Many of you must have heard it already millions of times, others may still not be fully aware of it. But we live in times where everybody with a smartphone, a computer and the required software is able to create high-quality video material.
Whether small documentation of your family trip, an advertisement shot, or a full-blown film project, all of it is possible. The key to your next film project lays literally already in your pocket or on your table.
Shooting Videos With A Smartphone
Almost all of the new smartphones are already equipped with high-quality cameras of which some can capture video material in 4K.
No doubt that this incredible technology is enough for more than just random selfies.
To get the most out of your smartphone and record in the most professional way it is inevitable to get some additional gear for your device.
The aim is to create the cleanest and most creative raw material, to have a perfect basis to work with when it goes into post-production with one of the new excellent video editing programs.
In the last years in which the technology has improved a lot and shooting with smartphones became more and more popular, the amount of different gear products has increased as well.
Such a big supply provides obviously lots of interesting new inventions which can be very useful.
But let us be honest, as companies constantly try to introduce new products to the market, many unnecessary and cheap things are to be found as well.
So what equipment is really necessary to shoot high-quality material for your project? We have created a small guide about the most important equipment for your next shooting.
Lenses: Change Your Point Of View
The key to improving the brilliance of your shot and add a professional feeling to it is the lens that you use. There are quite some different options when it comes to external lenses for your smartphone.
Of course, there are some old-faithful lenses but to ensure a high variety of perspectives it is always helpful to have different types of lenses on hand.
One of the best and most useful lenses on the market is probably the 18 mm wide-angle lens of Moment.
The lens enables you to capture a greater angle of the picture and this in a way higher quality than the built-in wide-angle option on the new iPhone 11 for instance.
Compatible with all smartphones it is a must-have for shots of wide scenery like landscapes or recordings in smaller spaces.
Although it is a wide-angle lens it avoids having a strong distortion like a fish eye lens and keeps it subtle. For around $130, this lens is an affordable and effective feature.
A good lens is very important for a professional shoot with your smartphone. A good angle adds immensely to the feeling of the picture and helps you to capture your surrounding in a brilliant way.
Of course, there are many different lenses like for any camera.
Audio Recorders: Capture The Real Atmosphere
The other half of making a good film besides capturing a high-quality picture is to record the sound in a clean and brilliant way.
Nothing can be more devastating than having to work with bad sound recordings — and let us be clear, the built-in microphones are not sufficient for a high-quality video shoot.
The Videomic ME-L by the company Rhodes is an extremely useful tool for all documentary filmmakers.
The microphone is providing incredible audio quality while its directionality reduces the noise of the surroundings and focusing on what you are filming.
Like most of the external microphones, it connects simply with a 3.5mm jack to your headphone output.
Another option is the Samson Go Mic Mobile Lav Mic which has the great advantage of being wireless. The device is a bit bigger and more expensive than the Rhodes Mic, but its flexibility and range speak for themselves.
Good sound quality is inevitable for every film production and it makes lots of sense to invest in one external microphone.
Stabilization: The Key To Smooth Movements
While many of the bigger cameras are easier to hold, filming with a smartphone in one hand may not always be that easy and often shots appear to be very shaky and blurry.
This is why an external stabilizer is a helpful tool for moving scenes. Prices here can vary and hit different price ranges but not all of them are worth the money.
The Chinese company DJI has come up with some innovative and inexpensive solutions to stabilize your phone while shooting. The Osmo Mobile 3 for instance does more than just eliminate the shake of your picture.
While its dynamic design provides you with a comfortable grip the stabilizer convinces with a number of additional features such as the Active Tracking mode which makes the camera automatically follow a selected object in the picture.
Furthermore, the gear is light, foldable, and fits in every pocket. Ideal for spontaneous shots.
As video material shot with a smartphone is mostly very shaky and easily identified as phone videos, a stabilizer can be incredibly helpful for shots in motion.
Tripod: Steady Shots Everywhere
You may not always be in a company or having a friend on hand who can film you. This is why a tripod is a great tool for shooting yourself and getting steady shots in general.
Many filming techniques like time-lapse require a steady camera and no hand can be calm enough for that.
The Joby GripTight Pro Video tripod is an excellent solution to set up your camera at every possible place.
The so-called GorillaPod is extremely light and flexible and fits into every small bag.
Due to its flexible legs, it finds hold on any kind of surface and is ideal for spontaneous and quick shooting — all of that for an inexpensive price of around $50.
Especially for time-lapse and those who work mostly alone, a handy and light tripod is very important. Also here you can find a big variety of different options. We have selected the best lightweight tripods of 2021.
All in all, it must be said that additional gear such as external lenses, audio recorders, stabilizers, and tripods can be extremely useful for creating high-quality video content with your smartphone.
Many products may not be very necessary but a kit of basic equipment will make your life a lot easier.
For those who like to play around even more external gear like Filter and special cases can be a way to get an even more individual touch to your work.