Read any “best cameras” list or video production guide, and you’ve probably seen the comment that you could use an iPhone to start creating video content. For some people, that sounds like a shortcut or a cheaper (but inferior) way to go.
But it’s true, whether you want to start a YouTube channel or dabble in video marketing at work. Apple (and other brands) wants to make photography and video something anyone can get into.
More importantly, these tech and gear developers want to make it so you can feel proud of the videos you make with their products. And part of the commitment to making filmmaking accessible is by taking advantage of the huge third-party accessory marketplace out there.
But nobody wants to spend the next 3+ weeks researching which iPhone videography accessories are worth buying. So we’ve done the work for you, collecting a list of the most popular things anyone can use to get the most out of iPhone video footage.
Why iPhones can be a creator's best friend
Yes, iPhone cinematography is a thing. You’ll find tutorials all over the place about how to get a cinematic look with a phone camera, apps to help you edit footage, and even resources to get royalty free music and sound effects — everything you need to create something that looks professional without needing a professional-level budget.
So whether you’re a new filmmaker, a content creator, or a marketer who appreciates the value of video production, this list will give you a good idea of what you need, what you don’t, and how to level up your video content no matter what you use to record footage.
Here’s an example of producing a high-quality video on an iPhone
(Oh, and just so we’re clear: This isn’t the end-all, be-all list for everyone who wants to shoot video on their iPhone. You may have no use for things, or want specific accessories we don’t cover. But this is a great starting point for exploring the iPhone videography accessories available for an entry-level cost.)
Lenses for iPhone videography
Filmmakers have a collection of lenses for a reason. Sure, a good camera is versatile, but if you want to capture beautiful footage wherever you go, you’ll want equipment that’s up to every challenge: low lighting, macro shots, wide shots, etc.
Finding a great lens won’t transform your iPhone into a RED Epic...but it could help you get the best possible footage out of the camera you already carry in your pocket.
This bundle might be the best place to get started. You’ll get a wide angle lens, a 15x macro lens, a cheap (but still helpful) LED light that clips to your phone, and a few other add-ons. It also comes with tutorials on how to use the different lenses when shooting video.
And an added benefit of it being a best-seller means more reviews, which means more sample images so you can see exactly what to expect from footage using this lens.
All for the low, low cost of $45.
As the name suggests, this bundle comes with three lenses together: a 20x macro lens, a wide angle lens, and also a fisheye lens. That makes it a pretty ideal kit for beginners who want to see what they can do with a few iPhone videography accessories.
At $20, this bundle is a hard deal to beat. You sacrifice a little bit on the wide angle lens, but you probably won’t find a decent iPhone lens kit for cheaper than this.
Stabilizers for iPhone video capture
A high-quality camera helps, and a lens kit will give you flexibility in the sort of shots you can tackle. But one of the worst side effects of iPhone footage is the shakiness. If you’re trying to capture video to use for projects, you can’t afford to let shaky hands ruin your footage.
A good iPhone stabilizer should be able to tackle a few different roles for you, particularly if you’re just starting to build a gear collection. The DJI OM 4 has the flexibility to work in most situations, and the 3-axis motor actively helps reduce shakiness.
This $129 stabilizer is built to function like a gimbal (anti-shake) as well as a tripod and grip — that makes it versatile enough to work for vloggers or marketers, whether you’re shooting on the go or filming on a regular set.
If the DJI is a little too pricey for something you are just experimenting with, you can knock off $100 and go for the Obudyard stabilizer. For $37 you’ll get an anti-shake gimbal that also functions as a selfie stick or tripod.
This particular model has Bluetooth for hands-free control. The downside is that it has a single-axis motor; that means it’s not quite as effective as other products on the market. But for this price (and the overwhelmingly positive reviews), it’s a safe bet for beginners.
A solid camera mount is a must-have tool. They aren’t flashy gadgets to pull out of a bag on set, but being able to go hands-free can make a big difference. This particular mount is a little over 30” long, and the “gooseneck” aspect makes it flexible enough to use anywhere.
And it’s only $17, which is as much as a couple visits to Starbucks.
Microphones for better iPhone audio
Part of any great video production is having good audio. But unless you’re going to use voiceover and music, you won’t want to rely on your iPhone’s ability to capture great audio.
It’s worth noting that iPhones without a 3.5mm headphone jack aren’t exactly ideal for audio capture. But you can find an audio recorder (the things that journalists still rely on) for $40 or so. Pair that with a good mic and you’ll be good to go into any video shoot.
Oh, and one more thing to remember about sound quality: The final product can only ever be as good as the audio you captured on-set. So investing in a mic will significantly raise the quality of content you can produce, regardless of what other accessories you buy from this list.
Ignore the fact that the “carrying case” looks like a trash bag. This bundle is a terrific, all-in-one bundle of goodies for anyone looking to shoot great video on an iPhone. And the 3.5mm output cables are compatible with mobile devices and cameras, so it’s a product that will scale up as you keep adding better gear to your collection.
The external microphone is obviously the most important piece, but you’ll also get a shock mount to hide noise from vibration and shakiness. Oh, and you also get a dead cat cover to block out wind and other unwanted background noise.
And it’s $40. So while you won’t sound as good as if you purchased a Rode or Shure shotgun mic, you’re getting a dedicated product built for iPhone use.
Lav mics are like the building blocks of most audio recorded on a video shoot. Sure, big productions will have a dedicated sound team...but they still mic everyone up, just in case.
At $40, this lav mic is built to help you capture great audio for vlogs, commercials, interviews, or any other type of video project. (PowerDeWise also has a bundle with a second mic for only $46, which might be an even better option.)
Finding other iPhone videography accessories
There’s no real limit to the number of gadgets out there. The iPhone videography accessories market is huge, and that’s because creators are using their phones to capture video footage in every situation imaginable.
You could invest in a dedicated tripod instead of relying on something from a bundle. Or you could go for dedicated battery packs, which then opens up the option to get something like a lighting kit — you wouldn’t want it draining your phone battery, but if you’ve got an external power source it could be a gamer-changer in any location.
And that’s not even getting to the equally important marketplace for iPhone videography apps. GoPro’s mobile app, Quik, is built for photo editing but has some useful video tools too. You can get Final Cut Pro in the App Store (although it’s got a pretty hefty price tag). Adobe Premiere Rush is like Premiere Pro’s younger brother, with a huge suite of editing tools.
Again, this is only the beginning for the kinds of tools available to anyone looking to start creating high-quality video content with an iPhone and a small budget. But now you have a few great places to start, and the confidence of knowing that you can always find the tools you need to get the shot — and create the video — that you want.
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