Your phone is the main piece of equipment that you'll need however a few affordable items can really help you get the most out of it.
Below are some items that we use all of the time with explanations about why we use each one and links to purchase them on Amazon.co.uk.
If you’re near Cork, Ireland then I would highly recommend that you visit Barker Photographic. If you’re near Dublin, then try Conns Cameras. Both stores stock amazing mobile video equipment and will be able to give you invaluable advice to make sure you’re getting the right gear for your own needs.
The Basic Kit
The first and most important piece of equipment that we recommend you invest in is a microphone.
Studies show that sound quality is more important than video quality to your audiences enjoyment and retention rates. And so a good quality microphone is a must-have.
Rode mics are used to capture TV and Film sound so I was really delighted when they released the Rode Smart Lav+.
And while the sound is excellent and the design is neat, the length of the cable (45.5″ / 115.6 cm / a little over a meter) is too often too short for a nice interview shot. However, there is an extension cable.
When buying a tripod, it's important to pay attention to the max height. If we are filming ourselves or others standing up, we want to make sure the camera is at eye level, so height matters.
This Victiv Tripod is 72-inches - just over 6ft or 185cm so it works for most people.
The tripod comes with a phone clamp included and you can also use it with bigger cameras, giving plenty of options.
It's lightweight and sturdy but better yet it doubles up as a monopole (like a tripod with one leg). Monopoles are a great addition to your kit as you can move around easier with them as well as get shots from a height.
Carrying around lights and getting access to a power source can really put pressure on the filming stage.
These days I’m happy once I have a light reflector in my pack. You would be surprise at how much natural sun you can bounce off the sun onto yourself or another person especially using the gold and silver sides of this reflector.
When folded out the Neewer 32 Inch (5 in 1) almost reaches my hip and when closed down it will neatly fit in a backpack.
If you don’t want to invest in lights, then I would highly recommend one of these so that you can customise how your shots look.
If you’re using Zoom then you may have already tried out the virtual backgrounds and found that the look just isn’t what you’re going for.
In order to get virtual backgrounds to look great, you’ll need a great webcam (try using your phone camera with the Reincubate Camo software), excellent lighting (make sure to face a window and benefit from all of that natural light) and a green screen.
This green screen is excellent as it’s large enough to fill the background, you can fold it up and store it away and it also doubles up to give you a nice plain grey background also.
The Rode SC1 Cable is an extension cable for the Smart Lav+. Although I don’t love having to carry around this extra bit of kit and it’s very long and annoying to untangling, it’s a must-have!
It’s solid and it will give you more flexibility, for example, if you’re filming someone speaking from a podium and need to run the cable a few meters and still get great sound.
Ring lights can add a nice soft light when you’re presenting to the camera. This one comes with a stand that is high enough for most people to adjust it to eye level when they are standing.
There is a clamp to place your phone in the centre of the ring and the neck is adjustable so you can easily tilt the light too.
There are various levels of brightness and you can adjust the colour temperature to suit the scene you’re in.
It’s USB operated so if you already have a battery pack you will be able to use it anywhere. Alternatively, you can plug it into a laptop, desktop or USB plug.
BASIC RING LIGHT
Next Level Audio
Cables can get in the way especially if you’re filming a wide shot of someone speaking or a person speaking from a podium. The RØDE Wireless Go is a great solution.
The transmitter can clip onto the person speaking but it’s quite big and noticeable. However, you can plug in the RODE Smart Lav+ or another lavaliere mic (you’ll also need to purchase an adapter) and then hide the transmitter behind them and run the lav cable up through their clothes and disguise it.
You or your interviewee can roam freely as the receiver plugs directly into the phone (SC7 Adapter required with the iPhone) so you can record excellent sound on the move.
WIRELESS MIC FOR 1
The RØDE Wireless GO II is the next level from the original GO line. It includes a single receiver and two transmitters. That means that you can mic up and record two people's audio into the same phone or laptop.
While these are more expensive than the original Wireless Go kit, they can pick up at a greater distance and they also record sound directly to their internal storage.
These will work great if you're going live with a two-person interview. You could lock the camera off on a tripod and keep the shot wide or you could have a camera person moving freely between the two subjects.
WIRELESS MICS FOR 2
The is my go-to on-camera mic and it produces broadcast quality, exceptional sound. ‘Shotgun mics’ pick up the sound from where they are pointed to, so if you can keep it within a few feet and point it at your mouth the quality of the sound will be excellent – even with noises from traffic or other sources in the background.
It’s a bit pricey compared to a lot of the other products that we recommend but it’s so worth it. If you are at an event and need to get multiple interviews fast, then you can attach this mic to phone clamps with a cold shoe mount on top or you could attach it to a boom pole and hold it just outside of the top of the frame when interviewing.
We can justify the price further as you can also connect it to your computer via USB and use it for video conferences, webinars and podcasts.
Audio Accessories and Cables
If you plan to interview people on camera, this is a super piece of kit for around €30. The INTERVIEWGO It is just a casing so you’ll need to already have the RØDE Wireless Go Microphones in your kit.
