Did you know that your smartphone is a magic movie making tool? It is a powerful content creation tool right out of the box. Even the headphones can also be used as an emergency microphone for interviews. But what equipment do you actually need to become a mobile journalist and what is nice-to-have?
Cover Photo: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), Periscope app streaming a guided tour in Städel museum, Frankfurt-3308, CC BY-SA 4.0
- Camera: Your smartphone is the best camera you own because it’s always on you and it’s very versatile. Current smartphone cameras have opened an entirely new world of creativity. Their quality is good enough for video.
- Microphone: A good video with poor audio quality is junk. Unfortunately most of the built-in microphone in most smartphones are low quality and improperly placed. But a good microphone can cost hundreds of Euros, but luckily there are a few more affordable options. You should buy a microphone that you give you the best value for money. Mine was about 30 euros and I don’t regret a cent of it. A cheaper alternative and an emergency standby could be to use your microphone on your headset that comes bundled with most smartphones.
- Tripod: A tripod can make the difference between a great video and a so-so one. So, a tripod mount is an essential part of a smartphone reporting kit. Fortunately, there are plenty of choices that cost from 7 Euro to 70 Euro. Very nice is a flexible smartphone tripod that allows you to attach this tripod to any tree, pole, or table. But a cheap table stand might cost 5 Euros. That is good enough at the beginning.
Nice to have
- Selfie Stick
- Smartphone Rig, Tripod Mount, Filmmaker Grip, and Traveler Stand
- Power Bank
- external storage
- A digital camera that allows you to record videos and a WiFi SD card.
Workshop: How to make a short documentary with a smartphone
Part 1: The best apps for making videos
Part 2: Mobile journalism must haves
Part 3: General filming tips
Part 4: Michael Rosenblum’s “five shot” method for meaningful video sequences
Part 5: Tips for shooting dynamic video interviews
Part 6: Working with video apps
Part 7: How to make a documentary
Part 8: Further reading