ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT FOR MOBILE VIDEO MAKERS

RECOMMENDED ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT FOR MAKING GREAT MOBILE PHONE VIDEOS WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

Since I began my Mobile Video Made Easy workshops, I have tried out a range of equipment to maximise the quality of video recordings. We can spend a fortune on equipment – and some people do!  It’s safe to say that the more you spend, the better the quality, but we don’t all have unlimited or company budgets.

Probably because I am a small company and want to offer the best value-for-money for my clients, I recommend the best priced, best quality and most essential equipment as follows:

  1. SELFIE STICK  If you only buy one piece of kit, buy a selfie stick with a universal smartphone mount on it. This will enable you to get a steadier shot, using your shoulder or just below your shoulder to stabilise it. Ideal for action shots, recording yourself or recording an interview on the go. You can buy one of the cheapest in the Tiger shops for around 8 euros or less, or here in www.argos.ie for 19 euros. These ones have a Bluetooth enabled remote button, but don’t rely on it. I’ve found that it doesn’t always work in the video mode. Despite that, they’re very useful and can be folded up to fit neatly into a handbag or briefcase. The spring mount on top works on both the bigger and smaller phones, which is useful. Use
  2. HAND-SIZED TRIPOD STAND This is a very useful piece of kit, and when I first discovered it, I found it really improved the steadiness of my recordings, as I was able to leave it on books, tables, etc, and get a good hands-free eye level recording of interviews or pieces-to-camera. I’ve been using and recommending the iStabilizer range for the past few years, but it seems they are no longer importing into Europe. So the Joly Gorillapod is a good choice, although quite small tripod stand, which fits most phone sizes. It’s got flexible legs which enables the user to put it around objects like tree poles, etc.  Particularly useful if you don’t want a Go-Pro investment, but are doing lots of outdoor recordings. Another stand I have been using a bit more recently is the Shoulderpod – there are a few versions of this, depending on how much money you want to spend. This Spanish company makes lovely wooden handled- grips for phones to put on tripods, and I recommend getting the X1, which gives you several options including just using the handle grip with a wrist band. I’ve mainly used this as an attachment on a bigger floor height tripod.
  3. FLOOR-HEIGHT TRIPOD  The standard tripod  that every photographer uses comes in a range of sizes and prices. I have used the Velbon EF-61 for some time now, with the additional mount from a Manfrotto universal mount (See below)  attached to use on the plate of the tripod. The Velbon EF-61 is widely available; I use Argos for these purchases. You will see there that there are lighter and cheaper, or heavier and more expensive tripods there as well. It’s your decision – depending on how portable you need to be in your mobile video recordings.  The Manfrotto range is one that lots of professional photographers use – for good reason. They are a bit more expensive, but they make very well-made equipment, that’s sturdy and lasts. The universal smartphone mount that can be attached to the Tripod Stand is on Amazon here and you will also see  the cheaper Mudder version.  And remember the Shoulderpod S2, handle grip only, can be attached to a tripod as well.  So which to get – the selfie stick or the Tripod Stand with the universal mount?  I’d say it depends on what you are doing – I use the Tripod  more and more with the mount, as I want interviews and testimonials. But the Tripod is a bit less portable than a selfie stick that can be easily added to your laptop or smartphone in your shoulder bag as you leave the office or home. It depends on what you are doing.
  4. MICROPHONE Yes, you can attach a microphone to your phone, which makes an enormous difference. Up to the arrival of the latest iPhone, you could attach a clip on mic via your headphone jack. If you buy the latest iphone, which I understand has an amazing camera facility, you will havee to use the attachment to ensure you have a headphone jack. Still worth it in my opinion. I use, and recommend the Rode Smartlav Plus clip on mic, for smartphones, with the SC1 extension lead.

If you want to get more tips about recording video, take a look at our free tips on our YouTube channel – VideoTraining TV.

We run regular training workshops on mobile video for journalists, digital marketing professionals and communications professionals.

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