A collection of the equipment that I use to go mobile with my filmmaking and photography.
For a full video breakdown of my suggested mobile filmmaking & vlogging equipment,
check out my “ULTIMATE Mobile Filmmaking & Vlogging Setup” YouTube video below:
APPLE iPHONE XS MAX
I was blown away by the Apple iPhone X redesign, but I missed the larger screen/form factor that my Apple iPhone 7 Plus provided. With this new “max”-sized OLED display on the iPhone XS Max, all my smartphone needs are finally being met - not to mention how awesome the camera is. I can honestly say that at least 50% of my Instagram feed photos are taken on my iPhone XS Max - that’s how great this iPhone is. I do nearly all of my filmmaking on my Sony a6500, but whenever I don’t have my Sony or if I want to add a video to my Instagram Story, the quality of the iPhone XS Max camera does not disappoint and performs as a phenomenal backup camera.
ZHIYUN SMOOTH 4 3-AXIS GIMBAL STABILIZER
I’m a huge fan of stabilizers, and even though the OSS that the iPhone XS camera offers is impressive, nothing will beat the silky smooth stabilized footage that a dedicated stabilizer will provide. For all of my iPhone stabilization needs, I’m using this Zhiyun Smooth 4 stabilizer. The difference is night and day, and if you plan on doing any kind of serious filmmaking on your iPhone or other mobile device, you’re undoubtedly going to eventually need to add a stabilizer to your rig. I consider this Smooth 4 stabilizer by Zhiyun the best in its class. It’s my go-to mobile stabilizer solution.
GIMBAL COUNTERWEIGHT SYSTEM
With the weight of larger smartphones and with the weight of the additional Mobile Setup add-ons and accessories (below), all of that weight can cause the balance of the Zhihun Smooth 4 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer to be thrown off. To ensure a properly balanced gimbal and so that the gimbal motors are not overworked to avoid motor failure or damage, you’ll want to counter the weight of the phone and accessories by adding a counterweight system. This cheap Gimbal Counterweight System is an affordable and necessary part of a proper Mobile Setup.
As with any filmmaking setup, the audio setup of a mobile rig is immensely important. When vlogging or capturing audio in a run & gun setup, you’re going to want a more professional way of capturing your audio instead of using the on-board microphone of your smartphone. I praise the Røde VideoMicro in my Main Filming Setup, and I’m praising it just as much for my Mobile Setup. It’ll allow you to capture professional-level right on your smartphone and easily mounts to a Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer by using a Gimbal Cold Shoe Ring Clamp (see below), but don’t forget to use a smartphone native port to 3.5mm audio jack adapter, such as the Lightning to 3.5mm Audio Jack Dongle (see below).
3.5MM AUDIO JACK ADAPTER
Ever since Apple killed off the headphone jack, which I completely explain in a recent YouTube video, users have been forced to adapt with dongles and adapters. If you plan on capturing your audio using the Røde VideoMicro (see above), you’ll likely need a Lightning or USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter in order to use an external microphone with your smartphone. This Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle or USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle usually comes with the purchase of your new smartphone, but if you don’t seem to have one, you’ll absolutely need one to connect your Røde VideoMicro to your smartphone if your smartphone doesn’t have that olds school headphone jack.
POLARPRO IRIS ND FILTER SYSTEM
When it comes to filmmaking and photography on a mobile setup, the need for a quality ND filter system is not any less than the need for one on a Main Camera Setup. For a full video breakdown of ND filters, you can watch my YouTube video discussing ND filters, which breaks down why and when to use them and what brand I trust. On this Mobile Setup, I use the PolarPro Iris ND Filter System. It is incredibly easy to use, it is made of some of the highest quality glass available for smartphone ND filter systems, and I cannot stress enough how much of a positive difference the Iris can make in your mobile shooting.
MANFROTTO MINI TRIPOD WITH PHONE CLAMP
There’s going to be times in your mobile filmmaking and photography career when a tripod is going to be essential. Since you’re rocking a mobile setup, you’re not going to want to have to lug around a huge tripod with you just for your smartphone (your iPhone is device meant to be small enough to fit in your pocket - an accompanying tripod should be too). That’s why you’ll want to seriously look at investing in this Manfrotto Mini Tripod with a Phone Clamp for your smartphone. It can be used to help you vlog on your smartphone more easily, take photos with longer exposure times, and even expand your mobile filmmaking capabilities to allow for advanced filmmaking techniques such as time lapse photography. Manfrotto is probably the world’s leader in tripods, and this Manfrotto mini tripod is no exception to that status.