What do you need to make an ideal iPhone filmmaking kit?
I do not mean to sound nostalgic, but I remember a time when we should transfer songs over Bluetooth, could drop it from Burj Khalifa and go pick it up like nothing had happened and the best thing to spend a couple of hours was with a good old play of snake.
Well, we are not in Kansas anymore.
Today, you can revolutionize the film industry with something as simple as your smartphone. However, to create more than the everyday TikTok you need to add a thing or two to achieve professional results – you need to assemble a proper iPhone filmmaking kit.
Don't get me wrong, you can get some great results out of using the built-in camera app and use the lenses on you iPhone alone (I mean, that's what they are there for) but if you add some professional video equipment it will make your life easier both at the time of shooting and during the editing process. The silver lining is that there are many nice low budget options, just as good as their more expensive counterparts.
I have no intention of going into the whole Android versus iPhone debate. However, iPhones have fewer overheating issues and can shoot at higher frame rates and resolutions, without causing dropped frame. So, I'll just leave it at that.
Best lenses for your smartphone video kit
Why not start with the lens. After all, when it comes down to it, creating a film is all about what the viewer sees on the screen. Without image, there is not much to it (I know, tough criteria).
With that in mind, let’s break down which lenses are best for your mobile video setup.
- Capture wonderful footage – cris shots everytime
- Large compatibility – fits with a variety of smartphones
- Uses phone's camera – shoots with an aperture of f1.8
- create the anamorphic effect – an all-round evolution
- Organic-looking flares – and for capturing the widescreen
- For shooting cinematic movies – in an affordable manner
- Great cinematic glass – done in a cheap & flexible way
- 1.33x anamorphic adapter – for a range of iPhone models
- organic flares – cinema-grade glass & expansive 2.4:1
- Nice for beginners – it's very well built & easy to use
- Experience awesome clarity – as well as cool lens flares
- It's a little thin – doesn't offer much protection
- Get great footage – with several Schott glass lenses
- Features a multi-coating – and anti-reflecting coating
- Primarily used for photography – also works nicely for video
If you've an iPhone 11 or one of their newer models (if you are one of those) then you know it has quite decent image quality. However, it does not excel in low-light scenarios, and their wide distortion is a little over the top.
That's where the Moment 18mm comes in handy. It allows you to capture wonderfully crisp footage using your phone’s already existing standard camera with an aperture of f1.8.
It can be used on a variety of different smartphones, here among, the iPhone, 6,7,8, XR, XS, 11, 12... I will stop here, you get the point, it fits most iPhones. It's also compatible with Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9, and Google Pixel.
If you know a little (or a lot) about the anamorphic lens, already the title of this lens, makes you take an extra look (more like an extra read).
If you are looking to create the so-called anamorphic effect, this lens has some serious swag and can pull off some solid organic-looking flares. However, it does not give way for that classic oval-shaped bokeh.
Since it is an anamorphic lens, it's great for shooting cinematic movies, not so great for your everyday selfie. It is first and foremost a lens created for the moving picture, not the still.
If you are curious about adding a anamorphic lens to your iPhone filmmaking kit, you can discover much more with our anamorphic lenses for iPhone article. Or maybe, you are not sure what an anamorphic lens even is, don't worry, we got that covered – aren’t we the knight in shiny armor, ha? Find out exactly what the anamorphic lens is and why you should use it.
Moondog Labs anamorphic lens
These lenses came to everyone's attention after Sean Baker used it for his appraised Tangerine film. It has since then become a go-to for mobile videography.
Once again, we are looking at an anamorphic lens. If you want your video to have the cinematic look in that notorious widescreen ratio, horizontal lens flares – this lens is the one.
Kapkur anamorphic lens
It can come as no surprise that we have chosen yet another anamorphic lens as part of picks for a mobile video setup.
It's a little cheaper and not a strong competitor for the Moment and Moondog Labs anamorphic lens, but do not be fooled by that. It is still nothing less than a great lens.
It has good clarity and some nice-looking lens flares. Really well built and quite user-friendly. On the more downside of things, its case is pretty thin and does not offer much protection.
SIRUI FE Fisheye lens
The SIRUI lens are a great choice if you want to take your smartphone photography to the next level. It consist of several Schott glass lenses and features a multi-coating and anti-reflecting coating. It is primarily used for photography, but also performs nicely in video production. It has authentic colour reproduction and low distortion and vignetting – pretty nice to have when shooting.
