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Video Video Advice

The Best Shotgun Mic for Every Price Point

In a world where so many people spend time watching videos, podcasts, shows, highlights, and tutorials for both work and entertainment, the quality of both video and audio is paramount to making this content great. A plethora of DSLR cameras are available to make high-quality videos, yet their built-in microphones are more than lacking, especially when compared to dedicated hardware. The good news is that this comprehensive guide will help you to find the best shotgun mic for your needs.

Shotgun microphones are among the most popular directional microphones out there, cancelling most of the noise and focusing in one to three directions. They are often condenser or dynamic, sporting a long tube that can be anywhere from 8 inches (20 cm) to 24 inches (61 cm).

They are built with holes within the tube, which are meant to phase cancel sounds coming from the back and sides. This means that the sounds from the back will have very low output and will most likely not be heard (depending on the volume). If this tube is longer, the microphone is more directional.

They are often used to pinpoint and capture sound at a distance, while canceling other sounds that may be present, like traffic or sounds from nature. Yet, this type of microphone is not for everyone.

Searching for the Best Shotgun Mic – A Solution for Many Audio Issues

A question one should ask themselves when looking for the best shotgun mic (or any piece of equipment for that matter) is “What do I actually need this piece of equipment for?”

Shotgun microphones are directional in nature and often bulky. They cancel out most of the noise coming from the back and sides, enabling you to focus on a specific area in front. In what scenario is this mic best used?

A business specializing in interviews, like journalism, will benefit from such a microphone. If you hear great audio on videos shot in public, whether vlogs or actual interviews, most of that is due to a very good shotgun microphone. 

Nature shots or any recording where you need your audio to be from a single source while cancelling the rest can all benefit from a shotgun microphone. 

Anyone with a hobby that requires high-quality audio, such as content creation, or businesses that require high-quality audio in environments where there tends to be a lot of noise would do well with a shotgun microphone.

There are also other alternatives, like lavalier microphones, which you might want to consider in specific situations.

Lavalier Versus Shotgun Microphones – The Important Differences and Similarities

When looking for the best shotgun mic it is still important to understand the other types of microphones available on the market. Lavalier microphones are clipped to your shirt or another piece of clothing with the idea of being clipped closer to your mouth while freeing the hands. They are often omnidirectional, which is great if they are to be used in a controlled environment, like a studio. They can also be directional, depending on the model, which would cancel some of the ambient noise.

When compared to shotgun microphones, lavalier microphones are not as directional and noise-cancelling due to the size constraints. Simply put, shotgun microphones are designed to be directional, and with that in mind, their size is often impractical to be used as a clip-on microphone and are often mounted on a stand or camera. 

You should consider lavalier microphones if you have a controlled environment, like a house or studio, where ambient noise is likely to be low. A shotgun microphone can be used in busy environments such as streets, anything outside, including nature, where you are likely to get a lot of noise from birds, wind or traffic. 

The Best Shotgun Mic for Beginners

As someone new to higher quality audio, you might not want to spend a lot of money when looking for the best shotgun mic if you do not know if it is the right product for you. You might want to start with the following product, Comica CVM-VM20 Shotgun Microphone.

Comica CVM-VM20 Shotgun Microphone

To preface this by saying that this microphone is the best in its class is an understatement. At $130 USD, this microphone remains the best shotgun mic that you can purchase at this price point.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -43dB ~ -23dB
  • Filter: 75/150 Hz two low cut filter modes
  • Output form: 3.5 mm TRRS
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid

Pros:

  • Solid metal build
  • Phone (android and iOS) compatible
  • 20 dB gain
  • Price to performance king

Cons:

  • Mediocre signal to noise ratio
  • Average dynamic range
  • Side noise rejection could be better

With two low cut filters and a super-cardioid polar pattern, you can expect it to pick up more sound from the front and less from the back. It does a decent job at noise-canceling while recording relatively close distance audio. Although this microphone might struggle with dynamic range and side noise cancellation, this is still the best shotgun mic that you can buy at this specific price.

The Best Shotgun Mic for Professionals

When money is not an object, things get a lot more interesting, technologically speaking. For those seeking the best shotgun mic quality, often found in studio recordings and movies with a high budget, they might want to take a look at the Sennheiser MKH 416 microphone. This microphone is priced at $999 USD and does everything.

Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Microphone

The Sennheiser MKH 416 is a superb microphone that comes at a hefty price. The price is appropriate, however, as the device is aimed at professionals who will use it in studio-grade conditions or while filming outdoors.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 40Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -32 dBV/Pa at 1 kHz 
  • Filter: Switched infra-sonic filter
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid/Lobar

Pros:

  • High quality audio
  • Superb noise cancellation
  • Does great both inside and outside
  • It is a standard in the industry
  • The quality justifies the price

Cons:

  • None

Unlike the beginner-aimed Comica CVM-VM20, the Sennheiser MKH 416 is a product meant for professionals who want to record high-quality audio indoors, like podcasts or studio interviews. With its foam filter and available windscreens, it can also be used outside, making it a great all around product.

The Best Shotgun Mic for the Price

This category is rather difficult to measure because there are so many options at different price points. Moving away from the beginner microphones and avoiding some of the more expensive, professional-grade microphones, we can take a look at some of the best mid grade shotgun mic options. A compromise might have to be made, yet it is better than having lower quality audio or an empty bank account. The contenders are the Sennheiser MKE 600 at about $330 USD, the RØDE NTG4+ at $399 USD, and the Audio-Technica AT897 at $250 USD.

Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone

Sennheiser makes great audio products and this microphone comes at a price of $330 USD. The Sennheiser MKE 600 and does great against its competition, namely the RØDE NTG4+ and the Audio-Technica AT897.

What makes the MKE 600 very good, compared to the competition, is the quality of the audio relative to the price. Check out the features below.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 40Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: 21 mV/Pa (phantom power) or 19 mV/Pa (battery power) 
  • Filter: 100 Hz high pass filter
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid/Lobar

Pros:

  • Amazing side rejection/directionality
  • Works great in multiple environments
  • Optional windscreen can make it an outdoor machine
  • Great design – Very user friendly
  • Great tone, transparency and low noise

Cons:

  • None

Some microphones are just good enough on their own. You can do no wrong with the MKE 600, especially for the price. It has the option to be powered by phantom power, or by a single AA battery, which you have to purchase separately.

This microphone does well in almost all conditions but excels at videography. Whether outside or inside, the MKE 600 will not disappoint.

RØDE NTG4+ Shotgun Microphone

RØDE has its own competitor at this price point, albeit a more expensive one. You might not want to pay $399 USD for this microphone. However, given that this microphone comes with its own rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it more than justifies the price with optimal performance.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -32 dBV/Pa at 1 kHz 
  • Filter: 75 Hz high pass filter
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid

Pros:

  • Great sound quality – Natural and transparent
  • Does great in noisy environments
  • Has plenty of features
  • Very easy to use
  • Included lithium-ion battery
  • Great price to performance

Cons:

  • None

RØDE, like Sennheiser, knows how to make a competitive product. What Sennheiser does at 330 USD, RØDE does at 399 USD, but with more features and better frequency response. This microphone also includes an additional battery, making it perfect for videographers.

This microphone is very versatile, so do not be fooled into thinking that it is a one-trick pony to be used solely for videography. Studios and podcasters would also benefit from this microphone.

Audio-Technica AT897 Shotgun Microphone

Coming in at $250 USD, the Audio-Technica AT897 is a real competitor, especially if you consider the price compared to the MKE 600 and the NTG4+. It boasts great performance for the price and competes well against even higher priced microphones. Some consider it an entry-level product, yet it is far from it.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -40 dBV/Pa (phantom power) -41 dBV/Pa (battery power)
  • Filter: 80 Hz high pass filter, 18 dB/Hz Octave
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid, Lobar

Pros:

  • Best price to performance
  • Very well built
  • Appropriately low noise
  • Rich sound

Cons:

  • Included windscreen is bad
  • Filter switch is hard to access

If you look at the pros and cons of the AT897, you will see a great microphone which you can get used to, and buy a better windscreen for, if you plan on using it in aggressively noisy situations. That being said, it has competitors, which do some things better, but for the price, it absolutely cannot be beaten. 

The Best Shotgun Mic Overall

Some would go for the most expensive microphone as the best overall, but it would not be the best choice for people with a tight budget. The entry-level Comica is a great microphone, but it is definitely an entry-level product. 

The best shotgun mic overall is the RØDE NTG4+ for its superb performance and overall quality for the price. The NTG4+ has a great signal to noise ratio, great dynamic range, and sensitivity. It cancels noise well enough to be used outside and inside, especially if you use the included foam. The lithium-ion battery, which is included, means that you can use the microphone in the field. It has a USB type C charging port, so if you have a power bank, you can charge it on the go. One charge should let you record for about 150 hours.

Super audio quality can be had at just $399 USD, rivaling professional microphones. Many pieces of professional equipment start at around $1000 USD and only go up from there. The RØDE NTG4+ shotgun microphone does a lot for a relatively affordable price if one is in need of high-quality equipment for their audio ventures.

Its competitors do a great job as well, including the Sennheiser MKE 600 and especially the cheaper Audio-Technica AT897. Consider them if the RØDE feels too pricey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a polar pattern?

Polar patterns are extremely important for microphones and they represent how a microphone picks up sound. They are called pickup or directional patterns, which are a graphic representation of how a microphone picks up sound. They can be omnidirectional, hemispherical, cardioid, subcardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid and bidirectional. Each has its own pros and cons and should be used appropriately for a specific recording situation.

What is a shotgun microphone?

A shotgun microphone is usually a condenser, a small diaphragm microphone with a tight polar pattern, used to reject sound from the side and often from the back. They are often used in television, outdoors and other situations where power, compactness (relative to large diaphragm condenser microphones), and noise cancellation are valued.

What is phantom power?

Phantom power is what is required to power a condenser microphone. It is +48V DC power, often generated by an interface or mixer. If one is not present, external phantom power supplies are necessary.

Why is the sound of my microphone so quiet?

This could be due to a multitude of reasons and here are the top ones.

  • Phantom power is not delivered properly – not all +48 volts are there.
  • The microphone is turned in the wrong direction, rejecting the sound
  • The wrong input switch is used on the audio interface
  • Preamp gain is set too low (if you set it too high, it might start clipping)
  • Dynamic microphones require preamps to boost the signal
  • Check the cables
  • Finally, turn the levels up if all of these mini-tests are passed

Why is the microphone making noise when plugged in?

If your devices are all grounded properly, avoiding a ground loop, and you are using clean power, your microphone could be making noise because of the following reasons.

  • It was stored in a very humid environment
  • Some of the cables are either poorly connected or damaged
  • You lack a windscreen in a noisy environment, leading to a lot of ambient noise

How can I find the best shotgun mic or mic in general?

