Trying to make quality videos but don’t own a camera? Unleash the filmmaking potential of your phone with these top gear picks.
One of the biggest obstacles in filmmaking is accessing the right gear. Gear is expensive, and it usually takes significant investments before you begin making returns from gigs.
Before you head out to buy an expensive DSLR, there’s one thing you should try first—your phone. Most phones nowadays have superior-quality cameras that you can use in semi-professional circumstances.
Just look at the ad below, which was filmed on the iPhone 13.
Here, we’ll explore a few pieces of gear you can add to your phone to increase production value without handing over the big bucks for gear you won’t end up using.
Regardless of your phone make or model, there’s a Moment lens waiting for you. Attaching to custom cases depending on the model of your phone, these lenses are simply the best quality around for mobile setups.
I’ve tried a few options now and just keep going back to the Moment lineup. I think consistency is critical, and they’re constantly updating the cases to fit new phone releases. Also, pound-for-pound, they’re the best glass on the market for the quality you receive.
The BeastGrip Pro is a phone camera adapter that will take your cinematography game to the next level. This rig provides you with a stable shot and room for attaching lenses.
The BeastGrip squeezes your phone inside the cage instead of fitting it inside a conventional case so that any phone will work. Just think of this as a camera cage for your phone, allowing you to build it out with microphones, filters, and whatever else your heart desires.
Zhiyun Smooth 5 Gimbal
Are you looking for smooth, cinematic gimbal shots but can’t afford the typical price point for this gear? Well, the Smooth 5 Gimbal from Zhiyun is a solid choice for creating those buttery smooth sequences you’ve been yearning for.
We talk a lot about “shooting cinematically” around these parts. Still, the thing is, these companies like Zhiyun and DJI have gotten so good at making these consumer-friendly products that “shooting cinematically” is possible.
Like any standard gimbal, the Smooth 5 stabilizes your phone during shooting, which is excellent for follow-shots or polished pans and tilts.
Microphones for Your Phone
All filmmaking professionals will tell you that audio quality always comes before camera quality. I’ve said this at least 500,000 times on this blog, and I’ll repeat it. The first thing you notice about a lousy video is terrible audio.
In the video above, you can see the many options now available to us as filmmakers. Whether you’re using an iPhone or Android, there are many different ways to connect the mic to your phone. Attach it to the top of your cage, use it as an interview mic, set it up for vlogging or tutorial videos—whatever you may need.
Also, I just want to give a shout out that the built-in iPhone microphone is incredible and has no right to be that good.
There are hundreds of different phone tripods and stands that you can find almost anywhere—even a neighborhood corner store. However, I think one specific model is worth investing in, or at least considering, and that’s the Peak Design tripods.
Their classic aluminum or carbon fiber model tripod comes with a phone holder inside it, so it pulls double duty for anyone who already needs a regular photo tripod.
I think if your plan is to make the leap to digital or film photography from mobile, this tripod could act as the perfect bridge, allowing you to make use of both features at some point on your journey.
Cover image via Carl DMaster.