Shoot with What Ya Got: Cell Phone Video Add-Ons


You might have heard the old saying "The best camera for the job is the one you have with you." In this age of ubiquitous smartphone use, your cell phone may sometimes be just that camera, since you probably do carry it everywhere. Smartphones can also provide quicker and easier sharing of video than many DSLRs or camcorders, ensuring that your revealing bystander view of a newsworthy event, a family event, or your pooch's latest antics are posted to the Web "toot sweet" [sic].

Here are some kits and accessories to help produce better videos with your cell phone, whether for personal recordings or producing content for your social media channel. Choose from a kit, add-on lenses, tripods, grips, and supports, filters, and assorted components.

Pick A Kit

All-in-One Ready, set, and go shoot with the Padcaster Verse-X—this versatile, pro-style bundle includes a tabletop tripod/pistol grip, a universal phone mount, and a microphone. The entry-level priced ALZO Smartphone Streaming Video Rig includes a side handgrip, a mic with windsock, and a splitter cable for monitoring your audio.For a fun gift for any teen or budding filmmaker in your life, check out the super-affordable Apexel 5-in-1 Lens Kit. This bundle includes wide, fisheye, and macro lenses, a tabletop tripod, and a shutter remote for selfie videos or for remotely capturing kids, pets, or wildlife.

Padcaster Verse-X
Padcaster Verse-X

Tripod / Handgrip and Light Are your videos too dim and prone to an undesired shaky-cam look? Choose the compact yet extendable Manfrotto Tripod and Dimmable LED Kit with a 61" maximum height and tungsten and diffusion filters, or the flexible 9.7" Magnus Tabletop Tripod and LED Kit, from B&H. Looking to add serious lighting oomph to your scene while shooting handheld? The Lume Cube Smartphone Video Kit outputs up to a stunning 1500 lumens and includes a combo phone/light mount with a detachable rubber-gripped handle. This ikan Video Producer Kit for Smartphones, from B&H Photo, offers a dimmable LED light, a dual-grip handle, and a universal phone clamp.

Lume Cube Smartphone Video Kit

Add A Lens or Set of Lenses

Single Wide Lens I find that when shooting with my cellphone, I often turn to a telephoto lens when taking stills but, usually, look to widen my field of view when capturing video. If you're looking for an easy-to-attach single-lens solution, check out the bitplay HD Wide Angle Lens with the universal AllClip mount that stretches from side-to-side, or the clip-on Bower HD Cinema Wide Lens. The Moment Wide Lens provides twice the coverage of most cell phones' native lenses and secures to Dedicated Cases, available for a wide variety of phones. The Beastgrip x Kenko Pro Series 0.75 Wide Lens is a high-end, multi-coated lens that widens your phone's field of view by 25%. Mount this lens on the Beastgrip Pro Smartphone Rig or on a phone case with a 37mm thread.

bitplay AllClip + Premium HD Wide Angle Lens

You can even give your videos the widescreen touch with the use of a Moondog Labs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter Lens. Available for 37mm thread phone cases and in various iPhone models, this lens uses your phone's full resolution and requires de-squeezing in post-production.

Moondog Labs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter Lens

Lens Kits For a multi-lens selection, try the clip-on Sirui 4-Lens Kit including wide, portrait, macro, and fisheye lenses, plus a polarizer and carrying case. Constructed from Schott optical glass, these premium lenses feature multi-element lens groups for optimal image quality. The budget-minded Bower 4-Piece LED Lens Kit provides wide, macro, and fisheye lenses, each of which fits into a clip-on mini LED ring light—a perfect gift for any video bloggers in your life.

Sirui 4-Lens Kit (Black Wide, Portrait, Macro, Fisheye, and Circular Polarizer)

Tripods and Supports

Adapters Prep your phone for use with a tripod, handgrip, or other support with one of these Smartphone Tripod Adapters. Most are clamp-style and include ¼"-20 and/or 3/8"-16 mounting threads. The MeFOTO SideKick360 Plus also incorporates an Arca-Swiss type base, so it clicks right into still photo tripods with that kind of mount.

