Complete smartphone kit – a bargain for professional video
So you want to shoot professional video with your smartphone, but don’t know where to start?
You’ve come to the right place.
We’ve compiled a list of affordable accessories for those of you looking to up your video game – for under $100.
With the gear outlined below, you’ll be producing better smartphone video than ever before – straight out of the gate.
Disclaimer – we are not paid or provided with any incentives by these companies. We just use and like their gear.
You won’t need all of these (some are interchangeable), but you DO need:
- A tripod
- A mount that fits your phone to the tripod
- An external mic
Boya BY-M1 – under $40 AUD
This sub-$40 lav mic plugs directly into your smartphone and runs on phantom power (unless you’re using it with a DSLR, in which case you’ll need batteries).
The six-metre cable can be painful (think knots – and lots of them), but necessary when you want to put a little distance between your phone and your subject.
Simply switch to ‘smartphone’ mode, run it up the shirt or inside the jacket of the person on-camera, and clip it onto their lapel or shirt neck.
This will produce much clearer and more isolated audio of their voice, minimising background noise and the tinny sound typically captured by smartphones.
Our number 1 recommendation for smartphone audio recording.
RODE VideoMicro shotgun mic – under $100 AUD package
A serviceable mic from a big industry player.
Comes with a mini deadcat to mitigate wind noise outdoors, but you’ll need to purchase an adaptor for an additional $15 to ensure it works with your smartphone.
Good when used up close, but a little weak on the pick-up.
Always prefer the BOYA lav mic, but if you’re going to be shooting in poor weather outside, this can be more practical.
TRIPODS, CASES AND MOUNTS
Universal smartphone mount – under $5
The cheapest – and one of the most important – parts of your smartphone videography kit.
Pick up one of these babies, screw it onto your tripod and slot your phone in. Easy done.
Without a universal mount, you won’t be able to use your phone with a tripod… which is essential for any professional production.
Nobody likes shaky video where people’s heads are cut off.
Flexible tripod – under $20
We use these sub-$20 tripods for indoor and outdoor shoots, and they’re perfect for stabilising your lightweight smartphone.
The adjustable legs provide additional flexibility and options when it comes to mounting and framing up.
You really don’t need anything fancier than this when you’re shooting with your smartphone.
Granted, you’ll need to shoot on a higher plane for some interviews where your subject is standing, but you can usually find a surface upon which to sit this tripod.
iOgrapher smartphone case – $80AUD for iPhone 6 & 7
These are cooool. Why?
- They screw onto your tripod, so you don’t need one of those eBay mounts listed above.
- You can fit third-party (and iOgrapher) lenses to them, essentially transforming your phone into a mini-DSLR. The possibilities are near endless – grab a macro lens to shoot extremely close-up, a telephoto when you’re far away, or a wide angle to fit it all in. And the lenses are pretty cheap too – from $60 AUD each.
- If you’re shooting without a tripod, the iOgrapher case will dramatically improve the stability of your shots thanks to its side-mounted handles.
Very versatile piece of kit, and well worth considering.
FiLMiC Pro – $15
Want to get really serious with your smartphone videography?
Ditch the built-in app and grab a copy of FiLMiC Pro.
This awesome app gives you granular control over exposure, focus, video quality (higher than the default in your phone) and much more.
Has a learning curve, but worth the time investment.
Granted, it’s a short list, but if you invest just a little in your smartphone videography, it will immediately pay dividends in terms of picture and audio quality.
Use this as a starting point and see what works for you, and where you feel you could use some further assistance from accessories.
Building out your kit can actually be quite addictive – happy shooting!