Emergency Operations Center/Joint Information Center Livestreaming Essentials
Here is the equipment I specifically use and recommend for creating a perfect livestreaming studio you can set up in the JIC or EOC to communicate effectively with video in an emergency.
This is the exact gear I used in the City of Santa Rosa Emergency Operations Center to create more than 28 videos and livestreams during the disastrous northern California wildfires that destroyed more than 3,000 homes and businesses within city limits and forced tens of thousands to evacuate.
(Note: These are all affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission. However, you will not pay a cent more, and in some cases, such as with Arkon products, you will save money with exclusive discounts offered to me that I can pass along to you!).
Smartphone Mounts and Camera Support for the EOC/JIC as Well As Mobile Field Production
Arkon Mounts "TW Broadcaster" Livestreaming Products
RECOMMENDATION: Optional, but useful for specific situations. I would get one of these for your kit. This sticks to windows, smooth doors, car roofs, and any smooth surface. Arkon Mounts makes an amazing, wide-ranging selection of high-quality phone and tablet mounts. They are huge supporters of the live streaming community. Their TW Broadcaster series has many mounting and desk stand options; this is only one example that I've pictured. Get a big 20% discount by using my coupon code KERRY20 View and order on Arkon's site
Square Jellyfish Tripod Mount for Smartphones
RECOMMENDATION: Optional if you already own a mount, like the one on the Benro mini tripod below. But still, this is a terrific tripod mount to keep with you for your smartphone. It fits on any tripod and allows you to orient your smartphone horizontally or vertically depending on what the video shoot or live stream broadcast requires. (I've linked to the metal version, which has threads that won't strip out over time like the plastic version does.) View and order on Amazon
Benro Mini Telescoping Selfie Stick Tripod With Bluetooth Remote
RECOMMENDATION: Essential. Buy one or two of these for your video team. This totally lets you McGyver just about any video need in a crisis! It's a solid compact tripod base with smartphone mount, but it's got a secret: a telescoping selfie stick hidden in the middle! Place it on a table at an event, telescope it to eye level, and you're livestreaming or recording a professional interview in a flash! It also has a bluetooth remote so you can start and stop your video camera or take a photo. It's a total steal at this price. View and order on Amazon
Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal
RECOMMENDATION: Get this one OR the new Benro listed below, depending on your needs. A smartphone gimbal lets you shoot silky, steadicam-like shots. The Zhiyun Smooth 4 has a big knob on the left side that allows you to control focus or zoom (it's switchable) when you record through the Smooth 4's app! I have gotten awesome, smooth zooms and rack-focus effects using it. Coupled with a tripod mount, mini-tripod, up to 12-hour battery life, and many other controls, it’s a great deal at about $119.
CONS: One of the motors blocks the Lightning port on iPhones, so you can’t plug in an external lavaliere microphone or wireless. For a better alternative that does not block the Lightning port, get the Benro below. View and order on Amazon
NEW!!!!! Benro 3XS. THIS IS MY BEST RECOMMENDED GIMBAL. Allows for a plug-in microphone! 24-hour battery life. Folding top arm. View and order on Amazon
Video Light Options for the JIC/EOC
Select one of these dimmable, bi-color LED lights. The square light is the one I used in the Santa Rosa EOC during the fire activation. The 18" ring light has a smartphone mount in the middle of it (not pictured) so it can serve as a tripod for your phone also. But it can't pan light a tripod. It is fine for stationary shots where the camera doesn't need to move.
