For this week’s Reel Rebel video production tip, in an effort to dispel the myth that holding your hands in an L-shape for a shot makes you look like a professional filmmaker, we discuss and review the merits of the SL Director’s Viewfinder app.  This digital viewfinder app is available for Android devices and is used by directors and cinematographers to help block out and stage their shots.

 SL Director’s Viewfinder Android App – Review

The SL Director’s Viewfinder app was created by Stephen Lebed, a long time visual effects supervisor in the television and film industry.  The app allows you to simulate the view of many of today’s top cameras and different focal lengths of lenses.  The Viewfinder app even comes with built in grids that gives you the rule of thirds to help properly compose each shot.

You can capture shots directly to your phone’s gallery making it easy to print the images out and insert them into your storyboard.  Utilizing the app will save you time and money by allowing you to know which lens is best to use.

At under ten dollars it’s well worth the investment to ensure your shots are great every time.

Question:  What other apps or tools do you use to help you plan and frame your video shots?

View The Full Video Transcript

Hey I’m Stephen Schweickart with VScreen where we do videos for companies and today in partnership with ReelSEO, and since you know I always talk about iPhones and never Androids, 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. We’ll talk more about this in another video within the ReelRebel series.

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 shotlist 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. Trust me, another no brainer for ya and that ones on the house.

The SL Director’s Viewfinder clocks in at just under ten bucks so you won’t be breaking the bank, and you’ll wind up with a tool (assuming you’re not one already) 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.

And if this video helped give you a better “frame” of mind about your storyboarding, make sure you click on this big thumbs up down here and this big fat subscribe button right here to get more tips on how to keep your videos from sucking.