The question depends on what you need it for. If you need it for only a specific task, like recording a guitar amp, then you should consider specific dynamic microphones. Voice recordings require different microphones, but then you need to ask yourself in which conditions will you be recording the voice – studio, outdoors, or another environment.

There are general purpose microphones which do almost everything right, but not as good as the specialized versions.

Summary 

A high-quality audio recording will depend on the microphone you use, the cables, interface, and the condition in which you are recording. 

Shotgun microphones can easily be mounted on various stands along with DSLR cameras so that they can be used in multiple situations ranging from videography to studio recordings. Being unidirectional, they offer great noise cancellation and can be used in noise polluted environments.

From the entry-level Comica CVM-VM20 to the Audio-Technica AT897, Sennheiser MKE 600, the RØDE NTG4+, to the professional Sennheiser MKH 416, this selection should cover a wide range of users, from beginners to experienced audiophiles, as well as professionals.

Consider your needs first, your environment, and your budget, and only then make a choice. Not all microphones are equal, but these ones do a great job at their given price points.

Want to learn more about video equipment? Check out this comprehensive iPhone filmmaking equipment review.

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Online Business Video Video Advice

How to Use Premiere Pro – A Comprehensive Guide

A world of content creation that requires video on a weekly, sometimes even daily basis can place a burden on business owners and hobbyists to learn to use new and better software. Free software can only go so far, especially in regards to effects, transitions, and other necessities that can make a good video even better. Even a professional editor with a significant amount of experience would struggle to work with a video editing software that has limited functionality, making it beneficial to learn how to use Premiere Pro.

This is why Adobe Premiere Pro, among other programs, is one of the best video editing tools in the world. To learn how to use Premiere Pro, you should start with the basics – opening a new project.

Starting a New Project – Behold the Interface

Once you open Premiere Pro, you will be greeted by the Home window, allowing you to start a new project or open an existing one. You can also browse through a list of your recent projects if you have any. A single click opens any of your most recent projects.

If you want to open a specific project you can click on the Open Project button. If you are planning on starting a new project, then clicking on the New Project button will prompt another window to open and the Home windows to close. 

How to use Premiere Pro – Starting a New Project & Selecting the Right Settings

The New Project window offers some settings to be chosen at the start of the project. You can select which renderer to use, often having two available, hardware and software. Depending on your hardware you will use a different API, often OpenCL. The hardware renderer is faster, so have that in mind if your computer supports it. 

You can select how the video and audio will be displayed, the options for Video being Timecode, Feet + Frames or just Frames. The options for Audio are Audio Samples or Milliseconds. The default settings are Timecode and Audio Samples and are the easiest to work with.

Scratch Disks is another tab that you can access to the right of the General tab. It has plenty of options for setting up how Premiere Pro saves your files and how it opens them. This is useful if you have more than two drives, especially if you are running multiple drives in Raid0.

Another tab to the right, college Ingest, allows you to import content from connected devices, as well as transcode them using the Adobe Media Encoder. This is useful for larger businesses using a common format.

Once you are done with the details, name your project and choose where it will be saved and press OK.

The Default Interface – Workspace Choice

How to use Premiere Pro – The Editing Workspace

Once you open your project, you should see the Editing Workspace. Workspaces are predetermined ways of displaying the windows that the user would want to see. The default Editing Workspace consists of Media Browser, Source editor, Program (which is where you will see your timeline once you click play) and the Timeline window.

You can use the Media Browser to browse your drives, adding a file to Source. The Source window is used to crop and select parts of a video. You can crop the video, audio, or both. Adding them to the timeline will display that content, allowing you to select and modify a sequence. Depending on whether you added video, audio, or both, they will be moved into their respective audio/video track. 

If your files are from a different source and are added to the same sequence, you will be warned, especially if they vary in resolution, bitrate, or quality in general. You should normalize the quality and resolution before proceeding (albeit it can be done when exporting the video).

If you have specific things that need editing, you can choose any of the following workspaces already present when you start a project, including Assembly, Libraries, Color, Effects, Audio, Graphics, and Learning.

The Other Workspaces

Learning is a new tab that allows you to open Adobe-made tutorials.

Assembly is similar to editing, except that it replaces the Source with a very large Media Browser, allowing you to import media with ease, giving you more space to work with.

Color allows you to color grade your images and videos.

Effects help to make your videos more professional. As an example, you could use a transition to make a video more interesting as the video moves from one clip to the next.

Audio allows you to edit the audio in a more professional manner, giving you the option to choose the volume for each track separately, or pan, as an example. 

Libraries give you the option of using Adobe Creative Cloud libraries, including Color themes, various Graphics options, and more.

Graphics gives you the option to add various interesting graphics to your video including charts, graphs, and titles as you would see in the opening credits of a movie, for example.

Have in mind that you can customize the workspace as you prefer, choosing any of the windows these workspaces use.

How to Create a Sequence and Edit Your Video

Importing Files

Creating a sequence is an important part of making your project universal. In the newest version of Premiere Pro, simply adding a video file will make it a sequence with its own settings. Adding videos with different resolutions or bit rates is not ideal. You can, however, still normalize everything when exporting the project.
Your sequence consists of different Audio and Video tracks displayed in the Timeline window. 

