My name is Chris Snider, and I teach smartphone video classes and workshops at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. I get the opportunity to work with some great smartphone video accessories, and I wanted to create a resource page so that you can find the best accessories for your own smartphone videos.
Your iPhone or Android smartphone is a powerful video creation tool. It likely can shoot 4K video and is packed with apps that can unlock a plethora of tools.
But to take full advantage, you need to purchase smartphone video accessories to help create more stable video and to get higher quality audio. That’s where this page comes into play. Read on for my suggestions.
Smartphone video accessories: Getting started
Here’s a basic smartphone video accessories kit to get you started. This will give you everything you need to do quality video from your phone without busting your budget:
|Tripod||Ravelli tripod||I’m a big fan of inexpensive tripods. My students use them semester after semester without any problem and we’ve had great success with this one.||$26 Click to see latest price|
|Tripod adaptor||Shoulderpod||Your smartphone needs an accessory to attach it to the tripod. While there are a lot of options out there, I’ve had the most success with the Shoulderpod. It also comes with a little handle for holding the phone with one hand.||$35 Click to see latest price|
|Audio||Audio kit||If you’re going to be doing standup recordings that require a microphone to be seen on camera, I like the combo of these three devices. You can get all three for about $60-$70.||$70: click to see current prices|
|Audio||iRig Pro||For better sounding audio, step up to the iRig Pro in place of the iRig Pre, which gives you a digital input for better quality sound.||$115 Click to see current price|
|Audio||Eaton Productions Lavalier Microphone||This is a recent addition to my collection, and it sounds great for only $20. Watch the video below to see how it compares to a $199 microphone.||$20 click to see price|
|Audio||Rode smartLav+||If you want a lavalier microphone, then step up to the $79 Rode smartLav+, which works without any sort of adaptor.||$79 click to see price|
|Audio||Sennheiser ClipMic digital||For even better sound, go fully digital with the Sennheiser ClipMic digital.||$199 click to see price|
|Lighting||Neweer CN-216||You can get by with natural lighting in most situations, but a good starter light is the Neweer CN-216. It offers up enough light to keep someone’s face from being too dark on camera.||$40 click to see price|
These options will get you started on your smartphone video accessories journey, but there are plenty of options out there to create high quality video from a smartphone. Here are some more options:
There are a plethora of options available for attaching your iPhone or android smartphone to a tripod, and they come in a range of prices – from less than $2 to as much as $35.
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. While they all may work just fine, the more expensive ones are going to last the longest, and they’ll generally feel the most secure when holding your expensive smartphone.
I use and highly recommend the Shoulderpod, which is the most expensive one on this list but is build to last.
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A tripod is a must-own smartphone video accessory to keep your video steady. You should consider the height that you need as well as the material. Some materials are more rugged and some are lighter. You won’t want to be carrying around a tripod that is too heavy.
I recommend the Amazon Basics tripods. This one works great for stable shots, but doesn’t do well with motion. If you’re going to be doing panning and tilting, consider a more advanced one like the Amazon Basics video tripod. If you’re going to be moving from one still shot to another quickly, the pistol grip tripod is a great option.
This CamKix tripod is a great option if you want to pack a lot of tripod into a small space. It’s really just a selfie stick on a small base, so it’s great for holding just your tripod. Since I already own a selfie stick, I just bought the Camkix tripod base for $13.
When you don’t need a full tripod, there are some creative options in the field of tabletop tripods. Some of these are great for filming at different angles, such as shooting straight down for recipe videos.
Microphones / Audio
Great audio is essential to great video. So make sure you include audio options in your smartphone video accessories. The setup that I use (listed above) works great if you already have XLR cables and XLR microphones for other purposes. But if you are starting fresh devoted entirely to smartphone video, then you have some more options.
Here’s a video testing the VideoMic Me.
But I recently bought the $20 Eaton Productions Lavalier Microphone, and it sounds just as good as the $199 Sennheiser (this is the same mic for $11, but with a shorter cord). Watch this video and decide for yourself:
The ClipMic plugs into the lightning slot on your phone, so it frees up the headphone jack and gives you digital audio. The Smartlav plugs into the headphone jack, which is why it’s less expensive.
For an all-in-one handheld microphone, the IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD gives you everything you need to plug in and record.
Lenses and cases
I’ve tested several cases that come with interchangeable lenses, but never had great luck using them with video. Many of the early ones created distortion. But these newer ones seem to have worked out those kinks.
The iPro Lens System gives you a case and interchangeable lenses…
The ExoLens doesn’t give you a full case, but it does wrap around your phone and allow you to attach the phone to a tripod. It also includes interchangeable lenses.
The Olloclip has always been a favorite of mine.
Misc. smartphone video accessories
Lanparte smartphone gimbal
I’ve been teaching smartphone video for several years now, and my students have never fallen in love with a product as much as they have the LanParte HHG-01 gimbal.
This product has three motors to keep your phone stable as you’re walking or even running. It’s rare that I have mine in my office, because students jump at any opportunity to borrow this gimbal.
Here’s a video that shows how much of a difference it makes:
I’ll be adding more to this page as more great smartphone video accessories are announced. I’ll also be adding them to my weekly email newsletter on what is new in digital and social media. Sign up for that here.