Tripods Support your smartphone with a mini or tabletop tripod to provide a stable base for your video shots. Options range from the flexibly-jointed Joby GorillaPod Video to more sophisticated pan-and-tilt heads such as the Beastgrip Mini Tripod BT-50—both include a ¼"-20 quick-release plate. Standard-height tripods include the Magnus VT-300, which weighs 4.5 lb and has a maximum height of 64", and the Sony VCT-R640, which extends to 57" and weighs 2.7 lb. Add tracking moves to your shots with the Davis & Sanford Explorer V Tripod Kit. In addition to a tripod with a pan/tilt head and a spider-type dolly, this kit includes a tablet mount, but you can easily add a phone adapter from the link above.

Joby GorillaPod 5K Flexible Mini-Tripod with Ball Head Kit

Get A Grip: Single and Dual Handles Constructed with a sturdy aluminum, Glide Gear's Two-Handle Cage features compatibility with most phones, cushioned handgrips, a neck strap for additional stabilization, and multiple ¼"-20 threads. If you're a multi-brand phone family, including wider models, try the Shoulderpod S1 Smartphone Rig. This economical, single-handed grip fits a variety of phones measuring 1.9 to 3.6" wide, enabling you to pass video recording duties to Missy or Junior while you head to the buffet at a family event. Each Melamount Stabilizer Pro for iPhone has two ¼"-20 threads for horizontal or vertical (portrait) mounting, three cold-shoe mounts for accessories, and dual handgrips that can be folded in when not in use.

Glide Gear Professional Smartphone Video Camera Rig

Gyro Gimbal Stabilizers Step up to a smartphone gimbal to add the smooth, gliding effect of electronic stabilization to your video footage. The FREEFLY Movi Cinema Robot is compatible with smartphones up to 3.5" wide, features standard and moving time-lapse, Smartpod tracking mode, and Orbit circling motions. Combining gyro stabilization with a handheld platform, the Steadicam Volt can accommodate an external mic and folds for travel. The Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q Gimbal can charge select phones while filming and supports heavier phones weighing up to 7.8 oz. The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 runs for up to 15 hours and offers tracking, underslung, and panoramic modes.

FREEFLY Movi Cinema Robot Smartphone Stabilizer

Mechanical Gimbal Stabilizers These mechanical stabilizers take a little more practice to use than their motorized counterparts, but they can never run out of battery power and are solidly built with no electrical components. The Cellfie Stabilizer, from industry stalwart Glide Gear, features a ball head and preset marks for popular phones on its telescoping center pole. The Axler Robin 05R V2 balances by adjusting the gimbal handle along its post and features a quick-release plate. The versatile VariZoom StealthyGo Plus can be configured in five ways including as a single grip, stabilizer, or selfie stick and it includes a Bluetooth shutter-remote fob for iOS or Android devices.

Glide Gear Smart Phone/GoPro Cellfie Stabilizer

Improve Your Audio

Microphones Consider adding an external microphone to your smartphone rig to boost your video's audio quality. Inconspicuous Lavalier mics like the RØDE smartLav+ are designed to be clipped to interview subjects. Directional mics can remain mounted on or near your smartphone to capture a wider audio pattern. Popular models include the RØDE VideoMic Me in 3.5mm Jack or Lightning Connector versions, and the Shure MOTIV MV88 Stereo Mic for iOS. Handheld options include the IK Multimedia iRig Voice for iOS/Android, the Polsen HH-IC Mic & Headphones Kit, and the high-end Sennheiser Mobile Mic Kit with mic stand and selfie stick.

Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Condenser Microphone for Smartphones

Filters and Accessories

Smartphone lenses are limited in their exposure control; gain greater creative control by using clip-on ND filters like the set of three SANDMARC Scape ND Filters, the 3-stop Tiffen 37mm ND 0.9 Kit, or the variable Rhino ROV ND Filter. Use the PolarPro Iris Mobile Filter System's clamp-on device to hold one of its three included ND filters. In addition to lowering your exposure values, polarizer filters like the Polaroid 37mm Circular Polarizer reduce or eliminate reflections and haze in your images. NiSi's clip-on Prosories P1 Compact Filter Kit includes a graduated 3-stop filter and a circular polarizer.

SANDMARC Scape ND Filters

What combination of components do you prefer to use when shooting cell phone video? Leave your comments below and explore more accessories on the B&H Photo website.