Adding and Editing Graphics

The Graphics workspace opens an Essential Graphics window to the right of your Program and Timeline windows. It shrinks the regular Editing workspace but opens up options of adding graphics. From the Essential Graphics window, you can choose a multitude of different premade graphics, which may include editable text. Some of them have animations. You can simply drag and drop them anywhere on your timeline in any video track. 

Clicking on that Graphic allows you to edit it in the right-side window, Essential Graphics. You can edit everything from the font, if the graphic has one, to its shape and color.

Effects Galore

Effects are a part of almost every video and can break up the narrative of a video or spice it up if needed. They are also entertaining and could make or even break a video when used improperly. The Effects workspace adds a window to the right of the Program and Timeline windows, called Effects. From there, you can browse folders with Adobe-made effects, ranging anywhere from audio effects and transitions to video effects and transitions, also including plenty of presets.

Adding an effect can be done the same way as you would add a graphic by dragging and dropping it where you want it on your timeline. 

You can edit the effects by using the window tabs on the Source window, choosing the one named Effects. Each effect has its own properties which you should consider editing if you want to customize an effect.

Audio Editing

Selecting the Audio workspace opens up the Audio Track Mixer and Audio Clip Mixer windows. One of them is visible where the Source window would have initially been, with the Project and Media Browser moving to the left.

The Audio Track Mixer is arguably more useful than the Clip Mixer. This mixer allows you to separately adjust every track, including the master volume. You will see whether your input settings are too high and whether you should lower some of the tracks. 

Another option is to select which track to play Solo, or Mute a track if you prefer it silent. You can mark any of the audio tracks for Recording so that you can add your own audio if needed. Finally, you have the ability to choose the input device for each track from the drop-down menu.

How to use Premiere Pro – Color Grading

From the Color workspace, a window named Lumetri Color opens to the right of the Program and Timeline windows. It allows you to quickly color grade a video. You can select the video you want to color grade from the tab panel at the top of the Color window. The main editing tab is the Creative tab. This tab allows you to select various built-in presets or create your own. You can do this by editing the Vibrance, Saturation, Sharpen, Faded Film effects, as well as Shadow and Highlight tint.

Color grading a clip from a different camera to match that of your main camera is a typical use-case scenario for this workspace/window. Color grading clips from your main camera is also often needed if you forgot to set the white balance.

Exporting a Project – The Export Window

From the File menu, you can select Export, then Media, to open the Export Settings window. This is also doable via the Ctrl+M shortcut.

In this window, you can see your project on the left, as well as plenty of editable settings on the right. Choose your project’s format and preset, for example H.264 and Match Sequence. This is where you can normalize (to an extent) all your videos if they have different sizes and bit rates. 

In the lower part of the window, you can further edit Video, Audio, Effects, Captions, and Multiplexer. Next, you can Publish the video directly after it is rendered to various online platforms. 

You can then Queue the video to the Adobe Media Encoder if you have it installed and continue working on other projects or use Export to immediately start exporting, which will disable Premiere Pro until the export is finished. You can also edit the Metadata of the project prior to exporting it by pressing the eponymous button.

How to use Premiere Pro – Other Useful Links and Tutorials

No tutorial is complete on its own, so you should look up other interesting tutorials to master specific parts of a software. Learning how to use Premiere Pro is difficult enough with a single guide, so multiple ones should be consulted for the best results.

Taran from Linus Tech Tips has a tutorial on how to edit in Premiere Pro. Kick back, it lasts as much as a third Lord of the Rings Movie, 4 hours and 19 minutes.

This playlist from expert editor Justin Odisho contains 291 different Premiere Pro tutorials.

How to use Premiere Pro – Summary

Learning how to use Premiere Pro can be daunting at first. If you go through the various windows and panels to familiarize yourself with the interface, learn the shortcuts and edit multiple videos, short or long, you should be well on your way to mastering the software. With this tutorial, your professional editing journey should be a lot easier.

Other Resources

Check out this guide on how to export video using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Check out these Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials.

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Video Advice

The Best iPhone Filmmaking Equipment: A Complete Review

So you might be wondering, why would I purchase iPhone filmmaking equipment? Whether you are brand new to filmmaking or you been in the game awhile, you probably know that filmmaking and video content creation can get pretty expensive. The main reason for this is because of the equipment involved in creating video content if you decide to purchase your own. Most of the time filmmakers and videographers will purchase a DSLR, microphones, tripods,  lighting – the whole nine yards.

When you invest in this type of setup it can get extremely expensive, fast. As an example, a typical camera body will usually cost at least $1,500 and many of the best lenses out there are not far behind or even cost more. 

If you are not a professional filmmaker, but instead of a hobbyist, it might not be worth it for you to invest in this level of video equipment. If you do not plan on making money from the videos that you create, it may be better to explore alternatives so that you are not spending so much money. Even if you are a professional videographer, it still might be beneficial to explore alternatives – especially if you are brand new to the industry.

iPhones Offer Quality Video

These days, iPhones and smartphones offer exceptional quality when it comes to photo and video. It is honestly pretty crazy to think about how powerful smartphones are and what they are capable of. Many times if you know what you are doing and have the right equipment on hand, iPhone and smartphone video can actually rival the quality that you would get from a traditional video setup, including DSLRs and expensive lenses.

Why Use an iPhone for Filmmaking?

So with that being said, if you are still asking why you should use an iPhone for filmmaking – here is your answer. Aside from the fact that traditional videography equipment (when not using a smartphone) is extremely expensive, it can also be very beneficial to use an iPhone or a smartphone for filmmaking because it is so much easier to transport and you do not have to worry about carrying around extremely bulky heavy equipment.

