Producing great video has never been easier, which is one of the reasons that more organizations and establishments than ever are choosing to take advantage of the power of video learning. We recently released MediaCore Capture for iOS to make it even easier to create and publish video content on the go within your institution. Although the iPhone 4 and 4S can record beautiful, high-definition video right out of the box, there’s still a lot of room for improvement when compared to professional video cameras. Thankfully, there’s now a huge range of third-party accessories available to take your iPhone or iPod Touch's camera - and your video - to the next level. We took a look at some of the best to save you some time and help you get the most bang for your buck when capturing video on iPhone with MediaCore Capture.
Tripods and Stabilization While the iPhone’s camera shoots great quality video it's nearly always a little (or a lot) shakier than you’d like. Stabilizing your footage is a really simple way to make it look a lot more professional.
It’s possible to stabilize most footage in post-production using video editing apps like iMovie or Final Cut Pro, while iPhone 4S owners already benefit from in-camera stabilization applied directly to your footage. However, as a rule of thumb it’s always better to shoot smooth footage than to rely on post-production stabilization techniques. Luckily there are some great accessories available to help.
Glif - Tripod Mount & Stand For iPhone 4 / 4S The Glif lets you mount your iPhone 4 or 4S onto any standard tripod. Fixing your iPhone to a tripod is a great way to guarantee stable footage and is absolutely vital if you’re planning on recording any kind of long-form content such as a lecture, performance or presentation.
GorillaPod Flexible Tripods As well as functioning as a small, portable tripod the GorillaPod’s flexible legs let you easily fix your iPhone almost anywhere. Manufacturer Joby sells a variety of GorillaPods to accommodate different cameras; check out the GorillaMobile model if you’re just shooting on an iPhone or the GorillaPod Hybrid and a Glif if you’re shooting with any accessories (lenses, external microphones, etc).
Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 4 / 4S When cinematographers need to shoot silky-smooth moving footage a stabilization system like the steadicam is their best friend. Thankfully, Tiffen - creators of the original Steadicam - have developed a new, lower-cost version of their trusted system specifically for iPhone. Check out this impressive demo video shot using an iPhone 4 and Smoothee.
Microphones If there’s one area that the iPhone’s camera could use the biggest improvement it’s the on-board microphone. Check out some of the great options available to help you easily record better quality audio.
Tascam iM2 Portable Digital Recorder for iOS devices The iM2 is a simple ‘plug and play’ stereo microphone for iOS devices. The unit has its own pre-amp and can handle up to 125dB, allowing it to record a wide dynamic range at high quality. Its pair of condenser microphones are also adjustable over 180 degrees to ensure optimum placement for recording. Note: If you’re recording outside with the iM2 you can easily minimize wind noise by purchasing an additional slipover windscreen.
MiC - Studio Quality Mcrophone for iPhone, iPad & Mac If you’re shooting an interview, podcast, speech or music-heavy production and really need great quality sound then the Apogee MiC could be just what you need. A compact, studio-quality condenser microphone, the MiC is portable and requires no external power source. Note: An optional adapter and cable kit adds a 3m cable and compatibility with any standard 5/8" microphone stand or boom pole.
Lenses and Expandability
OlloClip 3-In-One Photo Lens The iPhone 4 and 4S’s cameras both use a fixed focal length lens approximately equivalent to a traditional 35mm camera lens. While this is a great all-purpose lens, anyone using their iPhone as a serious video camera will quickly run up against its limitations.The Olloclip offers wide-angle, macro and fisheye lenses in a tiny package that clips right onto your iPhone’s camera. The wide-angle and fish-eye lenses are especially useful when you need to shoot wider than the iPhone’s built-in lens will allow - for example, when shooting inside a confined space like a lecture theatre or office. Note: Because the iPhone doesn’t use the entire lens when shooting video, distortion at the edge of frame visible in photos taken with wider lenses is mostly cropped out.
OWLE Bubo mount for iPhone 4 / 4S The Bubo significantly upgrades the iPhone’s video capabilities and expandability, adding a two-handed metal grip with four tripod mounts and a cold shoe, a 37mm wide angle/macro lens and a directional microphone. The kit’s 37mm threading fits other lenses and filters, while the cold shoe is ideal for adding flashes and portable lighting kits such as the LitePanel LP Micro. There’s even an SLR lens adapter available for those who really want to step up their production values.
Additional iPhone Shooting Tips 1. The volume up button on Apple earphones with remote and mic included with every iPhone can be used as a shutter release button for your iPhone’s camera. This gives you a much easier way to start recording video without requiring such close proximity to the device. 2. When using any external microphones always remember to enable Airplane mode on your device to avoid any wireless interference.
Any of the products covered here would make a valuable addition to any institution’s video setup and certainly have the power to help produce higher quality content with your iOS devices. For example, combining the speed and ease of shooting and uploading video with MediaCore Capture and an iPhone with any tripod, a Glif, OlloClip and a microphone accessory will give you an extremely capable setup for capturing lectures, presentations and performances.