Better iPhone Video: Best Paid & DIY Accessories for Smooth, Steady Footage
Yesterday I took a look at some must-have apps for iPhone videographers wishing to get the most out of their device’s motion picture capabilities. Today it’s all about physical accessories that will improve just about every scrap of video you shoot on your iPhone.
Nothing says “professional” like a smooth and steady shot, which is by far the iPhone’s greatest weakness when it comes to capturing decent footage. Luckily the smartphone’s popularity has spawned a vast number of accessories and DIY solutions designed to improve video performance.
So if you’re looking for a way to steady your shots with money or sweat, read on.
Buy: The Glif ($20)
One of the most basic and necessary accessories a would-be videographer can buy, the Glif is a simple tripod mount and (very) basic stand for your device. It’s small, rubberized and for $20 you can secure your iPhone to any tripod or tripod mount, opening up a world of possibilities.
Mounting your iPhone on a tripod will allow you to capture steady, well-composed shots with no hand shake. A tripod adapter will also allow you to play nice with a few other accessories that require it.
Make: iPhone DIY Tripod Mount
For every paid accessory there’s a DIY hack , and there’s no shortage of tripod mount tutorials either. The video featured below is one of the easiest and cheapest DIY mounts I’ve personally seen, costing around $3.00 in total for parts and 10 minutes to make.
You can check out plenty more solutions on Instructables.
Steady Your Shots
Buy: Steadicam Smoothee (around $200) [No Longer Available]
Steadicam is an industry leader who design and manufacture thousand-dollar solutions for professional videographers to shoot silky smooth video. Not only are Steadicam systems like the Merlin and Phantom eye-wateringly expensive but you’ll also need adequate training to use one.
Enter the Steadicam Smoothee, a hand-held Steadicam system designed for use with the iPhone. It too requires some practice to use correctly, but its simplistic pivot-design won’t take too long to get your head around. The Smoothee is one of the finest products of its kind on the market, and this is reflected in the $200 price tag.
Buy: MoveeGo SteadeeGo ($70)
Not available for purchase just yet but a promising Kickstarter project that proved its worth, the SteadeeGo is an affordable alternative to the Steadicam system above. Using the same design and general approach, the SteadeeGo provides smooth iPhone video for $70.
Make: DIY iPhone/Smartphone/Compact Steadicam ($10-$30)
There are a lot of DIY digital SLR stabilizer tutorials on the web, and that’s because they’re heavier and easier to counterbalance. For an iPhone you’re going to need to use lighter materials or build an SLR rig and attach ample weighting to your iPhone.
Below is one of the original DIY solutions for stable iPhone video. It’s also one of the more technical designs, and should cost around $30 to make. If you’re serious about steady shots, saving money and making your kit then this the perfect weekend project that works like a charm.
Buy: MoveeGo SlideeGo
From the same Kickstarter project as the SteadeeGo above, the SlideeGo is a compact and affordable slider for slow, gliding shots. This is designed specifically for the iPhone and other small cameras like the GoPro Hero.
At $80 it’s only $10 more than its sister project, the SteadeeGo and for what it is it works well. The project recently received enough Kickstarter funding to start production, so expect to see this for sale in the next few months.
Make: Slip and Slide – The iPhone Slider (about $30)
If you’re particularly good with your hands then the Slip and Slide is your practical, DIY answer to an expensive slider system. Using sliding drawer fittings, bearings and patience you too can craft your own slider on the cheap.
The results (in the short, festive video above) speak for themselves, so if you’re after a cheap and effective slider check out the tutorial below.
A Mobile Rig
Buy:(starting around $150)
The OWLE Bubo is mobile, solid aluminum home for handheld shooters that need steady footage and room for accessories. The grip features four tripod mounts, a cold-shoe adapter (for lights and microphones) and its own in-built directional mic.
It also comes with a 37mm threaded wide lens which can be removed or swapped out for compatible lenses. While it’s not going to provide the smooth action of the Steadicam or MoveeGo, the Bubo has other uses when it comes to photojournalism, one-on-one interviews and movie production.
This is just a small taste of the incredible number of video enhancements out there for your iPhone. Next week we’ll take a look at improving the iPhone’s rather dismal sound quality with accessories so your videos sound as good as they look.
Have you used any of these tools? Built any of your own? Any others you’d recommend we check out? Have your say in the comments, below.