Affordable Accessories to Maximize Your Low Cost Device.

For further reference, go to Affordable StoryMaker Mobile Production Kit: A Review.

  • Joby Griptight Mount

    • If you’re using a standard mobile phone, you’ll need a Joby GripTight Mount, to hold your device, and provide a tripod mount.

  • Joby Gorilla Pod

    • This is small, sturdy, and flexible mount for steady low-angle shots, and it’s large enough for tabletop interview recording.

  • Cowboy Studio L/Flash bracket

    • L-brackets are necessary to attach microphones or lights, because these devices lack the necessary “shoe mount” standard on video cameras.

  • LED light

    • LED lights are a fantastic addition to any mobile video kit. In recent years they’ve advanced significantly, and at low-cost provide great improvement in image quality. Choose a dimmable LED and mount it on your L-bracket.

  • White card

    • Automated white balance is consistently improving. Even on low-cost devices it can perform very well. However keeping a white card can still dramatically improve the speed and color accuracy of your device. Hold the card in front of the camera briefly before you begin shooting in any new lighting environment.

  • Headset as microphone

    • With some devices, your headset can work well as a microphone. The mic on your headset is often better at reducing background and wind noise than your onboard microphone. In some cases your device will not utilize the headset microphone, so be sure you test before depending on this option.

  • Smartphone compatible microphone (iRig mic cast)

    • When we began testing, we found this microphone also provided a sizable improvement to the audio recorded when shooting video. SWN hasn’t done much prior testing with these mics that are intended to be plugged directly into mobiles, but the results suggest even a low cost external mic with a TRSS adapter plugged into a mobile will greatly improve the quality of sound recorded in your video as well as audio reporting.

  • Rockit or StarTech mic input adapter

    • In order to attach an external mic to either device you’ll need a mic with a TRSS adapter, which has 3 black lines on the adapter to account for headphones and mic, unlike a standard 2 line stereo adapter. Your other option is to use a TRSS splitter such as this one from Startech, or this one from Rockit. With the splitter, you can connect any microphone with a stereo mini adapter.

  • External shotgun microphone with miniplug ($80-250)

    • We’ve been using two shotgun microphones on our projects over the last few years. These microphones, the Rode Videomic Pro and the Azden ECZ 990, span the range from moderately priced at $229 to the affordable but still functional end for the Azden at approximately $80. The Azden has now been replaced by a newer model, the SMX-10, which we have not yet tested. SWN recommends spending the extra money for the Rode. A video story produced with bad audio is no story at all. However those on a budget, or needing even more compact production than the Rode Videomic pro, may wish to try the ECZ 990 or the SMX-10.

  • External handheld microphone

    • The handheld mic works well for correspondents reporting on-camera, or conducting interviews in a public area, on-camera. This mic enables the correspondent to interact directly with their subject.

See this module on microphones for more information on choosing the best microphone for your needs:

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