A piece of technology that most professional filmmakers use daily earned Newfoundland and Labrador a place under the bright lights.
The Artemis Prime Directors Viewfinder app, an indispensable tool used by Oscar winners and film students alike all over the world, earned St. John’s software developer Jon Sutherland an engineering Emmy Award in October for the work he did converting the original app from IOS to Android. It is the first digital viewfinder for smartphones.
He received an Emmy statue recently for his work and he has it safely stored in his home in the black shipping case it arrived in.
“We had no idea we were in the running for an Emmy until they called Chemical Wedding, the company that developed the first app, to tell them they had won."
— Jon Sutherland
“I partnered with them back in 2010 to develop the Android version of the app.’’
Sutherland describes it as an integral part of what all filmmakers use in determining the equipment required in advance of shooting and helps the filmmakers to line up the shots prior to recording video.
He opened the app on his phone and walked this reporter through the process, which has a variety of options, starting with camera types, lenses, ratio for shooting and a host of others.
On its website, the product is described as follows:
“Artemis Director’s Viewfinder is software for mobile devices that enables filmmakers to accurately pre-visualize shots with specific cameras and lenses before they are physically available.
“Replacing the traditional optical director’s viewfinder with intuitive digital tools, Artemis assists the user in creating storyboard images or videos, adding frame-lines, using virtual stand-ins, and experiment with colour grading and so on.
“The sharing of images, notes and metadata gathered using Artemis enhances the communication between the different filmmaking disciplines, leading to increased creative control and production efficiency. Consequently, Artemis Director’s Viewfinder has become an industry standard tool.”
The latest version of Artemis features:
• Record video, trim the ends and add custom title cards.
• Create custom frame lines for any shape size or aspect ratio you like.
• A built-in series of looks that provide a way to pre-visualise colour grading ideas. You can also create your own looks and import Photoshop curves.
• Integration with Helios Pro.
• Add virtual stand-ins on the live camera feed and in storyboards.
• Virtual wide-angle mode to overcome the camera limitation of your device.
“The bulk of my work was done over a two-year period,’’ Sutherland said.
“The maintenance is still ongoing, as there are always updates when new versions of operating systems are introduced and new functions of the program are added in.’’
Sutherland has been involved in a host of development projects over his career and is involved in several projects at this time, some that have developed due to the success of Artemis and the connections he has made since its development.
“I am an independent software consultant. I have been doing things for people in Hollywood,’’ he said.
“Working for yourself is risky and stressful, but at the same time, it lets me do what I want to do.”