Video Essentials

Discover the Essential Accessories for iPad and iPhone Video

Creating and promoting great-looking online video doesn’t have to be difficult. Technology columnist Jefferson Graham has just created Video Nation: A DIY guide to planning, shooting, and sharing great video from USA Today’s Talking Tech host. We’re pleased to present this excerpt.

Action Life Media’s mCAMLITE (formerly the Owle Bubo) offers excellent stabilization and offers an external wide angle lens.

The iPhone is so insanely popular (nearly 200 million sold at the time of publication) that shooting video this way is a terrific option, and will only get much, much better. Due to the huge fan base, tons of really cool mounting and lens attachment accessories have flooded the market for turning the iPhone into something it really wasn’t designed for — an almost professional video camera. Here are some of the best accessories:


You need something to steady your iPhone, a vital step to making the shot look professional.

The Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 4 is well worth the $150 and the adjustment period. It is lightweight (about 5 pounds) and versatile. The purpose of this stabilizer is so that people can shoot extremely steady shots while moving. Stick an iPhone on top of it and you’ll take amazing walking shots — once you master the art of putting your thumb into place for operation. It takes some getting used to, but you can make a marked improvement in your mobile video.

Studio Neat is one of the many vendors selling low-cost tripod mounts you can attach to your iPhone. Its Glif Tripod Mount and Stand for iPhone 4 and 4S is just $20.

The Black Universal Bracket Adapter Mount from Cosmos is even better priced, at just $5.99, and will hold your unit steady. IK Multimedia’s $40 iKlip is aimed at musicians who want to mount the iPad onto a mic stand, but it will also work on any light stand.

Action Life Media’s Owle mCAMLITE (formerly the Owle Bubo, $160), steadies your hand while you’re shooting with the iPhone, almost eliminating the need for a tripod. It’s that good. You also get four inputs for tripods along with a “cold shoe,” a mount that lets you plug in an external light. The icing on the cake is an external wide-angle lens, which opens up the point of view and just looks so cool.

PhotoJojo turned a lot of heads in 2011 when it introduced the iPhone DSLR Mount, which for $250 lets you plug your Canon or Nikon lens onto the iPhone for wide angle and ultra-zoom, as well as much sharper pictures. However, it’s really just a novelty item. Once you plug your DSLR lenses into the iPhone, you have a big, honking iPhone that’s just as bulky as your DSLR camera, which would produce much sharper images anyway — so why bother?

The iRig Mic becomes your default mic for video.


The iRig Mic from IK Multimedia ($45) is a little mic gizmo that attaches to the bottom of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch via the 20-pin connecter. When plugged in, it becomes your camera’s default mic for video. Tascam, which makes fine audio recorders, offers the iM2 ($65), a similar external mic for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Like the iRig, just plug the mic into the device and you’re good to go.

Other Attachments

Action Life Media sells connection cables (for less than $30) that let you plug external mics into the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch if you already have your own mics.

Remember that first you’ll need to go to Settings in your device and turn on Airplane Mode, then plug the mic into the headphone jack to get it to kick in. Otherwise you’ll have feedback. (These cables should work equally well on Android and Windows phones. Since there are so many different Android models, give it a try and see if it works with your model.)

Tip: If you need to mount a professional microphone with an XLR input, pick up the $60 VeriCorder XLR Adapter Cable.

This one is just for fun: The Olloclip $70 add-on lens slips directly over the iPhone camera to give you fish-eye, wide-angle, and macro views. It brings an ultra-cool look to your projects.

Excerpted from Video Nation: A DIY guide to planning, shooting, and sharing great video from USA Today’s Talking Tech host by Jefferson Graham. Copyright (c) 2013. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.


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