Fovitec StudioPRO Bi-Color Dimmable LED Studio Light
RECOMMENDATION: A great option Or, get a ring light (below). Sometimes not in stock on Amazon. This is the exact light I brought to the Santa Rosa EOC and used during the fire communications effort. This is a 12" x 12" dimmable, bi-color studio light. Bi-color means you can adjust the "color temperature" of the light from cool outdoors to warm indoors to match lighting conditions and needs. The dimmers let you dial in just the right blend and amount of light. Don't forget to get a light stand, sold separately, below. View and order on Amazon
Neewer Stainless Steel Light Stand
RECOMMENDATION: Buy one of these. This is a good looking, well built light stand to hold the Fovitec StudioPRO light. Adjustable height ranges from 39 inches to 114 inches. Its solid locking capabilities ensure the safety of your lighting equipment when in use. View and order on Amazon
Dracast 18" LED Ring Light
RECOMMENDATION: Buy one of these. This is a lightweight, dimmable portable 18" ring light that renders soft shadowless light. You can mount your smartphone or tablet in the middle of the light with the included smartphone mount so your face is beautifully lit for livestreaming as you look at the camera. Ring lights are widely used and loved throughout the livestreaming community. It is designed for stationary applications where the camera is placed into position and doesn't move, such as when you're doing a direct-to-camera update or announcement. View and order on Amazon
Microphone Options for Livestreams and Smartphone Video Production
The YouMic Interview Set
RECOMMENDATION: Essential. This is excellent for your communications toolkit. It’s a wired smartphone lavalier microphone that comes with a 6.5-foot cords. The sound quality is great and it comes with two mics and splitter so you can interview a guest and you each can wear a mic. View and order on Amazon
Rode “Wireless Go” Wireless Mic System (***Kerry's Favorite Wireless!)
The new (April 2019) Rode “Wireless Go” wireless mic system is my new favorite because of its high quality, high reliability, and low cost ($199). The transmitter and receiver are incredibly small and lightweight, yet the built-in batteries power it for 7 hours. Use it with a video camera or DSLR as-is, or add a TRS-to-TRRS adapter cable and use it with your smartphone. Audio quality is fantastic. The transmitter clips to your lapel and features a built-in mic, but it also has a mic jack to add a lavalier mic. View and order on Amazon
NOTE: You ALSO need THIS ADAPTER and THIS CABLE so the Rode Wireless Go will work with your smartphone. The cables it comes with are for use with a standard video camera. And of course, if you have an iPhone 7 or newer, you need the Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter from Apple. (Do not buy a knockoff on Amazon. They often don’t work.)
Rode SC6 Dual Microphone Input Device
RECOMMENDATION: Buy one of these. The inexpensive alternative to a microphone mixer. This allows you to use two smartphone mics with your phone or tablet at the same time. It has two smartphone microphone inputs, and a headphone output. Please note that, due to its design, you will likely need to remove your case from your device to ensure that the plug on the SC6 properly seats with the audio jack on your device. Or, better yet, get a TRRS extension cable (below) to use with it. View and order on Amazon
8-foot TRRS Microphone Extension Cord
RECOMMENDATION: Buy two of these. This is the TRRS cord you need to extend the length of the cable on your smartphone microphone. I usually only need one, but I keep two with me just in case I need an extended cable length for a smartphone video shoot or livestream broadcast. View and order on Amazon
Apple Lightning-to-3.5mm-Headphone/Microphone Adapter
RECOMMENDATION: Buy 2-3 if using an iPhone model newer than the 6 or 6 Plus. That means iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, or 10. I keep one on every audio accessory I plan to plug in, because you never want to be caught without it. It is the only way to connect any of the mics I recommend to the iPhone, since the newer iPhones don't have a traditional headphone jack. You will misplace these, so buy several. View and order on Apple Store
Belkin Analog Audio + Charge Adapter
RECOMMENDATION: Buy one of these. This allows you to plug in one of the smartphone microphones I recommend above while also charging your phone at the same time. Super handy, because you will burn through battery when livestreaming and editing. They also make a version of this that has a second Lightning jack instead of the analog audio jack. Decide which would serve you best. I like this one because it gives you back an analog audio jack. View and order on Apple Store
Disclosure: I do receive a small commission on many of the products on my site. All the products you see above are ones that I personally use, am very familiar with, and recommend. You will not pay more by buying through my Amazon links, and in the case of Arkon products, you get a great sitewide discount whenever you use my coupon code KERRY2018 at checkout on Arkon.com.