Smartphone Camera Accessories For Video Creators – With the latest smartphones being released every year, video creators can achieve a cinematic look that can rival many filmmaking cameras today.
Filmmakers like Zack Snyder, Sean Baker, and Steven Soderbergh were able to shoot short and full-length features with just a smartphone. But, if you are thinking about shooting a feature using a smartphone, you should think about adding some smartphone camera accessories to your filmmaking kit.
Recently our post about smartphone filmmaking 101 gave you tips on how to create video footage you can be proud of, but in this post, you will learn about the best smartphone accessories for video creators today to achieve that cinematic look.
Stabilization is the key to achieve that cinematic look from a smartphone. While the latest smartphone cameras offer optical image stabilization, to get the best results a smartphone filmmaker needs to add a gimbal as part of their smartphone camera accessories gear.
A three-axis motorized gimbal can help you maintain the camera level as you move through a shot. There are several inexpensive gimbals out there from brands like DJI, Zhiyun, and Moza that are very popular with video creators, and that are extremely easy to use. Our article on the best smartphone gimbals & stabilizers for filmmaking makes for a good read for those looking at reviews of the best gimbals today.
If you are trying to stay within a certain budget, and can’t afford a motorized gimbal, you could opt for a simple smartphone grip. While a smartphone grip isn’t motorized, it’s more lightweight, and you can mount a lens, light, or microphone to the grip.
To achieve that cinematic look to your smartphone videos, adding an external lens attachment like an anamorphic lens will make a huge difference.
Adding an anamorphic lens allows you to achieve that wide-format footage you would see on the big screen.
What is does an anamorphic lens achieve, and why should you use it?
If you watch movies like Die Hard, Hunt For Red October, and Speed as an example, anamorphic lenses produce an extremely wide field of view without distorting faces, even within extreme closeups. This enables the filmmaker to have a smooth, shallow depth-of-field in the middle of the frame with a buttery falloff on the edges.
You could cheat the look of anamorphic by inserting the top and bottom black bars in post-production but it looks artificial.
Smartphone anamorphic lenses from brands like Moment, Moondog Labs, and Ulanzi are an affordable option to your Smartphone Camera Accessories Kit to achieve that cinematic look from your smartphone footage.
In my post How Smartphone Lenses Improve Your Smartphone Footage, will help you understand how attachment lenses will give you a more cinematic look to your videos.
Today’s smartphones can pretty much do everything now, but there is one thing that hasn’t improved yet and that is the built-in microphone.
One of the important Smartphone Camera Accessories for video creators to help achieve cinematic quality videos is by adding an external microphone to your smartphone.
External smartphone microphones come in different options which are covered here in my post, Best Smartphone Microphones For Better sound, but below is a simple breakdown of the options available for you.
An external microphone connects to the Lightning port on your smartphone and has a built-in headphone jack on the rear for monitoring sound.
If you are thinking that you will be filming subjects from a distance to the smartphone camera, you might want to add a wireless microphone system with a transmitter to your Smartphone Camera Accessories Kit.
With quick clip-on capabilities, wireless microphones are perfect for run-and-gun journalists and vloggers in the field that never want to miss the action as it happens.
A wireless transmitter is one of those Smartphone Camera Accessories that you will be forever grateful for having one moving forward.
Why? Have you ever shot a film where the only video monitor is the camera monitor, and everyone including crafty is huddled together trying to see the shot that was just filmed?
In the times of Covid, do you really want that many people crammed together trying to sneak a peek at the footage coming in?
Rigs, tripods & mounts
When it comes to filming, you will be using a combination of moving shots and static shots to achieve that cinematic look.
When you are not using a smartphone gimbal, you will need to stabilize your smartphone on a tripod. You can attach any smartphone to a regular video tripod with the proper smartphone tripod mount from brands like Ulanzi, Manfrotto, and Movo.
If you are looking for a do-everything, go-anywhere kit that’s been expertly crafted for mobile content creators, the GorillaPod Mobile Vlogging kit lets you rig up your phone and give your content real impact. You’ll have everything you need in one box.
- Gorilla Pod Mobile Rig
- Beamo Mini LED
- Wavo Mobile microphone
- Audio cable for mobile phone & camera
- Apple MFI certified lightning connector
Smartphone cameras do an okay job filming under many different types of lighting conditions, but having some external lighting gear can make all the difference in your videos.
External lighting kits can help to achieve smooth, noiseless shots and also getting your subject frame focused. Plus, shooting in low-light conditions can be a problem at times with a smartphone.
So if you are stuck in low lighting conditions, you can add an LED light or two to illuminate your subject or scene. An LED Smartphone Light from brands like Godox and Neewer have lights that offer adjustable brightness modes and have a battery rechargeable via USB. Plus, some models come with a diffusion cover and L-shaped brackets for mounting.
Click here to read about the 5+ Best Portable LED Lights For Smartphone Filmmaking
Apps for your smartphone
While most cinematic smartphones like the iPhone & Samsung have pretty good built-in apps for better control of ISO, exposure, focus, and other options, there is nothing better than a 3rd party app like Filmic Pro.
Filmic Pro takes your camera out of auto mode and into manual control, allowing you to control ISO, exposure, focus and white balance all within the app. Filmic Pro even allows the user to program an automatic focus pull from point A to point B.
This is an app that every filmmaker at any skill level should have on their smartphone if they are even thinking about shooting video on a smartphone.
Since the app Filmic Pro allows you to lock the shutter speed, you’ll want to add some ND (neutral density) filters to your collection.
The Moment Variable ND Filter allows for two to five stops or six to nine stops, depending on which filter you choose.
Also, the Neewer Clip-on ND 2-400 Lens Filter Kit, which is adjustable from ND2 to ND400.
Last but not least in this Smartphone Camera Accessories for video creators is an editing suite to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to achieve your smartphone cinematic masterpiece.
While you may think that editing with your built-in editing app on your smartphone is a good idea, using an editing suite via a larger monitor makes it easy for all the video and audio tools possible at your disposal.
If you are a video creator looking about shooting your next projects on a smartphone, all you need is the right smartphone camera accessories, and a little practice, you will be able to push your smartphone’s videos to new heights.
I will leave you with my favorite filmmaking quote, “Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as director. Now you’re a director. Everything after that you’re just negotiating your budget and your fee.” – James Cameron
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