On set, the iPad’s large display suggests a couple of commonplace, but crucial applications: as a digital slate and cue card/teleprompter.
Movie?Slate ($19.99, basic version; $49.99, Timecode Sync PRO; www.pureblendsoftware.com/movieslate). The iconic movie slate has evolved considerably over the years as audio and picture sync has become more sophisticated. For the last 20 years or so, the timecode slate has become a standard fixture on most sets, but a standard timecode slate will set one back $1,300 or more. The inexpensive iPad app Movie?Slate combines the functions of a timecode slate with a shot log and notebook for $70.
Movie?Slate allows a number of timecode sync features: manual input, time-of-day and Bluetooth sync between multiple iOS devices. The in-app upgrade enables Timecode Sync PRO, which allows the app to send, receive or generate LTC timecode to sync with an external device via the headphone jack. Movie?Slate supports the following LTC frame rates: 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30.
Shot-logging is enabled once the slate has been clapped and includes not only text notes, but also allows a picture or audio annotation to be included for each shot. MovieSlate’s default settings include circled takes and ratings for image/audio quality. These timecode-marked notes can be emailed in HTML, CSV, tab-delimited and Final Cut Pro XML formats, making for a smoother workflow in post.
One of the coolest features is MovieSlate’s music video mode, which allows one to play a song from one’s iTunes music library synched to timecode—this feature is ideal for indie music video production, making the iPad a slate/playback device perfect for HD DSLR production.
ProPrompter ($9.99, www.bodelin.com/proprompter). Much like the slate, cue cards or prompts for on-screen talent remain a staple of television and commercial production. I’ve been around long enough to remember the hassles involved with mounting a CRT teleprompter on the front of the camera—a procedure requiring a strong back and lots of counterweight.
LCD teleprompters seemed like a great leap forward, but these still require cabling and some sort of external computer to feed the script to the screen. Enter the 1.5-pound iPad with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and suddenly a prompter app seems like a no-brainer.
ProPrompter, developed by Bodelin Technologies, turns the iPad into a full-featured prompter with remote scroll control. Scripts can be imported into the app via e-mail, copy and paste, or created directly in the app. Font, font size and background color are user-customizable, with the option to mirror and loop text. The app supports international language characters, including Chinese, Japanese and Russian. ProPrompter can be fed script and remotely controlled using another iOS device and can be synchronized across multiple iPads, iPhones or iPod touches, allowing prompting from multiple camera angles.
To transform the iPad into a true teleprompter, Bodelin offers its ProPrompter HDi Pro kit. The kit consists of a 16:9 aspect ratio hood and half-silvered beam-splitter with an integrated iPad bracket, camera bar mount with standard ¼-20 thread, handheld grip and hood lens sock, projecting the text from the iPad right in front of the camera lens and allowing talent to read the script while looking right into the camera.