Published in Los Angeles Magazine
Like most camera assistants, John Reyes, w ho works on the MTV sitcom The Hard Times of RJ Berger, stores his equipment on a four-foot-tall aluminum cart. Among the lenses and tripods is a viewfinder (a short telescope-like device that helps directors see how a shot will look from a certain angle) and a depth-of-field calculator (a rotating instrument that calculates what portion of the shot will be in focus). Lately, however, the gizmos have started to disappear.
“Slowly each of these pieces of equipment is being replaced by apps,” says Reyes. “If you go on our set, it’s 90 percent iPhones. Pretty soon we’ll probably just use the camera on the iPhone to shoot our shows.” That last part’s a joke. Sort of.
The story of technology in Hollywood has long been one of a few early adopters fighting against the status quo. Each advance in the Industry, from talkies to Technicolor, took a while to catch on. Movies may be flashy and fancy, but movie sets are old-fashioned places, filled with apple crates (for actors who need a boost) and spotlights that have hung from the rafters since David Fincher was in diapers. But the iPhone and the iPad are propelling casts and crews into the 21st century, fundamentally altering the way people collaborate while saving time and money. Recently South Korean director Park Chan-wook went so far as to shoot an entire 30-minute short on his iPhone 4.
“Everyone’s looking to create a standard that will unite every department,” says Taz Goldstein, a director who blogs about production gadgets at Hand Held Hollywood. “That’s the holy grail.”