When Apple released the iPhone last year, it was hard to deny that this little piece of technology would be a game changer. It's sleek yet sophisticated with a multi-touch screen, simple intuitive interface, and for a portable device, it has a lot of power under the hood.
With the release of the iPhone 3G and the iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 software, Apple has opened up this amazing pocket technology to a world of developers who have already started to harness its power. To date, there are already over 1,000 applications available on the App Store — some free, some at little cost. Here is a selection of what has been developed for the lighting community. All of these Apps can be found online at Apple's App Store which is a part of iTunes on both Mac and PC.
iSWATCH GEL LIBRARY Wybron, Inc. - $9.99
CXI COLOR CALCULATOR Wybron, Inc. - $4.99
Wybron has focused on color in its first offerings for the iPhone. I can't tell you the number of times I've been sitting at a tech table when the designer will turn to me and ask for a swatchbook. “Err…umm…I know I have one around here somewhere.” With the iSwatch Library, that will never happen again. It puts swatchbooks from Rosco, Lee, and GAM on your iPhone. You can browse by manufacturer, name, or number, and you can see the SED curve for your selection as well as a list of similar colors and complementary colors. The CXI Color Calculator helps find color matches for Wybron's CXI line of color scrollers. You find a color by flipping through either of the two gelstrings or browsing a list of common colors. All you have to do is plug the resulting values into the console.
LIGHT CALC D!HV Lighting - $4.99
LIGHT CALC LITE D!HV Lighting - Free
BEAMCALC West Side Systems - $1.99
D!HV Lighting offers two versions of its geometry calculator software, Light Calc and Light Calc Lite. Both versions offer up the resulting beam and field size after inputting the desired degree and throw. The full version adds a database of commonly used fixture types and the ability to calculate footcandles.
BeamCalc from West Side Systems gives you the ability to calculate not only the resulting size of the beam, but you can go in the opposite direction, telling it what size beam you need and getting back a recommended beam spread.
POWERCALC West Side Systems - $.99
Kudos to West Side Systems for being the first to bring a simple yet thorough program for power calculations to the iPhone. PowerCalc works with different voltages, and it even has a phase setting to calculate distribution across phases.
DIPSWITCH Tom Weber - Free
There are no less then six applications available on the App Store that calculate the settings for devices that use binary switches to set their DMX address. DipSwitch would be adequate for almost anyone, and it's price will appeal to absolutely everyone. All of these work pretty much the same way. Enter a DMX value, and see the resulting dip switch settings, or do it the other way around. These programs also let you increase or decrease the address by a set increment so addressing a large number of fixtures becomes a snap.
DMXCALC West Side Systems - $.99
DMXDIPSTER Michael Swan - $1.99
DMXREF Michael Swan - $4.99
BINARY DIP-SWITCH CALC Michael Zinman - $4.99
iSwitch DMX Michael Zinman - $4.99
LUMINAIR Synthe FX - $79.00
Luminair is the first lighting controller for the iPhone. The way it works is kind of ingenious. It takes over the built in WiFi antenna and transmits an Art-Net stream to a wireless router which can then be translated to DMX by any Art-Net node on the same network.
Okay, so no one is going to rely on something like this to run a show, but I'm using it right now on a large LED installation that's being driven by a media server. Media servers are amazing for driving large LED arrays but lacking when you want to bring up one light at a time to check out the install. Using Luminair, I have been walking up and down the display and bringing up each LED one at a time or in groups. Then once everything checks out, I turn it over to the media server for the show. The app can also monitor incoming Art-Net streams, so it's useful for verifying other Art-Net devices on the network.
TITAN Avolites - Free
Avolites is showing a focus remote application for its Titan console at LDI this year. Look for more of this in coming months and more console manufacturers to start taking advantage of the power of this new platform as a remote. The smallest iPod Touch is only $229 so the iPhone solution is also quite inexpensive compared to what is currently offered for wireless remote control of lighting consoles. There are also a few third party solutions popping up to control show systems such as Crestron and AMX.
OTHER APPS PRODUCTION PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BE WITHOUT
FMTOUCH FMWebschool Inc. - $69.99
Long a favorite of lighting assistants and master electricians to create and maintain custom paperwork, FileMaker Pro is a powerful, easily customizable database application. FMTouch allows your FileMaker database to go with you on your iPhone. You can edit and create new records while away and then sync the changes to your home computer.
OMNIFOCUS The Omni Group - $19.99
One major criticism of the iPhone's OS is that it doesn't include a to-do list. OmniFocus not only solves that problem but includes some amazing features to take your lists to the next level. Tasks can be categorized by project, person, or date — all standard stuff. But using the built-in GPS, OmniFocus allows you to view tasks that pertain to your location. You can view your shop notes at the shop, theatre notes at the theatre, and your grocery list when you're at the store. Tasks can even be associated with text, voice notes, or pictures taken from the built-in camera.
LIFETIMER David Leblond - $.99
This simple but effective application can help keep track of anything that's time-sensitive. Each timer can count up or down. How long has it been since the FOH color was changed? How long do you have until the first audience starts banging down the door? It's only a touch away.
Something to keep in mind here is that everything in the App Store is a part of a first wave. The development kit has only been available since March 6, so expect new apps as well as new features to the suite of programs here already.