What Is the Best Affordable Video Kit?

When it comes to purchasing iPhone filmmaking equipment or equipment for your smartphone, there is really no one-size-fits-all solution. There is so much equipment out there and whether you are new or you’ve been in the videography game for a while, it can get pretty confusing and overwhelming to know what equipment to purchase. For that reason I have created this iPhone filmmaking equipment guide that details equipment that can be used specifically for your iPhone or smartphone if you want to level up your video content. I am excited about this guide and I hope that it helps you when it comes to creating higher-quality video content on your smartphone or iPhone.

My Top Phone Video Equipment Picks

What Is iPhone Video Equipment and Why Should You Use It

If you are interested in creating quality video content using your iPhone then you might be interested in purchasing your own iPhone filmmaking equipment. Investing in your own iPhone filmmaking equipment will make it possible for you to create high-quality video content Wherever You Are whether it be on vacation for your business or even just for fun.

Why You Should Own Your iPhone Filmmaking Equipment

If you are  planning on creating video content using your iPhone or your smartphone then it might be a good idea to invest in your own iPhone filmmaking equipment. This way you do not constantly need to rent equipment or go without and you know that you will always be able to create consistent high quality video content.

The Different Types of iPhone Video Equipment

When it comes to purchasing your own iPhone video equipment, there are so many different types of equipment that you can buy. In this article, we will be reviewing some of the basics such as gimbals, lenses, tripods, microphones and lighting. Within each of these categories I also provide suggestions for different types of equipment. For example when it comes to microphones you can purchase a shotgun mic or a lavalier mic depending on your needs.  there are also different price ranges to consider.

For example, if you are a beginner when it comes to iPhone filmmaking or smartphone filmmaking, it might be a good idea for you to invest in equipment that costs less. If you are more advanced and you know that you’ll be creating a lot of video content on your iPhone or smartphone, then it might be better to spend a little bit more money and really invest in your equipment. 

For each product that is listed in this review, I provide information around pros, cons, and why somebody would or would not want to purchase that particular piece of equipment. At the beginning of the article I also have my top picks from each category listed if you are having a hard time deciding.  Take a look at the list below for a more detailed analysis around the pros and cons for each product.

Benefits of Using Equipment to Create iPhone Videos

Benefit of purchasing your own iPhone or smartphone equipment for filmmaking purposes is that you can create high-quality videos whenever you want. I also provide more in-depth analysis around the specific benefits or drawbacks for each product.  Take a look at the list Above This section to learn more about each product.

Things to Look for in Quality iPhone Filmmaking Equipment

Purchasing your own iPhone or smartphone filmmaking equipment I definitely have a couple of tips based on everything that I’ve learned over the years. 

Something to consider when it comes to purchasing any piece of video equipment is to be sure to take a look at the reviews. While some equipment might look like it is high-quality pictures can often be very misleading, so it is really important to look at the reviews to make sure that you are buying a quality piece of equipment.

Price point: The next thing to consider when you are purchasing your very own iPhone filmmaking equipment is the price point. You have to keep in mind that a lot of the time you will get what you pay for. For example if you decide to invest in a piece of equipment that is $20 or so, then you have to realize that the quality of this piece of technology might not be the highest. It is all about where you are in your filmmaking journey and how much you actually want to invest in your equipment, especially when considering whether you are new or more experienced.

Accessories:  Next thing to consider our accessories. I always recommend people to pay special attention to the accessories when they are purchasing a piece of filmmaking equipment. There might be a really important accessory that you need to operate that piece of equipment but the piece of equipment they are thinking about buying doesn’t actually come with that accessory. Look at the details when you are purchasing equipment.

Specific features:  Next I want you to really think about your goals when it comes to creating videos on your iPhone or your smartphone. Then once you know your goals and the specific type of shots that you would like to create, make sure that the piece of equipment that you are buying is able to match up to the types of videos that you want to create. Otherwise, it is pointless to buy a piece of equipment if it won’t do what you wanted to at the end of the day.


Gimbals and stabilizers

 

DJI OM 4 – Handheld 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer with Grip

 

    • What do I like?
      • DJI is known for creating world-class video equipment, which is one of my favorite things about this phone gimbal.
    • What are the benefits?
      • This is a great option for a handheld, mobile gimbal because it is easily portable and makes it easy to get smooth, stabilized video footage on your iPhone or smartphone. 
    • What are the features?
      • Features of the DJI OM 4 include:  
        • DynamicZoom: Provides cinematic, vertigo zoom effect.
        • Magnetic phone clamp to quickly attach your phone.
        • Gesture Control: Control the gimbal remotely for selfies and group photos.
        • 3-Axis Stabilization to completely remove any traces of shaky video
        • ActiveTrack 3.0: Create smooth footage while walking
    • What are the cons?
      • The cons of the DJI OM 4 is that it is quite pricey for a phone stabilizer. If you are a video hobbyist, spending $149 on a phone stabilizer might not be the right option for you.

Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

  • What do I like? One of my favorite things about the Hohem stabilizer is that it includes a variety of features at a fraction of the price of the DJI OM 4. You are able to get stabilized footage at a lower price.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This gimbal helps users to create smooth, professional-looking video footage.
  • What are the features?
    • Includes features like zoom, focus, pan, tilt, and more!
    • 3D Inception Mode enables the phone to capture footage by rotating 360 degrees
    • Sports mode results in very smooth action shots
    • Ability to control gimbal on the Hohem app
    • Timelapse feature
    • 12 hours of running time
  • What are the cons?
    • Because the price point of this stabilizer is lower and the brand isn’t as highly recognized, it might make me consider another brand more.

