Mobile Video Kit
Ant Pruitt

The number one question I’m asked is “What camera should I get?” The second most popular question I’m always asked is how to get started with YouTube video recording. It’s fascinating how so many people assume that you need a big, specialized camera to create awesome video. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, all you need is your smartphone.

Allow me to share the four must-have components that can really kick-start your video creating journey.

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1. Smartphone

While there are some amazing cameras with great video capability, you cannot dismiss the capabilities of your smartphone. Marketshare shows that most of you carry one of the top notch Android phones as well as one of the latest iPhones. Any of the flagship phones offered today make a great option for shooting high-definition footage as well as UHD footage, giving viewers beautiful eye-candy. In addition to high-resolution footage, smartphones offer up smooth footage that’s automatically stabilized. So with video, you’re already capable of handling two huge challenges as soon as you pick up your smartphone. Take advantage of these capabilities.

2. Cardioid microphone

Now that you’re ready to shoot with your trusty smartphone, you have to consider the audio input. Today’s smartphones do a decent job with noise cancellation, but quite frankly, that’s optimized more for your actual phone calls. When using a smartphone to record video, the mics tend to pick up more ambient sound than is desired.

This is why you should invest in an inexpensive, yet quality cardioid microphone. A cardioid microphone will reduce ambient sound and focus more on the featured speaker on the video. The folks at Rode offer several great options. I currently use the Rode VideoMicro with my smartphone or my DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera). In addition to the quality sound it records, my favorite feature is its ability to record without using batteries or a power supply. The mic is powered by a smartphone or camera by default. When using this with your smartphone, be sure you use a TRRS to TRS adapter, which may be purchased separately for under $15. You’ll be amazed at how much better the audio will sound. Rode has several mic options available, but the VideoMicro version is my pick.

3. Flexible tripod

There are times when you may want to stand away from the camera and film yourself. This requires you to either place your phone against something to keep it still or use a tripod with a smartphone mount. I currently use Joby products for this. My primary option is the 5K Gorillapod, but this is only because I use it in conjunction with my DSLRs. These flexible tripods depending on the model you select. Each model is rated based on load capacity. Joby offers clamps to secure your smartphone, but I think Studio Neat offers a better and more secure solution for your smartphone. Better yet, the Studio Neat clamp even allows you to add ¼-20 thread connections to seamlessly mount your Rode microphone to the top or sides of it. New crowd-funded venture, Switchpod, has another mobile tripod option. I have not tested or used this device yet, but it does look like a promising option for the mobile video creator.

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4. Mobile video editor

After you record your epic video footage, you’ll have the freedom to create some captivating sequences via a mobile video editor. There are plenty of great options ranging from free to a subscription model when it comes to on-the-go video editors. Apps such as iMovie and LumaFusion, Powerdirector are popular. I use Premiere Rush in my workflow because I can easily switch it to my desktop if I need to complete an edit from my studio. However, being able to edit on your smartphone allows you to process and post video to social media or upload to YouTube as soon as you’re done without having to sync the files from a laptop or desktop computer.

Create some content

Now that you have the necessary tools for creating great videos with your smartphone, it’s time to execute your plan. Have some fun with your composition. Shoot scenes from your day-in-the-life or start a vlog series. Whatever it is, enjoy the process. When you create something, feel free to tag me on Twitter with your content. I look forward to seeing what you create.