Add another essential production and post app to the list. Like many of the most useful iPhone and iPad apps available, the new KataData calculator developed in-house at Katabatic Digital, a New York-based grading and VFX facility, was born of necessity.

The explosion of digital cameras and formats has created all kinds of pressure points during production and post, and Katabatic‘s founder and CTO Emery Wells and his team have hardly been immune to the resulting confusion. “We wanted to build a first-class iPhone app that would alleviate all the pain in data planning and management,” says Wells. “But we also really just wanted to build an app that our own lab technicians needed. Whether you are on set, in post, or even in a nontechnical position, we we all need the ability to effectively communicate with one another and this app helps you do that.”

After inputting how much footage you’ve shot by file size (viewable as MBs, GBs or TBs) KataData quickly calculates your runtime and data storage requirements by camera type, external recording deck or codec. Supported cameras include Red, Phantom, Alexa, the Canon DSLRs and the usual suspects from Sony, Panasonic and JVC. Codecs run the gamut from Cineform to XDCAM and include ProRes and DNxHD. Additional formats will be added in the near future as free updates in the App Store.

Here’s a quick video demo that explains how to calculate data requirements and log your footage, especially when shooting with several different camera types:

Wells, whose clients include Jaguar and Saturday Night Live, says he’s been an admirer of great user interface design for some time. “It’s actually been a lifelong dream of mine to do software development for the Mac,” he says. “I never would have expected that my first app would be on an iPhone, but because of the iPhone’s exceptionally designed interface, it’s actually been all the more rewarding. I also love the problem-solving aspects of building a product.” He says it took Katabatic about four months to develop the app.

KataData was designed for the iPhone, but it will also run on the iPod touch and iPad. Wells says while his team doesn’t have any immediate plans to develop a specific iPad version, there has already been considerable interest from users who have downloaded the app since its launch on Tuesday. “If the market asks for it, we will build it,” he says. “We’ve also got numerous requests for an Android version and we will build it if we feel enough requests come in.”

KataData is available in the iTunes App Store for $4.99 and requires iOS 4 or later.