If you wish to build a completely mobile setup for filmmaking using your smartphone, there is a host of equipment you will need. If you own a smartphone with good video recording capabilities, such as the iPhone or a high-end Samsung device or even a OnePlus, then investing on equipment is a great step to transition into the next phase of your journey.
One of the main benefits of using your smartphone for filming is the freedom it offers. We have compiled a list of some of the most essential equipment you would need to take the first step towards building your own setup for smartphone videography.
Note: We have covered the essentials and our list does not include the most expensive options.
A Gimbal is one of the most essential pieces of equipment you would need, in case you want great stabilization in your shots which have a lot of movement. 3-axis gimbals are the best choice as these devices control the camera’s tilt, pan, and roll. While the tilt controls up and down movement of the smartphone, the pan controls side to side movement, and the roll controls back and forth movement.
A gimbal can stabilize your footage while being recorded in all such movements, thus making the shots steady and cinematic.
Smartphone gimbals now pack a host of features including a joystick with controls, time-lapse and hyper-lapse modes, subject tracking, and various other features. If you have access to a smartphone with a good camera, a smartphone gimbal will help you step up the quality.
Moza Mini S and DJI Osmo 3 are two great options that you can consider. Both of these are three axis gimbals and include all the basic features and come with a joystick.
The Moza Mini S is currently priced at Rs 4,899 on Amazon. The DJI Osmo 3 is slightly more expensive and is priced at Rs 7,699 on Amazon.
For shooting stationary shots, you would need a Tripod. These can be used to set up the scene perfectly and to take time lapse shots. Tripods will avoid any shake or movements to affect your footage, unlike when holding the phone in your hand.
There are a host of smartphone tripods that you can choose from online shopping platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart. If we had to pick one, the Digitek DTR 260 GT Gorilla tripod is a great option and is currently priced at Rs 299 on Amazon.
There are 2 types of microphones that are widely used for recording audio using smartphones; Lavalier microphones and Shotgun microphones.
Lavalier microphones also known as lapel mics are portable, compact, wired microphones that are widely used in filmmaking and broadcasting. Lav mics are ideal for recording dialogue as they are discreet and easy to handle.
Shotgun microphones are more directional than a typical cardioid microphone. They reject unwanted sounds coming at the microphone from the sides and pick up clear sound from the source depending on where the microphone is pointed. Shotgun mics are used to capture sound from a distance.
The Boya BYM1 usually costs around Rs 800 and is one of the best lav mics that users can buy under Rs 1,000. The omnidirectional microphone offers great audio recording capabilities and comes with a 20 feet cable, which is great for recording audio while capturing video, without the need of standing too close to the camera. The mic can be connected to a smartphone using a 3.5 mm jack.
The Rode lavalier go is another great option if your budget is higher. The high-quality Lavalier microphone is made specially to record high-quality audio on smartphones. It is an omnidirectional microphone. The microphone can be purchased from Amazon at Rs 5,999
If your smartphone doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack, which is the case with most high end devices today, you can consider getting adapters to ensure that these mics work with your existing device.
For capturing great quality footage in uneven lighting conditions, artificial lighting is a must. While you can get flood lights for as little as Rs 500 via E-commerce sites, you will need an entire set of equipment to disperse the same.
To start your filmmaking journey you can start with a ring light which comes with an inbuilt mechanism for evenly softening the light and is a great option if the subject is in front of the light source.
The Digitek DRL 12C and DRL 12 are worthy Ring Light options that you can consider. The lights are currently priced at Rs 1,299 and Rs 699 on Amazon respectively. The ring lights are best suited for when the subject is right in front of it, to get the best output. Users can also adjust the colour temperature of the lights depending on the mood. The lights also comes with a built in stand.
While Ring lights can be used to good effect while shooting indoors, shooting in outdoor conditions at night when light is negligible would require you to spend big bucks on setting up high budget lighting equipment, so do keep that mind.