Like other AR apps, Blocker allows users to drag virtual objects onto real-world scenes using an iPhone camera. But Blocker aims to do more than just create a fun mixed reality world by pairing the virtual objects with tools for planning several aspects of a video or photo shoot.
Users drag a number of different characters and objects onto the scene, arranging them and then resizing to simulate a real shoot. By dragging a virtual sun around the scene, creatives can visualize how the shoot will look at a certain time of day, watching how the shadows fall on those AR objects placed in the scene.
Along with previewing how people and objects will look in the scene and imitating the scene’s lighting, Blocker also has a virtual camera that can head in the scene, too. Selecting from the list of actual real cameras and lenses, the app shows users what the shot will look like from that specific gear. Saved photos from the app are embedded with data that makes it easier to re-create the scene. While the app doesn’t preview aspects like depth of field, Blocker gives creatives an idea of what the focal length will look like.
This allows videographers and photographers both to take virtual shots to serve as inspiration during the actual shoot, and to explore camera angles ahead of time. For example, during an indoor shoot, sampling different lenses could help shooters plan to bring a wider lens to accommodate the entire scene. Those app snapshots can also be saved to share with a larger team or a client.
The mix of tools allows Blocker to work for both planning out or “blocking” the shot, as well as for storyboarding, or saving those ideas to use during the actual shoot.
“Our goal is to pull storyboarding and shot blocking into the real world, so that it’s intuitive and expressive,” said Jesse Vander Does, AfterNow director of technology.
Blocker is available for devices with iOS 11 (iPhone 6s and iPad fifth generation and later) from the App Store. The initial download is free, while the full version with a “complete camera” is a $50 in-app purchase.