This page I hope will be useful and insightful concerning equipment used with mobile video and audio recording.
We are in unprecedented times right now with Covid 19 and so many people around the world are being financially hit beyond measure and losing their jobs. We all need to keep a check on our money and so buying top end gear is not what this page is about - this is about how you can get started and in time when life gets back to normal you can then explore other options.
So this page is dedicated to the basics needed in order to create some fun, interesting and better quality mobile video content whilst many of us are in lockdown.
My heart goes out to everyone that has been affected by this virus. So more than ever its so important to keep the mind busy, learn some new skills, share with members of your home. Stay safe
mobile phone tripod mount
Get a small rig - This will allow you to get your phone attached to a tripod. I'll talk about tripods later. Having a small rig offers you a lot more options in how to set up the frame of your shot and most importantly keep it steady if you are in front of the camera. Whether you are talking to camera, dancing around the room, home cooking or telling bedtime stories...and of course there's a lot more that could be listed but you get the idea.They all come with a 1/4 screw thread to attach to any tripod. Also this particular model can be used in landscape or portrait mode.
SEARCH ONLINE for Mobile Phone Tripod Mount.
Average Price: £6 - £10
Mini smartphone tripod grip
If you don't have a tripod or decide to not purchase one at this time then that's fine. You can get a small desk top tripod and grip. It serves two actions, firstly you can use it on a desktop or book shelf to steady your shot or like the picture demonstrates use it as a grip for hand held recording which again will minimise any shaking in the image.
A very useful tool for video calling, blogging, demonstrating and if you have kids this would be perfect for any table top animations.
SEARCH ONLINE for Mini Smartphone Tripod Grip Stabilizer
Average Price: £8 - £13
SMARTPHONE HAND HELD RIG
These very affordable rigs have multiple use and can make a huge difference to some basic video recoding set ups.
So firstly its a hand held rig - anything that removes your hands from the mobile with a firm grip offers great steady pan and movement shots. Great if you are at home and need someone in the house to hold it for you. If you are at home alone then it works great by placing on a bookshelf, table, cabinet because the rig has a flat base making it easy to balance it.
Secondly it connects to any tripod you have or want to buy.
Thirdly it has cold shoe mounts. These are small sliding slots on top of the rig (just like a DSLR) to attach a microphone and a light.
Most importantly by just using it in your hands it makes you move differently and view your screen differently - this will make sense when you start practising with one.
SEARCH ONLINE for Smartphone hand held rig
Average price £15 - £18
Tripods are very useful in many situations whether you are doing a tutorial, demonstrating, vlogging, animation, dance, performing and the list goes on.
Depending on how you intend to use a tripod also can dictate the cost difference.
A photographic tripod is fine to use if you don't intend to move, pan, tilt the mobile phone whilst recording - because you can't - there not designed to move.
A video tripod is more expensive but this is because it has a fluid head - this means when you mount the mobile phone onto it you can do smooth pan and tilt shots whilst recording.
I can see a lot of use for a photographic tripod but my tip would be to spend a bit extra and get a proper video tripod - why? because it does both. Static locked shots and fluid movement if required.
SEARCH ONLINE for Fluid Head Video Tripod, or Photographic tripod.
Average price PHOTOGRAPHIC TRIPOD
£20 - £30
£50 - £90
How to get the best out of audio. Well, I could get really in-depth about this and probably put you to sleep, so what are the key basics to think about.
If you don't have an external mic to plug in that's fine- there a couple of things you can do.
Firstly using the built in mic on your mobile is ok (not great) and depending on level of background noise you should make sure that the mobile phone is fairly close to you. Now if you decide to set up your shot as wide angle shot of the whole room and you are talking, the sound isn't going to be great. So when ever you can keep the mobile phone at least 2 metres to you.
If you have a pair of headphones with a volume control on it - these work brilliantly for talking and give much better clearer sound when you plug them in and record video.
You can get fairly cheap lapel mics - mics that will clip onto your shirt/top and plug directly into the mobile phone (please note if you use an iPhone you must make sure you have the 3.5mm jack to lightening adapter. With most android models you can plug directly.
The TAKSTAR directional mic is not broadcast quality but it is very good and especially for the price. If you need a general good sound of a room/space you are in (better than the mobile phone built in mic) then this is worth gettting. An example of this...you are doing an online tutorial, you need to move around in a space, so you cant use a lapel cable mic because the mobile phone will probably fall over so the directional mic will be good for this - delivering clearer, better sound of the space. Not amazing but works.
WORKS ON SMARTPHONES AS WELL AS DSLR
SEARCH ONLINE for Takstar directional mic
Average Price £24 - £26
Headphones with volume control
3.5mm adapter to lightening
If you don't have any lights to hand then use a reflector (silver side). How? Use the natural light from any window and use a reflector to bounce more light onto your subject. It really works and can make a huge difference to the overall image quality and getting more light onto your subject - whether its a talking head shot or a product shot.
SEARCH ONLINE for photographic reflectors
Average price £10 - £30
If you don't have a reflector or can't purchase one at the moment - then no fear because kitchen foil works - tear off a sheet and hold it near to a window and you will see how much it can bounce more light into an area of the room you are recoding - it works so try it out.
Average price £2
LED video lights are great. The range available is massive and endless and can become a bit of a mind melt as to which one to go with. To be honest lighting is a whole other session in its self in understanding how to work with it and get the best outcomes on a mobile phone. But there are some basics you can work with that gets you started.
If you are starting out and need a bit of extra light for a talking head, a simple product shot, or recording in very low light and need an extra boost of light then go with a basic 160 LED video light - what is 160? thats the amount of LED bulbs within the light. So when you search on line the higher the number the more power in light source you get.
I could start getting deep about colour temperature, white balance etc but thats not needed if you are starting out. LED lights are now designed brilliantly to adjust to colour temperature so for now just go with the flow, you'll soon pick it up as you practise.
SEARH ONLINE for LED Video Light
Be warned - they can be cheap because they may not include the battery or charger. Its always best to try and get a package deal.
Average price £30 - £45
FREE TUTORIAL VIDEO-how to get started
So I hope you found this information useful. Please share it, follow me on twitter, instagram-you can find me as gofilmit. Please check out the video that gives some basic tips about how to set up your shots using a smartphone.