Video Essentials

Direct a Multi-Camera Shoot on Your iPhone with CollabraCam

It’s not hard to direct a multi-camera shoot nowadays. You can get a NewTek TriCaster for around $10,000, plug in your cameras, and get the professional results you’ve been looking for.

If you don’t have that kind of budget, though, you can do it really cheap and use iPhones.

Yes, iPhones. Thanks to a new app called CollabraCam, you can connect up to five iPhones to direct the recording of any event.

All the iPhones will need a copy of the app, which currently sells for $2.99 (the price will return to $9.99 on April 29) . They’ll also all need to be on the same Wi-Fi network. That network doesn’t need Internet access, so you could use a notebook to create a Wi-Fi network and link your cameras, even if the notebook doesn’t have online access.

Once on the same network, the copies of CollabraCam will look for each other, so linking your iPhones is easy. One user will choose to be the director and will see the video streams of the other two to four cameras.

The director can select which camera to use just by tapping that stream on the screen. One tap outlines the stream in blue and lets the camera operator know to stand by. Tapping the Record button outlines that stream in red to show that it’s being recorded.

The director can do more than just select cameras, though. He or she can send commands to the various camera operators, telling them to pan left or right, for example, or dolly in or out.

When finished recording, CollabraCam automatically creates a credit sequence with the director and camera operators’ names. The director has the option of saving the video as one complete work or saving the individual clips for later editing. The app makes use of the iPhone’s file sharing feature, so that videos can be easily downloaded to the desktop.

The features are still a little basic, but Kyle Hilla, the founder and CEO of Apptopus, Inc, which made the app, tells us that on-screen graphics will come at some point. A universal version that runs on the iPad is also in the works. Other new features may have to wait for the release of the iPhone 5, since they’ll need the stronger processor it will certainly have.

If you give the app a try for your next event, leave us a comment below and tell us how it worked for you.


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