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in Filmmaking
on Oct 12, 2008

Producer Noah Harlan of 2.1 Films sent us news of his latest production: an iPhone app. Entitled the 2.1 Film Calculator, it “is a multi-purpose tool for filmmakers to aid in common tasks of film conversion and counting in pre-production, production and post-production.”

From the site:

Film Calculator has three basic functions:

Length & Time Converter: This function allows the user quickly convert length to time and vice versa for a variety of film stocks and speeds. Choose from Super-8mm, 16mm, 35mm or 70mm stocks and preset frames per second rates (12, 24, 25, 48) or enter your own. Then enter the time and you’ll get the length or enter the length and you’ll get the time.

Hard Drive Storage Calculator: Select a format and enter a time and this function will tell you how much hard drive storage space you need. Dozens of formats are included. Contact us to request more!

Script Supervisor’s Assistant: This function provides a stopwatch that counts both time and length. Select the stock and frame rate and then operate this like a regular stopwatch. Saves scripty’s from having to use a calculator at the end of each take. Always know exactly how much you’ve shot on a reel!

You can buy the Film Calculator for $2.99 by clicking to the iTunes store through Harlan’s site.

I emailed Harlan and asked him to give me a bit more information on how he got into the software development biz. Here’s what he wrote back:

My background is in computer programming (I have a degree in computer science) and I was really into the iPhone as a platform when it was first released. With the advent of the iTunes App store I realized there were some applications that would be really useful to a niche community like the film industry. I thought about the things that I frequently wish I could calculate on the fly – the types of things that I was googling time and time again – and decided to put them into one application. I reached out to my friend Charlie Pohl in Australia who has a design company called Conduct. I delivered them the concept, they worked up wireframes and the graphics and arranged a programmer in the UK to code the application. We communicated primarily via Skype and soon had a working version that is what you see now on iTunes. Our plan is to expand the number of video formats available and make the script supervisor functions more robust. It was a real learning process and in the end I did the final software compiling myself which, once you got the swing of it, wasn’t too bad. It is available now for $2.99.

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