Getting Started with smartphone video production

Smartphones offer amazing video production capability! They are even capable of recording 4K video. That's way higher resolution than HD video!

With the right microphone, lighting and tripod support, you can record incredible quality videos!

Here is what you need to get started shooting your own professional quality smartphone videos:

Tripods and Ring Lights

I frequently get asked “what tripod should I buy?”, “what smartphone or tablet mount should I use?”, and “What’s the best studio light to use?”

Here are some specific thoughts and recommendations.

I would not mess around with a cheap $40 plastic tripod from Amazon.

My favorite is the Manfrotto "Be Free" fluid head tripod. It is high quality, it has a fluid head for silky smooth camera movements, and the best thing is it is only 16" long when folded, so it is super easy to transport. This is the one I use and also include in emergency operations center livestreaming kits that I create for public agencies. Because of its size, it will actually work well on a table too. And, it will fit in your carry-on suitcase when you travel.

Here are links:

Tripod

Manfrotto Be Free fluid head tripod (lever-lock leg version)
View and order on Amazon

Smartphone and Tablet Mounts

Arkon heavy duty full-size tablet tripod mount
View and order at Arkon.com
(Use my coupon code KERRY20 at checkout to save 20%)

Arkon heavy duty iPad Mini tablet tripod mount
View and order at Arkon.com
(Use my coupon code KERRY20 at checkout to save 20%)

Arkon heavy duty smartphone tripod mount
View and order at Arkon.com
(Use my coupon code KERRY20 at checkout to save 20%)

The tripod choice assumes that you want a tripod for numerous uses: mounting the camera on it and standing in front of it to do a direct to camera recording or livestream, or shooting video where you want to pan or tilt the camera during the shot for smooth camera moves.

IF...you just plan to aim the camera and not move it, you could consider using a dimmable, bi-color LED ring light mounted to a light stand. The ring light has a mount on it where you could attach any of the Arkon mounts above.

This is the one I provide or recommend to my clients. I own two of them myself:

Ring light for “Studio” Use

Dracast Halo 180 18" dimmable, bi-color LED ring light
View and order on Amazon

You also need to order a light stand. This is the perfect one:

Light stand for use with ring light

Neewer 86" stainless steel light stand
View and order on Amazon

Note that shooting direct-to-camera presentations and interviews at close range with a ring light set up is not ideal for people who wear glasses. The ring light will reflect in their glasses (and in my experience, is still visible even with people who have glasses that have an anti-glare coating).

In those circumstances, you can mount the smartphone or tablet to a standard tripod and raise the ring light higher to use it as general illumination for your interview, and you won't have a problem.

Actually, the ring light is really handy to have for every video shoot you do no matter what kind.

I have a lot more smartphone video and livestreaming gear available, including audio equipment, available for you to browse. Just go to my Livestream Tech Store page for links!

i’m available for a fee to consult with your communications team to make sure you get the right gear for your need. Email me here to discuss!