Best microphones for your iPhone filmmaking kit
It's not that you cannot make great silent movies, remember Mr Bean? However, most often you will need sound to make a great movie. Imagine missing lines as “Say “hello” to my little friend” or “Hasta la vista, baby” all because the director did not think of using a microphone.
I am not saying the built-in microphone on your smartphone is not nice, but it’s not any good either, so, actually that is what I am saying. The microphone on your smartphone cannot pick-up quality audio when coming from a distance so, the best choice for the perfect mobile video production kit is to add a third-party mic.
- Professional sound quality – low noise & high sensitivity
- 3.5mm TRS cable attached – ensures an easy hook-up
- Offers up to 24-bit/48kHz – frequency of 20Hz to 20kHz
- High-quality sound – in a relatively inexpensive microphone
- Connect two microphones to one phone – monitor audio
- Fits to most phones – have trouble with neewer iPhones
- Small & great value – directional shotgun microphone
- Mount to the top of phone – easy & fast setup
- 3.5mm jack – headphone output for audio monitoring
- omnidirectional microhpone – picks up sound from all around
- clear & high-quality sound – connects easily to phone
- offers up to 24-bit/48khz – frequency of 20Hz to 20kHz
- cardioid condenser stereo microphone – for old fashioned audio
- Connects easily and directly – put into your phone's lightning port
- Frequency between 25Hz and 20kHz – signal to noise ratio of 80db
Boya BY-DM1 lavalier microphone
This is an omnidirectional microphone, which means that it will pick up sound from all around. It will give you a clear; high-quality sound recording and will connect easily to your iPhone’s lightning port – no need for annoying adaptors.
It offers up to 24-bit/48 kHz resolution with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20 kHz and has a cable on about 6 meters.
As far as good budget microphones go, this is not a bad choice. However, if you are okay with the price going a little bit up but on the other hand score some better sound, you can always opt for the Sennheiser ClipMic Digital.
This is a cardioid condenser stereo microphone it connects easily and directly into your phone’s lightning port to provide a good, old fashioned audio recording while on the move.
It offers a frequency response between 25Hz and 20kHz and a signal to noise ratio of 80db. If you are looking for a cheaper option than the high-quality Rode VideoMic Me-L, this could be the one.
The SmartLav+ is a high-quality and relatively inexpensive lavalier clip-on microphone. The great thing about this microphone is that you can double-the-trouble – connect two into one phone, and then monitor the audio with your headphones. It does have a minor issue with the newer iPhones, as you will need an adapter to mount.
Rode VideoMic Me
This is a small, good value directional shotgun microphone. It's great for any creator who doesn't want to use lavalier microphones or deal with a receiver. It will mount to the top of your smartphone and is easy and fast to set up. It has a 3.5mm jack which provides a headphone output for audio monitoring and playback. All in all, it is a pretty swag microphone to add to your iPhone filmmaking kit.
If you are looking for professional sound quality to your iPhone filmmaking kit – this is the one. It offers lower noise, high sensitivity and adjustable settings.
It has an attached 3.5mm TRS cable that ensures an easy hook-up to your phone. With a single 9V battery you will get up to 70 hours of run time (That is pretty damn long – how's your stamina?). It has an adjustable gain and a selectable bass roll-off, meaning it's easy to optimize the level and tone of your recording for a range of scenarios.
Explore best lighting options for your iPhone filmmaking kit
Once you got the image and audio covered, you are starting to look at a decent mobile video setup. Full disclosure, though, you are not completely there yet (close, though, darn close). To make your film look Scorsese-professional you need to find the best lighting for your iPhone filmmaking kit.
As a mobile filmmaker, it is not always possible to carry a full lighting kit, so the next best solution – portable lighting.
Just before I continue, I want to say, well, technically write, that whichever lighting option you choose you need to make sure that it has a cold shoe mount or adaptor so you can slide the light on to your phone.
