Look around and you’ll see tons of people taking video with their smartphones. Many are novice users, some are social media gurus and a few are professional videographers. In either case, the need for simple and effective mobile gear is more important than ever.
You can get high quality smartphone video as long as you have nice composition, stable footage, great audio and proper lighting. A rig for your smartphone can help with all of that. I purchased a few items to make smartphone videography easier in certain situations. This included the Glide Gear Professional Smartphone Video Camera Rig, the Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone Kit for Smartphones and the Lume Cube Portable LED Light.
Simplicity is your friend. Many times, you have your professional camera, tripod and lighting all setup for the main shot, but you notice some great peripheral action you’d like to capture. Now it’s easy to leave your main setup alone and use your smartphone rig to capture these quick shots with good quality.
I also do a lot of corporate video. Now, I can give novices this rig and have them capture all kinds of good b-roll around the office while I focus on the main shots/interviews. Since it’s small and lightweight, I can even mail this to people so they can capture better smartphone footage remotely, which is especially important in the pandemic environment. I find it is less confusing to the novice user than a gimbal, it doesn’t require any Bluetooth connections and you get to use your own familiar phone.
Glide Gear rig
The Glide Gear rig (B&H | Amazon) is a two-handle design. Using two hands greatly cuts down on shaky footage. Constructed with aircraft aluminum, it’s very lightweight but also durable. It supports the smartphone in the middle, secured by a thumbscrew.
Its design also intuitively forces landscape mode, which cuts down on my number one pet peeve — receiving remote footage shot in portrait mode for a broadcast video! With this setup, I can perform free and easy camera moves from interesting perspectives and worry less about stability on longer shots.
The cushioned ergonomics of the handles are great. A neck strap is provided as well. Perhaps the best feature is the inclusion of multiple ¼”-20 mounts, which is where I attach the mic and lights.
Rode Microphone Audio
The Rode VideoMicro is a great durable microphone for the price. Weighing in at 1.5 ounces, it won’t affect your shot stability. The shotgun mic runs on plug-in power, so it has no controls. It uses a cardioid polar pattern to focus on sound in the front and attenuate sound from the rear, which makes the quality of audio much better than what you’d receive with a built-in camera mic.
The kit includes a detachable Rycote Lyre shockmount to inhibit vibration. The shockmount’s camera shoe mount is perfect for the middle of your Glide Gear rig.
You also get a robust furry windshield. Remember to get the kit option that includes the TRRS patch cable for smartphones and tablets. This cable is necessary to record audio to your phone via the headphone jack (the standard TRS cable will only work on cameras with microphone inputs).
Lume Cube LED light
I round out this rig with one or two Lume Cube lights. They have the option to be controlled manually for simplicity, or via Bluetooth using an app. They run on rechargeable batteries which last up to 90 minutes.
The 5600K daylight color temperature is dimmable and has a low light mode when you don’t need much light at all. Since I like solutions that have multiple uses, it is worth noting that these lights are waterproof and can be used as a still photo strobe.