Smartphones have become an essential tool in creating video content for social media, websites and YouTube.
Most of us when starting out just “point and shoot” hoping for a decent quality recording.
Then we look back and it’s unsteady and the sound could be better. The unsteadiness gets worse the more video you record – your hand and arm just can’t stay steady forever!
So tripods with clamps are the answer.
Tripods are what professional photographers and videographers use to enable them to get the steadiest still shots and moving shots and there is a wide range of tripods now also available for smartphone video makers.
So where to start? In this blog I will tell you the tripods I use, and why.
The best one for you is the one you can afford and that best suits the types of videos you want to make.
Are you recording inside in an office all the time? Or are you always outside? Do you want to record action shots or very static videos outside? Do you want a handheld tripod or one that can be placed on the floor? What budget do you have?
These are the kind of questions I ask anyone who is thinking of investing in a tripod as part of their equipment kit for smartphone video.
So here goes.
1. MANFROTTO MK Compact ACN-BK Tripod
This is the tripod I use a lot in the office as it gives me a perfectly steady shot for selfie videos and doing interviews (when no restrictions). It’s not that heavy but very steady, and it has a flexible movement to allow smooth panning shots. It’s easy to get the height you want to get the perfect eye level recording. It’s also easy to fold up to bring out in a laptop bag or similar to record in the field. I attach the Manfrotto Pixi clamp for the smartphone.
You can see it here on camerakit.ie for 63 euros ex VAT.
The Pixi Clamp is here on camerakit.ie at 18 euros ex VAT.
2. MANFROTTO MKPIXICLAMP-BK Mini Tripod with Universal Smartphone Clamp
This is my favourite handheld tripod that sits in my laptop bag and is very handy when you want to just record a short video on the go. It’s got the clamp I mentioned above and can be put on a surface or shelf – or even a pile of books on your desk – to give you an eye level steady shot. It’s also very useful to keep your action shots fairly steady when out and about. The clamp can be removed to use on a standard tripod on 1. Above.
See it here at camerakit.ie for 38 euros ex VAT.
3. ANY SELFIE STICK from Argos/ Tiger Shop/ Penneys/ camera shop
An inexpensive selfie stick costing less than 20 euros will get you up and running for video on the go. While it’s not as steady as the ones I’ve recommended above, they can be very useful for doing spontaneous video action shots or videos on the go when out and about. Keep one in the car or close by and you can’t go wrong. They’ll not last forever but my tip is to buy a pink one – they are easy to find in the car and tend not to be taken by the teenagers.
4. SHURE MV88+ Video Kit
This is a lovely piece of kit that also enables you to add a microphone to the top of your tripod clamp as it comes with a shoe-mount, cables, microphone and fold up bag for all the kit. I like the clamp in particular as it enables you to put a very big phone on it and the shoe-mount can also be used for a light on top. Portable and not too big with a stereo microphone that is second to none. Perfect for vloggers and podcasters alike.
It costs 199 euros ex VAT at camerakit.ie and here is the link.
5.SHOULDERPOD X1 PRO RIG for Smartphone Recording
This is the advanced rig which is used a lot by TV and broadcast companies for news journalists. It’s a really professional rig that enables you to place your mobile phone on a tripod mount along with a light and a microphone. It can be handheld or mounted on a tripod, and its handles are beautiful wood from Barcelona and leather handles. It can be configured for a range of equipment and can take most smartphone models.
See it here on the company’s website for 119.90 euros which does not include the additional lighting and microphone.
These are my recommendations based on my own experience and use here in our own videos and our training workshops (when we did them in person).
I would recommend you think about your own requirements before you decide to purchase. Remember the cheapest isn’t always the best and it’s best to start out with just what you need to get going. The best videos are those ones that we can see somewhere, not the ones that are still in your head!
Good luck with your recording journey!
Find out more about our training services on mobile video and audio content at www.rathdownmediainstitute.ie
April 15th 2021