- Compact budget lighting – ideal for mobile video setup
- lightweight & portable LED light – with high brightness
- Universal cold shoe mount – fit to most smartphones
- High-quality LED light – holds 120 LED bulbs
- Has a lux of 1077 – equivalent of 75 watts
- Adjust colour temperature – with rear-mounted knob
- Small & bright LED light – fits into a small kitbag
- 1.5 inches body measurement – makes it easy to carry several
- Adjustable brightness – control wirelessly over bluetooth
- Compact wireless LED light – specifically designed for smartphones
- Includes a touch sensor control – sync wirelessly over app for full control
- Comes with a diffuser – to soften light and reduce shadows
- Biggest & brightest LED light – for Manfrotto's LumiMuse range
- Controllable brightness – with four-stage dimming button
- Plenty of mounting choices – including a ball-head & cold shoe attachment
Godox LED64 Video Light
The Godox LED64 is an excellent choice if you're looking for compact budget lighting to your iPhone filmmaking kit. It is lightweight, portable and will provide high brightness and accurate colour temperature. It has 64 LED bulbs (the name might have been a spoiler) you can adjust their brightness by using the built-in dimmer.
Its universal cold shoe mount means it will fit onto most smartphone tripod adaptors or stabilizers that support the cold shoe mount.
Lume Cube 1500 Lumen Light
The Cube 1500 is a small but mighty LED light. It will fit nice and easy into your iPhone filmmaking kitbag. Its small body measures 1.5 inches, meaning you could easily carry a few of them.
You can control the Lume Cube with your smartphone. If you want to adjust the brightness you can do this wirelessly over Bluetooth. You can control up to five of these bad boys (or girls) with your smartphone. This means you can place them in all sorts of places to get the best lighting while maintaining full control.
You can mount it to a stand with its screw mount or you can use its built-in magnet and suction cup.
Rotolight NEO On-Camera LED Light
Granted, this is more expensive than the previous two. However, you get a high-quality LED light in return. It has a round shape and holds 120 LED lights. It has a lux of 1077, the equivalent of about 75 watts. It will give a beam angle of 50 degrees and has a reach of about 3 feet – neat for close up work.
The NEO has an adjustable colour temperature, which you can change by using the rear-mounted rotary knob. If you want to change your colour balance to match location lights – it does that too.
The iBlazr 2 is a compact wireless LED light, designed for Smartphones – seems fitting in this article, right? It has a touch sensor control and can sync wirelessly to an app to control its many features.
It comes with a clip mount, which you can use to attach the light to the side of your smartphone. Included in this deal is a diffuser, to help soften the light and give your subject a flattering look while reducing shadows.
Manfrotto LumiMuse 8
Despite being Manfrotto’s biggest and brightest LED light, in their LumiMuse range, it is a portable lighting device, that is an ideal fit for your smartphone. You can control its brightness by adjusting the four-stage dimming button. It includes a set of colour filters and a filter mount so you can change the colour temperature of the light as you need.
It also has plenty of mounting choices for and comes with a ball-head, which includes a cold-shoe attachment so you can mount it to any cold-shoe adaptor.
Discover the best tripod for your mobile video production
A tripod is great if you want to keep your phone still. Keep in mind, that you're filming with mobile video production, so you want to choose a tripod that can smoothly pan and tilt and one that is not too heavy to carry around.
With that in mind, let’s talk tripod.
- Characteristic bendy legs – for use in a variety of situations
- Genius flexible build – use for many different purposes
- Pans and tilts opportunity – or use as a handheld grip
- fits almost any smartphones – weighs just under two pounds
- Control all movements – with a single knob on its ball head
- Includes a quick-wheel – attach a camera to its 1/4" threaded stud
- Flexible & easy to use tripod – for a flexible shooting experience
- Serves two functionalities – works as both a stable holder & a comfortable grip
- Multiple 1/4" thread attachments – enables it to be used with most smartphones
- Square shaped tripod – makes it ideal to switch from landscape orientation to portrait
- Can holder every smartphones – due to its flexible clamp
- Includes a SMART brake – holds the smartphone once it is in the clamp
- Phone grip with wooden handle – including a strap to put around your wrist
- Includes a 1/4" standard metal screw – can be used for attaching the included G1 grip
- Iincludes a female 1/4" metal insert – compatible with all photo & video tripods & rigs
JOBY GripTight PRO Video
JOBY is a powerhouse when it comes to tripods – especially for smartphones. With its characteristic bendy legs, it's great for a whole variety of situations. It's a genius build, more flexible than a mortgage loan with low interest. It works both as a tripod and a way to attach your phone to uneven surfaces. You can also pull its legs together and use it as a handheld grip, and there is even a handle for pulling off some super-slick pans and tilts.