CINEPEER Phone Gimbal, 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

  • What do I like?
    • I like this gimbal because you are able to get some basic stabilizing functions for smartphone video without breaking the bank. This is a great option for beginners.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This gimbal provides stabilization when creating videos on a smartphone. Say goodbye to shaky camera footage!
  • What are the features?
    • Cinematic features like time lapse, dolly zoom, panorama and more!
    • Long battery life of up to 12 hours
    • Lightweight
    • Four gimbal modes including Pan, Lock, Follow and POV
  • What are the cons?
    • This is the lowest priced gimbal on the list, which might be a great option for beginners but not those seeking to transition into more professional video.


Tripods

 

Selfie Stick & Tripod Fugetek

  • What do I like?
    • I really like this tripod because it extends to 51 inches, which is pretty tall. This tripod makes it so easy to capture stabilized footage with my phone!
  • What are the benefits?
    • This tripod helps to stabilize footage when you are recording video on your phone.
  • What are the features?
    • This tripod extends to 51 inches
    • Includes wireless Bluetooth remote
    • Doubles as a selfie stick and tripod
  • What are the cons?
    • Because this tripod is lightweight, extending it to the full 51 inches can make it slightly flimsy.

Selfie Stick Tripod, UBeesize

  • What do I like?
    • It is nice that this tripod is made with lightweight aluminum – it appears that this tripod is lightweight and easy to carry.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This tripod helps users to achieve stabilized video when using a smartphone.
  • What are the features?
    • Combines a tripod with a selfie stick
    • Extends from 17.5 inches to 51.0 inches with a  360° head rotation
    • Compatible with most smartphones
    • Includes wireless remote shutter
  • What are the cons?
    • Similar to the previous tripod, the aluminum that the tripod is made with might not last over time or be sturdy as you extend the full length of the tripod.

UBeesize Portable and Flexible Phone Tripod

  • What do I like?
    • I like that this tripod has flexible legs! This is helpful because you can adjust the shape of the tripod legs depending on where you are standing the tropic.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This tripod is helpful because it delivers stabilized video when recording on your smartphone.
  • What are the features?
    • Very portable and compact tripod
    • The legs of the tripod are made of thicker material and result in more sturdy stabilization
    • The joint can be rotated 90 degrees, so you can adjust the angle of the video!
    • Wireless remote
  • What are the cons?
    • Because this tripod is smaller, you will most likely always need to find a surface to prop up the tripod.

UBeesize 67” Phone Tripod Stand & Selfie Stick Tripod

  • What do I like?
    • I really like that this tripod extends to 67 inches, that is very tall and helpful when you are recording videos while standing up!
  • How does it help the reader?
    • This tripod is helpful in that it stabilizes video and is able to extend to a very tall height.
  • What are the features?
    • This tripod extends to 67 inches!
    • Doubles as a selfie stick and tripod
    • Compatible with most smartphones
  • What are the cons?
    • Because the tripod is made with lightweight aluminum and also extends to 67 inches, it might be less sturdy the more that it is extended.

Microphones & Audio Equipment

Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone

  • What do I like?
    • I really like the Rode brand when it comes to mics and am excited that Rode has a smaller mic that can be used with a smartphone.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This mic helps to deliver professional, high quality sound when recording on your smartphone!
  • What are the features?
    • Very compact microphone
    • Includes a shock mount and furry windshield
    • No battery needed
  • What are the cons?
    • This mic is a little on the more expensive end, which may not be ideal for the hobbyist iPhone filmmaker.

Movo VXR10 Universal Video Microphone

  • What do I like?
    • I like that this mic delivers quality at a lower price point than the Rode mic listed above. This way, you can get better quality sound without spending a ton of money.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This mic deliveries quality sound when recording video on your smartphone!
  • What are the features?
    • Includes furry windscreen, a soft case, and two output cables (smartphone / DSLR)
    • Durable design with shock mount to reduce extra noise
    • One year warranty
    • Compatible with most devices (check for your device)
  • What are the cons?
    • The downside of this microphone is that Movo is not a well-known brand, so you may be sacrificing quality for a lower price.

Condenser Microphone

  • What do I like?
    • I like that you are able to get quality sound on your smartphone without spending very much money. 
  • What are the benefits?
    • This microphone is great when recording yourself speaking and will provide higher quality audio than just using the built-in audio functionality on your phone.
  • What are the features?
    • Omnidirectional sound capture for higher quality
    • Compatible with many devices
    • Crisp sound & excellent performance
  • What are the cons?
    • Because this microphone is low cost, it might not last as long as more expensive options.

PoP voice Professional Lavalier Lapel Microphone

  • What do I like?
    • This is a very low-cost option for those who want higher quality sound without spending a ton of money. Great for a hobbyist or a beginner.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This microphone will help users to achieve higher quality audio and introduce users to the world of phone audio for video use.
  • What are the features?
    • Specifically made to be used with smartphones
    • Comes with an adaptor
    • Omnidirectional mic with great performance
    • Long cord length up to 79 inches
  • What are the cons?

