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The App Changing the Way Hollywood Makes Your Favorite Shows

The old Hollywood way of shooting a movie or television show is being revolutionized with a new app that its creator says can save hours each day.
Image: A crew member uses ProductionPro on set
A crew member uses ProductionPro on setProductionPro

Have you ever watched a movie or television show, only to notice that a character's hair looks slightly different or some background knickknacks seem to have been moved, despite no passage of time?

Worrying about those tiny details is a time-consuming process in Hollywood and one that has remained surprisingly old school, using yellow pads and big binders to keep track of a shoot. That is, until now.

ProductionPro, which was recently used on the second season of Netflix's "The Crown," along with Broadway shows including "Kinky Boots" and "Miss Saigon," is an app that rolls up all of those old school processes into a simple iPad app.

A crew member uses ProductionPro on setProductionPro

"It’s really the simplicity I think people reacted to," Alex Libby, founder of ProductionPro, told NBC News. "They’re really able to automatically organize all of their ideas, the research, the designs and the continuity from each scene into the structure of the story seamlessly and that is the first time it's ever happened for them."

Virtually everything we need to lead our high-tech lives exists inside the smartphones we carry around in our pockets, from the way we work — via productivity apps such as Todoist and Evernote — to the way we get to work — with Uber, Lyft, and Waze; and even the way we work out.

Yet somehow the app revolution, which was largely spurred with the creation of Apple's App Store in 2008, never really disrupted Hollywood.

Related: Apple Highlights Siri, Software Updates at Developer Conference

“The entertainment industry as a whole has been underserved by tech since the Greeks," Libby told NBC News. "They are extremely analogue, and a group of journeyman and apprentices who learn from their forefathers," said Libby, who has worked as a crew member on Broadway and Hollywood sets.

"People would go back to their binders they’d have to carry from location to location," he added. "And now it is one iPad.”

ProductionPro's visual scroll allows users to organize research, designs, and continuity within the structure of the film.ProductionPro

While working on the film "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Libby said he became inspired to create a solution. At first, he used a six-foot-wide, 150-foot long scroll to organize the scenes and all of the elements, including props and costumes.

While it helped, he said he was inspired to create something less unwieldy, and so he worked with a team of techies to help bring his idea for an app to fruition. Freelancers can get accounts for $20 per month, while accounts for an entire set start at $2,500.

It's still early days for ProductionPro, but with a few successful big budget shoots under their belt, Libby said more people in the entertainment industry are becoming receptive to embracing technology. He said there are some "majorly huge" clients lined up that he can't yet disclose.

"You often find people on the ground can’t actually imagine what tech can do. That has been one of our great joys, going in showing people that with a touch of a button, you can save hours of your day," he said. "And you can use that brain space to create instead of [worry about] the logistics. The more we have people thinking that way, the better.”