September 11, 2010

iPhone 4 handheld shooting mount

With the iPhone 4’s 720p video there is an explosion of people using them to make everything from corporate films and music videos, commercials and numerous experimental films.  When you use them in ideal conditions the phone can produce some pretty remarkable results, keeping in mind it is designed to make calls after all.

Soon after I got my phone I realized the ergonomics for using it as a video camera are far from ideal. So, like so many times before, I began scratching some sketches in a notebook and after everybody was asleep I found myself digging through a box of spare parts and heading to the workbench.

Not long there after, I had a working grip that made the phone feel more like a camera.  Getting your wrist under the phone instead finger tipping the sides makes for much smoother shooting. With the grip on the left you can one hand it, if need be without worrying about dropping it. 

Just about the same time I emerged from the basement, a friend sent me a link to the Owle Bubo, a commercially available product designed with a similar goal.  The Owle comes with a Vericorder mic (that is incompatible with the iPhone 4) and a silicone case that keeps it in the mount nice and snug.  Each corner of the Olwe has a ¼ 20-tripod mount that is great for mounting it just about anywhere and anyhow.  The unit also ships with a two-part macro/wide angle lens of pretty decent quality…for what it is.

My grip, while looking nowhere as svelte as the Bubo, uses a plethora of spare parts.  It is essentially a Metz handle mount bottom bracket with a Hasselblad ergonomic flash bracket handle topped off with a Stroboframe accessory shoe which is perfect for mounting an LED or Sennheiser MKE 400 microphone.  I should note that the Sennheiser mic works swimmingly with the phone without needing adapters.  Initially I had used a car mount to mount the phone but it didn’t hold it securely so I bought the cage portion of the Zacuto iPhone mount, which holds the phone perfectly secure.  Even though I’m not at all crazy about putting any lens whatsoever in front of the already tiny lens and sensor of the phone, I added a magnetic wide angle lens to the front which works OK…a bit dreamy when heavily backlit… I’ve already ordered a higher quality wide-angle lens.


  1. Hi Sir.
    Is that right, that you do not need any adapter when you use the Sennheiser MKE 400 with the iPhone 4?? Just plug in straight into the phones mini-jack??
    Nice article, I have to say! :)

  2. Hi Adrian,
    Thanks for your kind words, you are correct, the MKE400 works quite well right out of the box without any modifications or adapters.

    Good luck!

  3. Thanks Dirk, I'll try it. It would be great! :)
    All the best!


  4. Thanks! Great news for me about mke400+iphone!