5 must have accessories for mobile journalists by Glen Mulcahy


Glen Mulcahy

Head of Innovation, RTÉ Technology

Your smartphone is a powerful content creation tool right out of the box. Even the headphones can have multiple uses like camera trigger, emergency microphone for interviews etc. But what are the apps and accessories that really allow you to up your game with #mojo?

To begin lets look at the devices weaknesses. Battery life is the single biggest challenge when shooting HD or 4K video with your smartphone so my #1 tool is a powerful auxiliary battery pack. I use an iEC Technology Powerbank which will charge my iPhone 5 times but there are many to choose from, Mophie, Anker etc. Just look at the mAh rating. The higher the number the more charges you will get.

My #2 tool is a decent microphone. If you really want your content to match the quality of high end (ie. Expensive) tv gear then you have to remember the sound is equally as important as the pictures. My favorite mic is my Sennheiser ClipMic Digital. Its an extremely quality lavalier mic which has an Apogee preAmp in line – the build quality is great and the sound is crisp and clean. If your style of shooting is more “run and gun” than sit down interview then the Shure MV88 or the Rode iXY are both fantastic, well built stereo condenser mics. What I particularly like about the Shure MV88 is it can be rotated 90degrees.

#3 on my list is a good tripod or monopod. I’ve tried many tripods but the one that I use all the time is a Manfrotto 500 series. Its strong, portable and most importantly robust.

#4 on my list is a good tripod mount for your smartphone. I’ve tried loads but the one I use all the time now is my Shoulderpod S1. Its a generic mount (so it will fit any device up to and including iPhone 6s+)

For my 5th and last item I’m somewhat torn. Depending on the assignment you *might* need a light OR you *might* need extra storage. So depending on which you need I would have an iBlazr2 Charged and in my kit and a Sandisk iXpand in my pocket. The iBlazr is an incredibly powerful light for its size and can be remote controlled and/or used in single or group mode. The Sandisk iXpand is an external storage device (available up to 128Gb) which plugs in to your iPhone via the Lightning port. I can’t count the amount of times the expand has saved me on shoots where you have to follow the action and can easily fill up available space on your phone.

Check out all this gear an more on an this interactive Thinglink.

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