Manfrotto Compact Light Smart Tripod
It is hardly a shocker that Manfrotto made the list. When it comes to tripods, Manfrotto is always a safe bet. It fits almost any smartphone out there, and weighs just under two pounds. The ball head on the tripod has a single knob which controls all movements and includes a quick-wheel to attach a camera to its ¼”- 20 threaded stud.
Manfrotto Pixi Smart
The Pixi Smart is a great flexible and easy to use tripod. It comes with multiple ¼” thread attachments, which enables it to be used with most smartphones. It serves two functionalities, as it works both as a stable holder and can also be used to a comfortable grip to capture great footage.
At first glance, this tripod is pretty… well, to say it frank, weird. It has a square shape but the genius part of its shape, is that it makes it ideal to switch from landscape orientation to portrait.
Its (dis)figure also means that it can hold virtually every phone in its clamp. A Smart Brake has been included to ensure that your phone will not go anywhere once it is clamped in place.
Their S2 model is another story. It has a phone grip with a wooden handle and a strap to help you capture some steady and crisp footage.
Its upper end includes a ¼”-standard metal screw for attaching the included G1 grip and strap while the lower part includes a female ¼” metal insert compatible with all photo-video tripods and rigs.
How about tripod adaptors?
Before you just happily, in the blissful unknown, go out and access yourself a smartphone tripod, you need a good tripod mount – I know mood-buster.
There are many good tripod adaptors/mounts out there. Some of the good ones include Shoulderpod S, the Square Jellyfish Spring Tripod Mount or the Ulanzi adjustable Smartphone mount.
Once you have settled on which tripod you want, then you can start finding your tripod adaptor.
Find the ideal gimbal for your smartphone video production
Most phones today already have some form of built-in optical internal stabilization (thank you technology). So, acquiring a gimbal is not necessarily a must. But if you want a smooth, beautiful cinematic footage, a gimbal can be quite the tool.
- Butter-smooth footage – with a Zhiyun stabilizer
- Charges your phone – useful for battery draining activities
- Useful & high-value gimbal – at an affordable price point
- Comfortable design – that makes it easy to operate
- Control pans & tilts – with record button & thumb pad
- Get close shots of your subject – included zoom switch
- 3-axis gimbal – reduces shaky footage
- smooth & stabilized footage – ultra-responsive design
- Extremely lightweight – flexible, dynamic & foldable
- small motorized 3-axis gimbal – for a stable video footage
- offers a range of creative options – for a flexible film production experience
- Extremely small & lightweight – to take it with you everywhere
- Combines the success of its predecessors – into a pintsized, 3-axis gimbal
- Adjustable smartphone clamp – fit a phone up to 3.5mm wide
- Requires Movi app for use – unlock a range of customizable operating modes
Zhiyun Smooth 4
When it comes to making stabilizers a few brands can keep up with Zhiyun's pace. They make excellent gimbals and within an affordable price point.
Their smooth 4 model is no exception. It can make your footage look butter-smooth, all the while it charges your phone when using it. Pretty neat feature, if you are using battery-draining add-ons, such as a third-party video app or microphones.
DJI Osmo mobile 2
Mobile 2’s design makes it comfortable in your hand and easy to operate. It comes with a record button and a thumb pad to control pans and tilts. It also has a zoom switch on the side if you want to get closer shots of your subject.
Once you turn it on it will automatically start to orient and balance your iPhone. Once it does this you can start filming. It has about 15 hours’ worth of battery time.
DJI Osmo mobile 3
With a 3-axis gimbal that effectively reduces shaky footage, the mobile 3 delivers super-smooth, stabilized footage. Weighing 406g this is an extremely lightweight and one of the brands most flexible, dynamic, a foldable gimbal for iPhones. The mobile 3 has an ultra-responsive design which reacts to your movements.
Zhiyun Smooth Q2
The Zhiyun Smooth Q2 is a small motorized 3-axis stabilizer that gives stable video recording and a calmer, more professional look. It offers plenty of creative options for film production thanks to special effects such as the Dolly Zoom, Vortex mode and motive tracking features. It has a battery spend of up to 17 hours.
