A few posts ago I began talking about how I wanted to start sharing the apps I use to aid me in production. I kicked it off talking about the app ViewFinder Cine. Feel free to check that post out here. For this article I want to give you a glimpse of an app called Sun Seeker. Sunseeker is an app for plotting the sun’s path on any particular day. This is helpful for when your film or video production is located outside and you either plan to use the sun as a source, or avoid the sun all together.
Here is the description from the developer:
[Sun Seeker] Provides a FLAT VIEW COMPASS and an AUGMENTED REALITY CAMERA 3-D VIEW showing the solar path, its hour intervals, its winter and summer solstice paths, rise and set times and more and a MAP VIEW showing solar direction for each daylight hour.
How I use Sun Seeker
I use Sun Seeker both in pre-production, when I’m scouting locations, as well as during production. When on location, if I need to use the sun or avoid it, I can see where the sun will be at any particular time of the day.
I use it most, however, during pre-production. When I’m scouting a location I can set the app to the day I’ll be at that location and see what time sunrise is and what time sunset will be. In 3D mode, the app is very effective! If I plan on shooting during magic hour (when the sun is at low points on the horizon, morning and evening) then I can accurately plan my setups, which way I will be pointing the camera at that location, and even how long I will have to capture my shots. It’s like having an eye on the future! The only thing it can’t do is tell me whether I will see the sun or a bunch of clouds and rain! Still have to rely on old faithful weather forecasts for that!
Some other great features are:
- Save Locations: This is great if you travel often to the same location. You can see at different times of the year how the daylight changes.
- Solar Paths: For each hour of the day the sun will hit a particular location at a different angle. Sun Seeker will show you what direction the sunlight will be coming from for each hour. This is helpful if you’re shooting with a set or even indoors and you want to use available sunlight to light your scene.
- Time, Date and Location Select: Even if you can’t scout a location you can still get a jump on production by selecting the time, date and location of your shoot from wherever you are and get almost as many details (minus the 3D view of course) as you would actually being there!
- Save and Send: You can save and/or send the info you see in your app! As I’m location scouting I will sometimes send the data to my AD or PA to help plan the shoot. The info I get from Sun Seeker not only helps me as a cinematographer but also helps speed up production for the rest of the crew!
Do you use Sun Seeker? How is it useful to you?