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Ever since I started using Facebook Live and wrote a few guides about it, i’m asked what accessories I would recommend for all kinds of scenarios, so I assembled a list of must have mobile photo accessories like microphones, tripods and some special items to make your videos look like they were shot by a pro.
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Microphones are the most wanted and needed gadget when streaming from your mobile. Your phone’s mic just won’t do the job if you are not in an empty room and the only one talking. There are some great solutions for interviewing people from your mobile and even for big events when lots of people talk in the same radius. All microphones are smartphone friendly, make sure to check they work with your OS. Shure MVL Shure is a well known player in the sound industry and the mic is not over priced yet you can find cheaper ones, depends on your budget. It gets a high rating of 4.4/5 stars on Amazon and is available for both iOS and Android with no extra converters or special apps. The mic’s cable is 1.2m long and in the box you get a small pouch along with windscreen and a tie-clip.Rode SmartLav+ The SmartLav+ is an upgraded version to a veteran mic model with a better build quality and sound improvements from Rode, hence the price is a little higher than the Shure. The cable is 1.2 and you also get the same package with a tie-clip, a windscreen protector and a small pouch. Rode doesn’t share details about it’s availability for Android phones but does say it works well with iOS devices.
Boya By-m1 The Boya mic has a trick up it’s sleeve with a 6m long cable and an inner battery for power supply. While other microphones rely on the smartphone as a power source, the Boya is totally independent, enabling it to work not only with iOS and Android devices but also with PC’s and DSLR’s/ Camcorders. If a long cable is what you are looking for in your next mic, along with a great cheap price, you get an amazing gadget.
Movo Executive The Movo is the go-to accessory if you need a 1:1 interview. Its super power is having 2 microphones in the price of 1 with enough cable length for 2 people to sit and talk. When you don’t interview you can always disconnect the 2nd mic and use it solo, great ROI in this gadget. The main mic has a cable 1.5m long and the guest mic has 2.4m long cable.
Rode VideoMic Me The VideoMic Me version is the best solution for directional microphone you can get. The mic only listens to what’s infront of it so you don’t get to hear people talking around you in crowded places like conferences and tradeshows where you just want to listen to the person infront of you. You can use the mic for videoing yourself in Selfie mode if needed, it also has a flexible mounting bracket to make sure it stays in place while you shoot. It works with iOS and Android devices but make sure to buy it only if your headphone jack is in the opposite side of the phone’s camera, otherwise it will show in the frame!
Tripods and lookalikes
It seems the tripod has been there since the dawn of time, but it actually plays a vital role in mobile video photography. Holding a big DSLR or camcorder is often much easier to stabilize, while each tiny movement with your phone results in a big shake for the viewers. Adding a any kind of stabilization to your package is crucial, starting from tiny tripods for desktop use to full scale ones that can see above people’s heads. CamKix Premium 3in1 Telescopic Pole This special bundle is an excellent start to your package. It offers a tiny desktop tripod and 16-47″ selfie stick pole that can be connected to one high monopod. It’s useful in crowded places like conferences where space is limited and especially if you want to travel light. You also get a bonus Go Pro mount, great buy.
Davis & Sanford EXPLORERV A more classic tripod, 60″ high with a 3 way pan head with bubble level. I like using tripods as their movement is a lot smoother when changing angles and they stay stable during the shoot.
Joby Magnetic Tripod The well known Joby, creator of the Gorilla Pod also has a mobile version for its tripod. Super strong magnetic feet hold on securely to any ferrous metal surface. Flexible, wrappable legs secure your phone to virtually any surface.
This is the most recommended gimbal for 2017. The Chinese Smooth Q has the best value for money with a lot of features for a small price (compared to competition). With the dedicated iOS/ Android app you can control your camera directly from the joystick, but you can also use your preferred camera app while still controlling the movement of the gimbal. The battery lasts for 12 hours and mounting a phone is really easy and fast. The gimbal has a weight limit of up to 260 grams, which is enough for Samsung Note 8 (195 grams) or even the new big iPhone models.
Beastgrip Universal Rig System As you can see in the photos below, the Beastgrip is quite a beast. The grip is actually a rig that wraps your mobile device allowing you to connect various accessories like lenses, microphones, tripod, lighting etc. while enabling you a good grip for a better stabilization. It’s expensive and not a must have item, but it sure is an upgrade to any mobile camera.
ROXANT PRO video camera stabilizer No room to set up a tripod? Need to be mobile? Roxanto has the perfect solution for you with the Pro model. Keep in mind to buy a smartphone adapter as it is not supplied in the package.
iPhone users already have quite a variety of high end mobile lenses, but when I looked for a brand that works both iOS and Android I hit the wall. Until I found Moment Lenses. While the Chinese lenses are very dominant on Ebay, Amazon and the global websites, their build quality is poor and their image quality is even poorer, which is reasonable for an average 15$ for each lens.
Moment makes unique high quality lenses for mobile phones. Made from metal and good quality glass, their lens range is priced 79$-89$ with free shipping. Unlike the Chinese, they don’t clap on your device but attach to a special plate (or phone case) you get in the package, this ensures perfect compatibility between the phone’s camera and the lens.
Moment’s lenses are available in 4 high end models: Superfish, Wide, Tele (60mm) and Macro. They provide an amazing experience with their build and image quality, making it a must for the wanna-be-pro mobile photographer.
As for compatibility, the lenses will work with specific iOS and Android models: iPhone 5 to iPhone 7, iPad Air 1+2, Samsung Galaxy Note series and Galaxy series up to the S6 Edge model and Nexus 5. You can stay updated on new models in the company’s website.1