Lenses

CoPedvic Phone Camera Lens – Super Wide Angle, Macro, Fisheye

  • What do I like?
    • I really like that this kit comes with three different types of lenses. This is great for a beginner who wants to try out multiple lenses at a low price point.
  • What are the benefits?
    • These lenses help users to achieve different angles and looks when taking photos and videos on your smartphone.
  • What are the features?
    • Create professional photos and videos with your smartphone
    • Compatible with most smartphones
    • Macro lens provides 22X telephoto capability
  • What are the cons?
    • The cons are that because this kit is low priced and comes with three lenses, it might not be of the highest quality or for long-term iPhone filmmaking professionals.

ULANZI Fish Eye Lens

  • What do I like?
    • I like that you are able to purchase this fisheye lens standalone if this is the specific lens that you are looking into purchasing. I am also a big fan of the fishbowl effect and think that this is a really cool lens.
  • How does it help the reader?
    • This fisheye lens helps users to achieve the fishbowl effect, which is a very artsy, fun video and photo effect.
  • What are the features?
    • Comparable to DSLR fishbowl effect
    • Professional, 238 degree fisheye lens
    • Compatible with most smartphones
    • High clarity
  • What are the cons?
    • The con of this fisheye lens is that it is almost $40, so it is a little bit on the pricey side if you have other lenses to purchase.

Moment Tele Lens

  • What do I like?
    • I like the quality of this 58mm lens – this definitely helps to take your iPhone videos to the next level! This is a quality lens for those looking to invest in their iPhone filmmaking equipment.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This iPhone lens helps users to achieve more quality, professional video using the 58mm look.
  • What are the features?
    • Works well with most smartphones
    • Use with the moment pro camera app
    • The lens brings you  2x to 4x closer to the subject
    • High quality attachment lens with lifetime warranty
  • What are the cons?
    • The con of this product is that it is expensive. This is definitely for someone looking to invest in their iPhone filmmaking gear.

Moment Wide Lens

  • What do I like?
    • I really like the look and quality of this lens – this is great for capturing footage outdoors! This is definitely a quality lens.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This lens definitely takes your iPhone video footage to the next level. This is great if you work in real estate or want to capture more footage of the great outdoors.
  • What are the features?
    • Works with most smartphones
    • Ideal for landscape photo and video as well as real estate
    • Includes lifetime warranty
  • What are the cons?
    • The con of this product is that it is expensive. This is definitely for someone looking to invest in their iPhone filmmaking gear.

Moment Anamorphic Lens

  • What do I like?
  • What are the benefits?
    • This helps users to capture more cinematic, professional-looking video.
  • What are the features?
    • Works with most smartphones
    • Includes lifetime warranty
    • Ability to capture horizontal lens flares and wide screen shots.
  • What are the cons?
    • The con of this product is that it is expensive. This is definitely for someone looking to invest in their iPhone filmmaking gear.

10’’ LED Ring Light with Stand and Phone Holder

 

  • What do I like?
    • I really like how the tripod stand is adjustable and how the ring light provides a variety of color temperatures. I also like how the smartphone sits in the middle of the light, so you get a very even distribution of light.
  • What are the benefits?
    • This ring light helps users by providing crisp lighting when capturing video using a smartphone.
  • What are the features?
    • Includes adjustable tripod stand that can extend from 16″ to 50″
    • Compatible with iPhone and Bluetooth
    • 10 inch adjustable ring light 
    • Delivers 3000K-6000K (Warm to Cold) color temperatures
  • What are the cons?
    • Must ensure that the power source is compatible with power sources based on where you live.

Selfie Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Cell Phone Holder


  • What do I like?
    • I really like how the tripod extends up to 51 inches and that the ring light is dimmable. This is very useful as the brightness needed will vary based on time of day and weather!
  • How does it help the reader?
    • This ring light provides bright, even light for users recording video on their smartphone.
  • What are the features?
    • USB Powered, dimmable ring light
    • Phone holder is easily adjustable with ability to rotate
    • Provides three light temperatures: Warm Light (3000K), Cool White (4500K), and Day Light (6000K)
    • Tripod stand extends from 17.5″ to 51″ 
  • What are the cons?
    • The smartphone sits just below the light, so the lighting may be higher than eye level depending on how you have your smartphone set up.

Conclusion 

Okay, now that you’ve been able to review the different products listed in this iPhone filmmaking equipment review, I just want to emphasize the importance of buying products that meet your needs. It can be very beneficial to invest in your own iPhone filmmaking equipment if you want to start to create higher-quality videos using your iPhone or smartphone. Whether you are a professional videographer or you are exploring video as a hobby, it can be very beneficial and extremely fun to have your own equipment in to try out creating different types of videos. If you are interested in learning more about video equipment, check out some of my recommendations here.

 
 
Categories
Video Advice

Ditch unprofessional videos with these 5 video editing apps

If you are diving into video editing and are looking for video editing apps to change the aesthetic of your videos, look no further! In this article I will share video editing apps for your iPhone, for YouTube, and for Android!

If you are diving into video editing and are looking for video editing apps to change the aesthetic of your videos, look no further! In this article I will share video editing apps for your iPhone, for YouTube, and for Android!

A good video editing app is often the point that makes or breaks your videos! Not only do you want to have good quality video on your social media accounts, but you also want to edit this video in a way that is efficient and stress free. In this article I am going to break down 5 video editing apps that you should try today!

The first video editing option is the app version of Adobe Premiere – Adobe Premiere Rush. This app is a very simplified version of the desktop version and it pretty easy to use. This app offers a free version for Apple & Android devices as well as a paid version with expanded functionality. This app offers the ability to live stream, access to Adobe Stock, and other video editing tools, among others. Learn more here.