But with this handheld Adapter, you can place the Wireless Go transmitter into the casing and cover it with the wind protector and voila, you have a professional sounding and looking wireless handheld mic… just like TV.
If you don’t like the look of the Rode logo on the wind protector, you can use a black sharpy to colour it out. You could also look into buying wind protectors with your brands logo printed on.
HANDHELD MIC ADAPTER
The RØDE Mini-Boompole is a lightweight, high grade professional boom pole. With this you can mount certain microphone securely to the top of it and then hold it out of frame over the person speaking’s head. You can then point it in the direction of your sound source and move with the person speaking.
You may need an extra set of hands to hold and move the boom pole, keeping it out of shot during filming, but this is a great way to record multiple speakers with just one microphone as you can move it between them.
This Lightning to 3.5mm audio adapter will allow you to use your iPhone with regular 3.5mm jack microphones as well as headphones.
This one costs about €10 and is supplied by Apple.
iPHONE JACK ADAPTER
Unless you’re using an advanced camera app, like Filmic Pro, that allows you to monitor sound while you’re recording, this adaptor won’t be much use to you as most camera apps don’t allow you to listen and record sound at the same time.
However with an professional camera app, this Rode SC6 adapter can be your best friend. You can plug in one or two microphones and one set of headphones so while you’re filming you can listen and monitor your sound while recording.
So for example, if there’s any audio interference such as airplanes flying overhead or tapping on the microphone, you’ll be able to. stop recording, fix the issue and start filming again. This can save you a lot of headaches in the end.
iPhone and iPads are TRRS compatible devices but many mics are compatible with TRS devices so you may need a Rode SC7 patch cable if you plan to film using with the Rode Shotgun Mic or the Rode Wireless Mic.
It’s easily fitted by inserting the TRS (black) jack into the Rode Mics and the TRRS end (grey) into the mobile device.
PHONE PATCH CABLE
TRS stands for ‘tip, ring, sleeve’, and is the kind of connector you find on cameras and other audio gear. They are easy to identify as they only have two black rings on the plug.
TRRS stands for ‘tip, ring, ring sleeve’ and is the kind of connector you find on computers and mobile devices. These have three black rings on the mini jack and carry two signals – the output for the headphones and also the input from a microphone, such as the mic built into your earbuds.
If you’re planning to use the Rode Smart Lav with one the Rode Wireless Go kits you’ll need this adapter. The SmartLav sports a TRRS connection, which makes it compatible with most smartphones however the Wireless Go kits are TRS.
TRRS TO TRS ADAPTOR
Next Level Lighting
This 19-inch Neewer Ring Light ensures even light distribution with no face shadows and that lovely round glow in the eyes. It comes with plenty of control options and includes accessories that will make using cameras and mobile phones simple.
The Colour Rendition Index (CR)) is approx. 95. You can adjust the colour temperature from 3200K-5800K freely, and adjust the brightness range from 0%-100%.
The stand height reaches 64 inches or 162cm or 5ft3 without the ring light, making it perfect for standing up and speaking to the camera. It is mains powered but you can also purchase separate batteries if required.
19 INCH RING LIGHT
For years, we used cheaper lights and they did the job well. But once we bought a couple of Aputure AL-MX Mini LED Video Lights, there was no going back.
These are powerful enough for so many different situations, they’re robust, reliable and have never let us down.
Other Handy Items
The LaCie Rugged Mini 2 TB External Hard Drive is portable, hardy and compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
It is Drop Shock Dust and Rain Resistant. It will work on Mac and PC when formatted correctly.
We store all of our video projects and footage on hard drive. We usually buy two at the same time and use one as the 'main' hard drive and the other as a 'back up' hard drive. Just remember to schedule regular back ups. Software like Carbon Copy Cloner can be helpful for this.
The large FUDESY Backdrop Stand is 10x10Ft / 3x3m and has adjustable height and length.
You can use this to hand cloth or paper roll backgrounds. And it's always good to have extra stands around to support your phone clamp or even your lighting.
This is a super affordable solution and comes with a carry bag as well as clamps.
The DECARETA Correction Gel Light Filters includes 14 Overlays with 7 Colors including yellow, pink, purple, orange, blue, red, and green.
If you're looking to add more color to your backgrounds, you can cover a regular light with these gels and create instantly cool looking effects.
GELS FOR LIGHTS
Next Level Creations & Gifts
The YOSH IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case is a super cheap but super fun option for underwater filming. We have tested this out underwater to capture jellyfish and waves crashing on the phone.
But remember this is a cheap option and can't guarantee that water won't get on your phone so beware.
There are much more expensive and probably reliable cases but for a fun gift option or creative filming ideas, we have found this fun!
UNDER WATER CASE
The DJI OM 5 Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer is a lightweight and versatile tool that allows you to create super-smooth video and perfect pans and tilts. It also comes with automatic tracking so you can move and it will follow you.
And what I really love about this gimbal is that you can plug a mic into the bottom of the phone. Some other gimbals block this port so watch out for that with cheaper alternatives.