5 gadgets for better iPhone videos

Carlton Boyce / 13 June 2016

The iPhone can shoot surprisingly good video on its own but the addition of some carefully chosen accessories will help move your videography on to a whole new level.



You don’t need to buy every accessory on this list – and if you’re prioritising I’d skip the microphone, at least initially – but every single one will make it just a little bit easier to create a video you can be proud of.

A decent case

A decent iPhone case won’t help you shoot better video but it will protect your investment when you drop it. And you will.

The Quadlock is my weapon of choice because it’s tough but still relatively slim. However, the real reason for choosing it is because is forms the backbone of the Quadlock mounting system, which I think is the best on the market. (And no, they haven’t given me one as a freebie. I bought one with my own money, as I did with all the products in this feature.)

Cost: £20 for the iPhone 6

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A solid mounting system

The Quadlock system features mounts for your car, bike, belt, tripod, and just about any other surface you’d want to mount your iPhone on. Every single one of them is beautifully engineered and very light, which means I can pack everything I need without adding too much weight.

I use the windscreen sucker and the tripod adapter almost every week to stabilise and mount my iPhone to shoot rock-steady video; the hand-held shakes worked very well in the Blair Witch Project but we can probably do without any horror film special effects in a video of the annual family holiday.

Cost: £10-40 depending on the mount

Microphone

An ex-BBC cameraman once told me that the biggest problem amateur videographers make is that they forget about the need for sound. More videos were ruined, in his opinion, by the appalling, or even non-existent, soundtrack than by anything else. A video could, he explained, be best thought of as “radio with pictures.”

While the built-in microphone on your iPhone will do an OK job, a separate microphone will do a very good job, which is where the Rode VideoMic Me dedicated microphone comes in.

Using one, or something similar, will transform the sound quality of your video beyond all recognition, especially in windy conditions where the ‘dead cat’ cover comes into its own.

Cost: About £50

Tripod

A small tripod like the Manfrotto PIXI is small enough to slip into a coat pocket but solid enough to stabilise your static shots. You can also use it as a hand grip for dynamic footage and a camera tripod for night photography (use it with your iPhone’s timer to avoid any tremors or wobbles ruining the photograph).

Cost: Manfrotto is a well-respected tripod manufacturer and the PIXI costs less than £15, so there is simply no point in trying to save a fiver by buying an inferior product.

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iMovie

Professionals might sneer at iMovie but it’s simple and intuitive, so it won’t frighten you away from editing your rough cuts into a proper film.

Of course, the tiny iPhone screen makes the job harder than it would be on a laptop or desktop computer, but it is doable and iMovie is pretty much idiot-proof, which is why I use it…

Cost: £3.99

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