The splice video editor is easy to use and available on Apple devices. This video editor offers a free 7 day trial, and after the trial ends is $2.99 a week. Some features of this editing app include the ability to sync video to music, trim video clips, and choose from free music, among other options. Learn more here.

The iMovie app is a classic, reliable video editor for Apple users and is a condensed version of the desktop application. The iMovie app enables the ability to choose from themes and filters, trim video and add sound effects. Learn more here.

Quick is owned by GoPro and is available on Apple & Android devices, so if you have video footage that you’d like to quickly edit to publish online, this app is for you! Features include the ability to choose from themes, trim videos, and choose from free music, among other options. Learn more here.

Categories
Video Advice

4 ways to get started with video marketing

 Are you considering getting started with video marketing and need some video marketing ideas? Well, this post is for you! Learn how to get started with a video marketing strategy to set your business up for success! Click over to discover video marketing tips to get started.

Many business owners feel intimidated when starting out with video. The good news is that there are many ways to incorporate video into your marketing strategy whether you are a beginner or an expert in this field. Let’s get started!

Social Media: Video can be cut into shorter clips and promoted using a content calendar on both Facebook and Instagram. This strategy promotes re-purposing content from longer videos. You can even start with a longer, one or two-minute video and cut this into multiple 15 second clips and drip this content on Facebook and Instagram with a call to action.

Advertising: Another use for video content is through ads. As mentioned in the last section, shorter video clips can be extracted from longer videos and used on ads. Another way to use video with ads is through a sales funnel. When someone clicks on your ad, they will be directed to a landing page with a short video. This video should directly speak to your audience and resonate with their pain points and goals.

YouTube: YouTube is an excellent way to grow a community on another platform. YouTube videos should be engaging, interactive, and created with your target audience in mind.

All videos should be planned ahead of time with adequate topic research. Thumbnails are critical for attracting attention, and all videos should have a promotion strategy in place with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other content curation sites.

Your Website: All modern websites should include video in some capacity. When done right, video increases time spent on a website. This is the first thing someone sees when they encounter your brand. Video is rich media and can increase the time someone spends on your site and reduce bounce rates.

We hope these concepts were helpful for you. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out at hello@morgankg.com.

Categories
Video Advice

How to use video marketing in 2020

Are you looking for video marketing ideas for your marketing strategy this year? This article provides you with a video marketing strategy and video marketing tips to up your content game this year! Video is a critical component of your digital marketing strategy. Click over to discover your video marketing strategy for 2020!

If you are trying to improve your video marketing strategy in 2020 or want to create one altogether, this is the article for you! Today you will learn best practices for creating your strategy as well as key platforms and features to watch in 2020.

Pick Your Platforms – One of the most detrimental parts of a video marketing strategy is the feeling of overwhelm that comes with selecting your social media platforms. If you are brand new to video marketing, I would recommend focusing on one platform, mastering that, and selecting another one to target. If you are a pro, select your favorite platforms and let’s keep it moving. Platforms to choose from include YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn, just to name a few.

Understand Your Audience – If your goal is to increase visibility and build a loyal audience, it is really important to know who your audience is. This is primarily because your audience will dictate the types of content that you create. You should survey your audience (possibly using a Facebook poll or Instagram stories) to understand what type of content you should be creating. This way, you are creating content to attract your ideal audience – not just content that you feel like creating.

Measure Your Metrics – Prior to creating and incorporating video into your strategy, you should capture your metrics for the platform that you are working with. For example, if you are using video on one of Instagram’s many video features, you should be measuring KPIs such as views, link clicks and more. On Facebook, metrics could include impressions, views and shares. If you’d like more information on the specific metrics for each platform, just let me know and I can create a guide for this.

Be Consistent – Regardless of what anyone says, video is a long-term marketing strategy. It can take a while to reap the benefits of marketing because it takes time to build traction. However, when you finally build traction, your results begin to snowball because you already have SO much video content for your audience to consume. BE CONSISTENT. Whether you post two videos a month or two videos a week, consistency is key. Of course, the more content you publish, the more opportunities you have to gain visibility, but consistency is more important than posting video content every day.

Platforms and Features to Watch – In 2020 there are a few key platforms that I HIGHLY recommend incorporating into your strategy. Let’s dive into it!

Tik Tok – Right now in December of 2019, TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there. The demographic of TikTok is slowly expanding, advertising is now an option and you can even add links into your bio. Because it is easier to grow on TikTok right now, it may be a good time to grow an audience to eventually transfer to another platform like Instagram or YouTube.

Instagram –  Instagram has a few key features that are ideal for video in 2020. Instagram is becoming more and more difficult to grow, so leveraging newer features that get attention to your brand is key. Try incorporating live videos, video stories and IGTV with an optimized hashtag strategy.

YouTube – YouTube is as popular as ever. It is getting more and more difficult to get seen, so a strategy leveraging search is critical. Create videos with low competition and high search volume on a monthly basis to optimize your strategy. Consider incorporating affiliate marketing into your strategy so that it builds into a passive income stream over time.

Facebook – Right now, arguably one of the best features on Facebook are Facebook groups. When combined with live video, Facebook groups can skyrocket your traffic. Consider going live on your Facebook page and sharing to Facebook groups that allow video shares to grow your traffic.

Ok, so there you have it! I hope that these strategies set you on the right track in 2020. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment or reach out at hello@morgankg.com.