Smartphone filmmaking gear is getting very smart.
As a filmmaker, you’ll know the very best piece of kit you have is you. Your mind, your decision making and your love of script and screen. It’s tough though. Choosing to be a filmmaker is a hard career to get into. The cost alone of producing a film can be huge, with actors, set design, DOP’s, VFX, gear…the list goes on. It needn’t be so expensive though, check your pocket, you have a film studio right there. Add in some swanky smartphone filmmaking gear and you’ll be picking up those awards in no time.
Tripods and Stands
Being the lone wolf that you are, you’re going to need to purchase about 17 more hands. Unless, that is, you can get your measly two hands on something to help. Fortunately for you, we have the perfect smartphone filmmaking gear to help. Below are our three recommendations for smartphone tripods and stands. Each excels in a different area but each is a great all rounder.
Sometimes the shot you want to get is just out of reach for the person behind the camera. Especially when you’re making a film with smartphones! With the Joby Gorillamobile, you can wrap those slink legs around anything to get a static shot. Of course, you can use this as a standard tripod too so it’s usually one of the first things in your smartphone filmmaking gear bag.
This mini tripod has excellent build quality and it’s made from materials that mean you’ll keep by your side for many years to come because it will last. It’s versatile, lightweight and portable with gorgeous italian styling. It has a handy yet simple locking mechanism and a universal attachment. It also comes in a range of fetching colours. Snazzy.
This Zacuto handgrip stabilization system for iPhone is perfect for shooting steady video. You can grab your phone and mount it in seconds, then take advantage of the convenient detachable cradle to move over to a slider for the next shot.
The thing is, you can have the best shot in the world but if you’re filming it through a potato, it’s going to be a sucky shot. Not that the cameras on smartphones are bad for filmmaking but these amazing lenses will make your shots look better than the competition. Depending on your budget, you can get some amazing smartphone lenses. You can opt to go for a single macro, wide or fisheye lens or if you’re feeling fruity, you can grab one of each. Of course, the latter comes with more expense but in comparison to a few years ago when the thought of making a film on your phone was the stuff of dreams, it’s still very cheap.
If you haven’t heard of Zeiss lenses then you’ve been in a bunker somewhere starting a cult, you’ve been missing out. A lot. Developed by Zeiss and ExoLens, it is the first aspherical lens for mobile. It is a Zeiss Mutar 0.6x Asph T* wide-angle lens.
A cheaper option that gives you a lot of scope to film with. This bundle comes with a fisheye lens, a 12X macro and a 24X super macro 3 in 1 lens. Nice.
There’s a reason Olloclip feature on this list more than once. They produce some very nice lenses to go along with their other very nice accessories. This 4 in 1 lens features four versatile lens options including Fisheye, Wide-Angle, 10x Macro and 15x Macro.
Sliders and Dollies
To get your shots looking better than every other muggle out there, it’s worth thinking about investing in a slider or dolly. The below three choices are all excellent choices of course, depending on what you will be wanting. A dolly will give you much more freedom to move the cart around anywhere you want. The slider though, is a wonderful piece of smartphone filmmaking gear to have in your arsenal. It comes down to personal preference, we say why not both though!
It says it all in the title really. Skater Dolly. If you’re not tempted to add this to your smartphone filmmaking gear solely for the pure joy you will get from it, then how about the fact it’s perfect for table top slider motion? You’ll be able to achieve quick and effective 360 shots in no time, with no hassle.
A dolly in your pocket? Kind of. It will almost fit in your pocket due to it’s collapsable build. So you can put this in a small pocket in your bag and forget it’s there. Until someone needs a quick slider shot, making you the hero. It comes with a universal attachment and the ability to swivel and pivot your phone.
This ultra-compact belt-driven slider is small enough to fit in your back pocket. No really, it is. It has a 6″ travel distance which might not sound like much, but let’s not forget your looking at smartphone filmmaking gear and this slider is here for a reason. It’s become very popular among mobile filmmakers for it’s ease of use, durability and all round bargainous price. It has a 10kg load capacity and it’s only 9″ Long.
To add all of your new fancy gadgets and gizmos onto your phone, you should probably get a case that can handle it all. Because let’s face it, gaffa tape will only take you so far. The following three cases all serve that purpose with the added advantage of allowing upgrades to your smartphone camera rig. So take a look, as you’re here you may aswell.
