Make A Video Using Your Smartphone Or iPhone – Recipe #1

By June 17, 2013Blog

A video production company can advise on a script, handle all the filming and editing to make your video more compelling. But let’s face it, not everyone has a budget or is ready to hire a production company. So here’s your challenge. Try to make a video using nothing other than a smart phone of iPhone for perhaps your next video blog. This is your chance to prove to the world that great content creation on a smart phone or iPhone is possible. The great news is that you most likely already have a smart phone or iPhone which means it’s really down to the accessories you use to bring it up a level.  With each generation the camera video recording quality is improving so why not take advantage of it? Shooting with smaller equipment isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While you wont see Hollywood productions being shot on a smart phone or  iPhone, even the pro equipment is reducing in size.

This post is close to me because I want to share with you what’s possible on a budget . If you are ready to take on the challenge you will need to make sure you manage your sound, lighting and camera positioning correctly. Add a bit or creativity along with a great script and you should see your production quality greatly improve.  Planning wise you can check out one of my earlier posts on scripts here and storyboarding here. Let’s get you started with the recipe below.

Make A Video Served On A Budget – Recipe #1

Make a video with correct sound and lighting – No video recipe is complete without sound and its important to get this element right. Smart phones and iPhones can take great video, but the internal microphones can pick up a lot of noise disturbance. Unless you are talking directly into your phone its easy for the sound to get lost.  Few people I speak to realise that an external microphone like a microphone used for interviews can be added.  The microphone adapter makes this all possible. To help you make a video with a professional touch get started by collecting the key ingredients below.

Make a video using an iphone or smartphone

  • Microphone Adapter & Microphone Of Choice or RODE smartLav
  • Smart phone
  • Smart phone Tripod
  • Microphone wind cover protectors (optional)
  • Portable Lighting

All prices have been added at the time of writing as a guide and are subject to changes.

Microphone Adapter

make a video with a microphone adapter for your iphone or smartphone

Plug one of these into your iPhone or Smart Phone and you’ll have a variety of microphones to choose from. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. This adaptor will allow you to connect most 3.5 mm microphones to your smart phone or iPhone.

UK Site £8.99 – CLICK HERE  US Site $24.50 – CLICK HERE

Higher quality cable by RØDE – RØDE SC4

UK Site £10.99 – CLICK HERE  US Site $20.00 – CLICK HERE




Make a video with a lapel micrphone for iphone and smartphone

Once the microphone adapter has been attached you can then attach a lapel or lavalier microphone similar to the one below.  Once you connect it to yourself or the subject of your video you will notice a dramatic improvement in sound. These microphones capture sound more accurately and block out surrounding  noise.

Search Amazon or the web and your find plenty of lapel mics to choose from. If you want to really keep costs down check out these mics below. Yes they are cheap, but they will be an upgrade from your phones microphone. Most of the reviews are positive and I’ve personally tried them.

Best cheap Lapel Microphone by Neewer

Amazon UK £6.44 – CLICK HERE   Amazon US $1.88 – CLICK HERE

Smart Phone Microphone

RODE smartlav for online video

The smartLav is a professional-grade microphone specifically designed for iPhone and smart phones.  Users can connect the microphone to a smart phone or iPhone without use of a microphone adapter.  The sound is incredibly clean and will make all of your videos sound great.

Amazon UK £34.99 – CLICK HERE   Amazon US $69.00 – CLICK HERE

Extension Cable

Extension cable for online video

StarTech 2Male to Female Headset Extension Cable

A cable like this is perfect for extending the RODE smartLav.

Available on Amazon UK – Click here

Available on Amazon US – Click here

Microphone wind cover protectors


microphone wind covers for better sound

If you are thinking of shooting outdoors, don’t let a windy day ruin your video shoot. You can capture great audio by taking a few precautions which include using a wind cover.

Rycote makes some great Overcovers have been specifically designed for use with small personal microphones in windy outdoor conditions.

Amazon UK £9.45 – CLICK HERE   B&H Photo Video $16.95 – CLICK HERE

Smart phone / iPhone Tripod

smartphone tripod for online video

Make sure you get yourself a tripod to stabilize the image. You can buy a tripod designed for your smart phone or iPhone for next to nothing. Before filming make sure you set the right height and distance of the phone and camera. You want to make sure that your head isn’t cut off unnecessarily.

There are a number of these portable tripods for smartphones and the iPhone on the market. More and more are coming onto the market, but I’ve listed a few below worth checking out (Prices in descending order)

Joby GripTight – This little tripod supports the iPhone 5, iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 3/3G, and other smartphones (such as Samsung Galaxy S III, Nokia Lumia 900, Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX or HTC Evo 4G), with or without protective cases. You may be able to find it elsewhere on the internet, but I’ve provided some Amazon links below. (Prices subject to change)

Amazon UK £25.00 – CLICK HERE  Amazon US $29.95 – CLICK HERE

Breffo Spiderpodium Flexible Gadget Grip and Travel Dock– This is a funky little grip which has been designed to support almost all smartphone shapes and sizes

Amazon UK £13.99 – CLICK HERE  Amazon US $19.99 – CLICK HERE

Joby GripTight – If you already have a tripod and simply want to add a mount which can hold your smartphone or iPhone check out this little device  Mount for Smartphones

Amazon UK £13.00 – CLICK HERE  Amazon US $19.95 – CLICK HERE

Portable Lighting

Make a video using the correct lighting

You may find cheaper sites and alternative versions but RotoLight is an excellent product which has helped me on so many occasions.

LED Portable Lighting


When you make a video using your smart phone or iPhone just remember that practice will make things perfect. Over time you will become more comfortable with sound and lighting set ups.

Best of luck with your video production – The Video Effect

The Video Effect - Tips by Nigel Camp


  • Daniel says:

    This was so useful. I just ordered a couple of things from your recommendation. Thanks Nigel

    • Nigel Camp says:

      Hey Daniel, I am happy to hear that you like the content and find it useful. Feel free to share and drop me a line if you have any further questions. Cheers. Nigel

  • Nancy Curry says:

    Hey Daniel,love the content I was wondering if you had any ideas for recipe and cooking videos. I am new to the videos and wood like to start a video blog for recipes to share on Facebook and other social media. Thanks Nancy

    • Nigel Camp says:

      Hi Nancy, Thanks for your comments. Producing videos around food is definitely a great space to create great video content. This is a big topic so I’ll create a blog on this subject and will share it once ready. Thanks. Nigel

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