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27 February, 2015

Best gear for mobile video journalism with a smartphone

The gear you need to produce broadcast video reports with a mobile phone 

By Robb Montgomery
Mobile video expert and founder of the Smart Film School

The subject of video gear comes up wherever I train broadcast or print reporters how to make video stories. 
This is especially true now that we are able produce broadcast quality news packages on an iPhone.

Michigan State University students make films at a workshop in Berlin
1) The bare essentials
This is what you need to start making better quality video with your mobile phone.
  • The white earbuds and mic headset Apple gave you with your iPhone.
  • A grip to mount your phone securely (The Shoulderpod S1 and UniGrip Pro are great examples of secure grips)
  • A tripod
  • FilmicPro video app
  • iMovie app
  • This 10-step training course in video production

Going pro

You will need to supplement this gear with some key equipment in order to capture broadcast quality video.

The gear I recommend as a video consultant falls into four main categories.

Note that there are many choices depending upon your expectations and budget.

Stable shots are best and to get them you will need to use a grip. I only recommend grips that securely attach to a phone and make a secure connection to a tripod or monopod. 
Avoid the cheap springy clamps that you often see attached to selfie sticks and go for a solid grip made my Manfrotto, ALM, Shoulderpod, Unigrip, or iOgrapher.

A good beginner microphone

A more rugged professional mic setup.

Sound bites, voice-over narration, and reporter stand ups (Piece to Camera) clips require a professional microphones to sound good enough to broadcast.

You can attach professional stick, lav or shotgun microphone with the IK iRig Pro. This is a great-sounding pre-amp and analog to digital converter that connects directly to your iPhone and gives amazing quality. 
It can even provide phantom power for pro condenser and is powered by a 9-volt battery. 

When you need to “illuminate your victim” you will want to use a face lamp like the Luxpad22.
This low-cost LED lamp is a winner because of the dimmer controls for intensity and color temperature. 
It can be powered with standard, low cost video batteries or AA’s.

A power bank that provides at least 10,000 MaH of recharge power rounds out the list of bare essentials in the field. 

Look for a model that provides at least one port labeled 2A or high power. This port is designed for power-hungry iPads and the big screen iPhone 6+.

More pictures and details at

Audio (Mics, adapters, interfaces) 
   Lav microphone - low cost universal
   Mini shotgun mic - DSLR

 Stands, Grips, Mounts 

   Action video light (Waterproof)
 Lenses, cameras, adapters, and other important stuff!