Smartphone Uses and Apps for Any Phase of Video Production

Chances are you’ve already used your phone today as an alarm clock, to check Facebook after hitting the snooze button three times, as a radio on the commute to the office and to scroll through Pinterest or Twitter while stuck in a “quick” meeting that has somehow turned into 45 minutes and an action item to meet again next week.

We are attached to our phones for a million reasons. And if you are in the video industry you can use it in any phase of production too! Here are some apps and ways that I use my smartphone, as well as, some suggestions from other videographers and editors who responded when I reached out on Twitter.


Sometimes we are lucky enough to get a site survey before we have a shoot. When those rare instances occur grab your phone and snap as many pictures as you can. Is there a window or will you be shooting outside? There’s an app for that. Check out Sun Scout to see where the sun will be at different times of the day. You can come back weeks later to your photo album to remember how the room was setup and determine what equipment you need to bring.

Download a PDF version of the call sheet and save it to your phone. This way you aren’t scrambling through emails looking for your point of contact’s office number when security won’t let you in the building (I’ve been there).

When there aren’t a ton of shots to get on a shoot I write out a shot list on a to-do app like Reminders on the iPhone or Any.DO. During production I check off the shots on my phone as I go instead of carrying around a clipboard and pencil, which I constantly misplace.


A variety of slating apps like MovieSlate have been around for years. They are usually on the pricier side (MovieSlate is $29.99 + add-ons). I’ve never used a slating app and would love to hear some feedback on ones you’ve used.

I’m jealous of anyone with a GoPro HERO3+ just because of the GoPro app. With this app you can wirelessly control, preview and share your videos shot on the HERO3+. Go ahead and strap that camera to your kid’s bike, film their first ride without training wheels and post it online before they can take off their helmet and kneepads.

If you shoot alone or on a small budget like I do there’s typically one shooter and one camera. If you’re able to lockdown the camera on a set shot, why not whip out your phone and film as a second camera? Go grab a different angle but just make sure you stay out of your main camera’s shot! Lastly you can catch some in-action shots of the production for your company’s social media, website or internal uses.

Post Production

I’m a huge believer in the pomodoro technique and couldn’t do it without the timer on my phone. Set the timer to 20-25 minutes, edit until the timer goes off, check Twitter for 3 minutes, then do it all over again.

The all-time favorite use of phones in the video world has to be export and render time killer. Angry Birds, Subway Surf, 2048, Lumosity, reading Buzzfeed lists, YouTube videos, social media and tons more. The list is endless. What are some of your favorite time killers while exporting or rendering?

The last use is my personal favorite… ScreenLight! Remember that time a producer asked for one thing, you did it and created a note / locator in your NLE, only weeks later for them to come back in a meeting to say that they never said that. Now you’re stuck in a conference room without access to what they said and it looks like you did something wrong. Well what if the producer made the comment in ScreenLight? If they did, then you can jump on your phone, pull up the video and its comments right then and there in the meeting. It’s a great feeling, I’ve done it, even if you still have to go back and change whatever was asked for.

ScreenLight also makes it possible for people to review while they aren’t in the office. No more waiting for a producer, client or boss to get back to the office. They can review the video anytime from anywhere.

To sum up, you can use your smartphone in many areas of video production. Use it to scout out your shoot locations, control your GoPro or provide feedback on the go. What do you use your phone for in pre-production, production or post production?