Unsurprisingly, the Olloclip cases are perfect to use with the Olloclip lenses. The studio rig is built with filmmaking in mind, you can attach a whole host of extra functionality to your phone or you can use the case to attach your phone to a tripod, grip or handles.
This case is strong and like Rocky, it can take a knock or two. It comes with everything you need to get filming straight away; Billet aluminum body, 37mm wide angle and macro combo lens and an AmpRidge mini microphone too. It even includes a case for your case. Caseception.
Another case that gives you everything you need to turn your iPad into a mobile production powerhouse. It comes with a microphone and wide angle lens too, so you really wouldn’t need anything else. Technically it’s not part of the smartphone filmmaking gear list but we think it’s a great piece of kit, so deal with it.
Hello. Can you hear me? Can you hear me clearly or is the audio muffled and incoherent? Like a drunkard on the streets at 3am. Nobody wants that. You can get away with a bad image (although your won;t need to if you’ve seen some of the lenses above) but what can’t you get away with? Bad audio. It completely takes the viewer out of your film and once that happens, they take their enjoyment with them. So don’t be that person! Get your audio game levelled up with these awesome gadgets.
Plug this into your phone for instantly better sound. It’s small and simple so you’ll hardly notice it’s there, unless you are using the windshield that it comes with, you might notice it then. It has a pass through jack input so you can listen in on headphones whilst recording to check the sound, handy!
This is a very nice option for anyone constantly filming on the move or outdoors. Or if you’re interviewing a lot and you’re a lone wolf then the lavalier microphone is perfect to attach to the interviewee so you can assured of good sound.
The MV88 is probably the best looking microphone on this list, which as you’ll agree, is important. As well as being Apple certified to work in glorious harmony with all of their products, it’s on a hinge that can push the microphone forward on backwards to have more options when shooting. It also has 5 DSP preset modes; speech, singing, flat, acoustic instrument and loud.
Everything you’ve seen so far is some remarkably fancy smartphone filmmaking gear. Now though, it’s time to get really fancy. Adding a stabilizer to your kit is something you’ll never regret. Every shot improves and it will give you so much more scope to film. Suddenly a whole world of possibilities opens up. That running shot that was tricky yesterday? It’s a breeze now, not only that but it looks amazing too.
Arguably this is the best stabilizer on the market, giving you perfect picture quality from your smartphone movie making. It’s been put through some very extreme tests and it’s always come out shining. Go for a run, attach it to your bike or even to your drone, it doesn’t matter, you’ll get great quality, non blurry, beautifully stabilized footage every time.
A great alternative to the DJI Osmo above, it’s not quite as pricey and you can use it for your GoPro too. It’s lightweight and uses it’s frictionless patented gimbal for dynamic stabilizing, straight out of the box!
This 3-axis powered (keep batteries handy) gimbal and 6-axis IMU maintains a level horizon and follows the pan & tilt motions of your wrist. Again, the durable stabilizer allows you to use a whole host of phones and cameras due to the customisable cradle.
What good is a film if you can’t see it? No good. So, let’s make sure we can see it. These lights are very different lights to each other and they aren’t necessarily going to rival lighting rigs you see in a studio. But you’re not shooting in a studio are you? You’re a maverick, a trend setter, a trailblazer! Alright, enough of the motivational speech, here’s some pocket lights..
It’s exactly like it sounds, it’s a spotlight…in your pocket! It might not give you the highest quality lighting in the world but it gives you some extra light to film with and that can make all the difference sometimes! Especially for such a cheap bit of kit.
This ultra compact and lightweight light is nothing short of amazing. It has all the standard features of a light, sure, but where this really begins to shine (see what I did there) is when you combine it with your smartphone via an app. You can program different colours, different effects and strobes. You can even make a campfire crackling glow through the app and there’s a diffuser for it too! Impressed? We are.
Featuring 24 of those glorious LED’s to light up any subject in an instant. It’s small and compact and you know, as it’s Manfrotto, it will be built well. It’s also backlit so you can adjust the settings, although the 5600° K color temperature looks lovely anyway.
So there we go, the best smartphone filmmaking gear of 2016. We know there are plenty more gadgets and gizmos to get your filthy mitts on and we’ll update this list regularly. For now, share your best gear for smartphone filmmaking with us in the comments below!