ol’ paddle that can really help you steer the boat.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen.

For more information on this topic, visit VScreen’s site at http://www.vscreen.com/.

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