It's an extremely, and I mean extremely, small gimbal, so, it's super easy to have ready to lock and roll at all times.
Freefly Movi Cinema Robot Smartphone Stabilizer
The Freefly model brings all the goods of Freefly’s previous gimbals and condenses it into a pint-sized, 3-axis gimbal. You can fit a phone up to 3.5mm wide into its smartphone clamp.
You will need to install their Movi app on your smartphone, but once you have done that, you will get almost unlimited creative freedom, with one of its many customizable operating modes.
Extra batteries for your iPhone filmmaking kit
Filming video on your iPhone is a pretty battery-draining activity. And so, it's nice to have an external battery ready at hand.
Picking the right and the best external battery is really up to which smartphone you are using – as they all have different battery levels and different inputs. To give you an idea, we have picked a few batteries for you to consider.
RAVPower 20000mAh USB PD/QC3 Portable Battery Bank
If you need fast charging – and a lot of it, this is a great choice. It's a bit bigger than other power banks, but that's the thing about great power. And still, compared to its actual capacity, it’s fairly small.
It has 18w of USB Power Delivery (PD) over Type-C, QuickCharge 3.0 over USB Type-A, and can charge everything from USB Type-C to USB Micro-B.
Aukey USB Type-C 20000mAh Slimline Battery
Despite being a slimline battery, you know – a slim battery, it has high capacity and high compatibility. You will find three USB-A output, a USB-C input/output, a Micro-USB input, and a lighting input. The battery here doesn't have USB PD. However, that's pretty expectable for a device this slim.
Include a video app to your iPhone filmmaking kit
A video camera app is not necessarily considered to be part of your iPhone filmmaking kit. However, it is something you need to have to help take your video to the next level. No, I'm not sponsored, but Apple if you read this, please let me know where I should leave my bank details.
A professional video app will help you gain full (manual) control over features like focus, exposure, frame rate, bit rate and audio. There are many great options, and whichever you choose will be up to your personal preferences. However, I figured, why not leave you a few breadcrumbs so you can find your way.
This is a great video camera app for your iPhone and one you can easily include in your iPhone filmmaking kit. The app gives you full control over frame rate, audio control, image quality and a whole lot more.
It's not cheap, but the range of features and power it brings to your mobile filmmaking is worth it.
If you are looking for a free alternative to the Filmic Pro app, Mavis is a good choice. It does not give you all the same, but the golden buzzer with this app is the fact that it's FREE.
It allows for a bunch of nice features and still gives you great manual control. It allows for full support for both internal and external audio sources, full-colour control and extensive manipulation over your image
What else should you include in your iPhone filmmaking kit?
In addition to essentials things like lenses, microphones and lighting, you need to consider whether or not you need additional gear. Perhaps you should include ND or UV filters for your external lens? Maybe you'd like to get a rig to help you make a smoother looking footage? Or is it necessary to include a camera bag and filter mounts? My point is, there are tons of equipment. You need to decide, whether or not it's worth including in your videography kit. And so, you need to figure out what will work best for you, your film and the way you want to work.
Full iPhone filmmaking kit setups
That was a lot to swallow, I know. If you are pretty confident in your videogame, you'll do just fine figuring out what you need for your iPhone filmmaking kit. However, if you are not the biggest video setup savvy, then we have created some packages, to make it a little bit easier.
Choose whether you are looking for a smaller budget package or if you're ready to go all the way with a more professional setup.
Get started: Filmmaking setup
- iPhone 11 Pro
- Kapkur anamorphic lens
- Rode SmartLav+
- Godox LED64 video light
- Shoulderpod S2
- Aukey USB Type-C 20000mAh
- Filmic Pro
Get better: Filmmaking setup
- iPhone 11 Pro
- Moment 18mm
- Rode VideoMic Me
- Manfrotto LumiMuse 8
- JOBY GripTight PRO Video
- RAVPower 20000mAh USB PD/QC3 portable battery bank
Stay pro: Filmmaking setup
- iPhone 11 Pro
- Moondog labs anamorphic
- VideoMic Pro
- DJI Osmo Mobile 3
- 37mm Cine ND phone filter
- 37mm Cine CPL phone filter
- RAVPower 20000mAh USB PD/QC3 portable battery bank
- Rotolight NEO on-camera LED light