Professionals normally use DLSR cameras or expensive, bulky camcorders to produce cinematic footage. And if you’re hoping to give videography a try, the price tags on these cameras, as well as cinema lenses and other video recording accessories, can be pretty discouraging. However, you can always make use of what you already have—your handy iPhone.
Today’s iPhones are packed with some of the most advanced imaging technologies and remarkable camera features, on top of being a trusty multi-purpose mobile device. In fact, not only are the latest iPhones capable of capturing great photos, they can now record cinema-quality 4K video.
With a couple of high-tech and innovative smartphone accessories, you can turn your very own smartphone into a professional video camera machine and realize your passion and potential in videography.
Essential Gear for iPhone Videography
Gear up for your next film project with these essential iPhone filmmaking equipment. To help you get started, we’ve also listed down a few specific products that you may want to check out. Some of these may still seem expensive, but they’re definitely a lot more affordable than professional video recording equipment:
- Video Rig Case
- Accessory Lenses
- Gimbal Stabilizer
Video Rig Case
The first thing you’ll need to get for your iPhone is a durable case that will protect it while providing ease in video camera operations. Video rig cases generally work with other equipment, like tripods and lenses, so you can start creating your full video camera setup with it.
A case like the VidPro Melamount Professional Multimedia Rig () is a sturdy tool that features two flip-out handles that allow you to firmly grip and hold the camera rig steady while filming. It also has a socket for your tripod, cold-shoe mounts for your wireless accessories, a bubble level to keep panning shots leveled, and a built-in lens bezel for easy attachment of additional lenses.
This best-selling accessory works for the iPhone 6 and 6s, but there are versions for the iPhone 7 () as well as for the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus ().
Fortunately, the latest iPhones (8, 8 Plus, and X) have been upgraded with camera sensors and double lenses for capturing both wide-angle and telephoto shots. You can also achieve both by simply adding clip-on lenses to earlier iPhone models.
Other accessory lenses also offer macro and fisheye views, in case you want variety in your shots. This means no more oversized and bulky lenses just to be able to do more with your smartphone camera.
However, don’t just purchase any other lens accessory. For professional quality videos, you’ll need higher quality and more durable lenses that can help you capture crystal-clear video.
You can try the popular Olloclip Active Lens for the 6/6s/6 Plus/6s Plus (), which allows you to connect an Ultra-Wide lens for “action camera shots,” panoramic landscapes, or group selfies that include more of the scene, and quickly switch to the Telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom for extra reach. It’s pocket-sized, can work on both the front and rear-facing cameras, and comes with 3 wearable pendants so you can have your lenses with you at all times. You can also enjoy the same results on bigger iPhones with the Olloclip Active Lens for the iPhone 7/7 Plus/8/8 Plus ().
The most difficult feat when it comes to shooting with your smartphone, aside from achieving a variety of shots, is stabilizing your device to shoot amazing video. After all, smooth and steady shots are what sets professional videos apart from amateur results.
You don’t need a huge and expensive tripod to shoot your video. You can actually make use of your existing tripod with the help of a separate smartphone rig case with a tripod mount underneath it. Or if you want a much smaller one, you can opt for the Joby GripTight GorillaPod (), which can stand on uneven surfaces and keep your iPhone steady on signposts, branches, and other objects with the help of its flexible and bendable grippy rubber legs. Most of all, it has a micro ball video head that allows 360-degree panning, a tiny pan bar for a more handy operation, and 135-degree tilting in one direction.
If you want the convenience of being able to move around while keeping your footage stable and blur-free, you can opt for a more high-tech gimbal stabilizer, which is capable of holding the camera and eliminating unwanted shaky and sudden camera movements with its motors and weights, making your final product look more polished, cinematic, and professional.
A good example is the Zhiyun Smooth Q 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer (), which is arguably even better than the more popular DJI Osmo as it offers a wider control range for panning, rolling, and tilting. It’s lightweight, powerful, and effectively stabilizes your iPhone shots. It also offers unlimited 360-degree rotation for panning shots, allows vertical for panoramic video capture with a quick change of the smartphone orientation on the device, and comes with quick controls for zooming, start and stop recording, and switching between filming modes, which include subject tracking. Definitely worth checking out for more professional results!
Another tool that is capable of transforming your videos is light. As a main element in both photography and videography, light can help you set a particular mood and highlight certain details in your frame, aside from simply brightening your scene.
For DIY projects, you can basically use any kind of external light source, from lamps and flashlights to small, mountable smartphone lights. You’ll find that some cheaper alternatives work just as well as the more professional and expensive ones, so the one you need really depends on your desired output and how much control you want over your lighting.
If you’re looking for something more adaptable, one of the most popular lighting tools for smartphone use is the iBower Professional LED Video Light (), which is packed with 50 powerful LED lights in its lightweight, 1-centimeter thick rectangular body. It offers 8 power levels, so you can light up a variety of scenes throughout the day for as long as 18 hours straight.
The iBower LED video light also comes with an orange warming plate, blue cooling plate, and white diffusing plate. It’s highly versatile and can be paired with your iPhone, tablets, and other devices, including DSLRs, compact digital cameras, and rig cases via the included cold shoe adapter.
To complete your iPhone videography gear kit, you’ll need an external microphone that can record higher quality audio to match your amazing videos—from interviews, vlogs, to realistic films. You have a lot of options to choose from, including lapel mics, on-device mics, and wireless mics.
The Shure MOTIV MV88 Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone () is designed to capture and deliver clear, high-quality sound. Simply plug its Lightning connector into your iPhone and position the pivoting and rotating mic towards the source of the sound. Your iPhone will instantly use it to capture real-life audio once you start recording with your audio or video recording app. Customize your sound with advanced control over EQ, stereo width, modes for speech and music, and more with the free ShurePlus™ MOTIV™ Mobile Recording app.
Once you’re done filming, you can simply edit and create your videos using a good video editing app or export your videos and use a professional video editing program on your computer to create your first iPhone video masterpiece.
Ready to build your iPhone filmmaking equipment kit? Check out the recommended products mentioned above, or explore your other videography gear options here on Adorama!