Shooting Training Videos for your Company with an iPhone

I had a friend come up to me and ask for suggestions on how to get started making videos for his company. He was going to be making several training videos for his team, life-coaching style lessons that many people could watch versus conducting the same training hundreds of times.
My general rule of thumb is if it’s for one-to-one communication, you really shouldn’t go out and buy tons and tons of camera gear, tripods, lenses, shotgun mics, and the like…. especially if you have a recent iPhone. That thing is powerful! If you film in a quiet place with lots of light and place yourself near the camera to get better sound, you can create quality stuff. It’s not rocket science.
That being said, there are two things I’d suggest you invest in that won’t break the bank but will provide either better quality or better experience filming: (1) Mini Tripod (2) Mic.
MINI TRIPOD
It’s a no-brainer for minimal cost. You don’t want to hold the phone all the time, and with an affordable mini tripod you can place your phone on a desk, table, or other surface so you can be free to concentrate on speaking, not on holding the camera still.
Mini-tripods with bendable legs are really helpful because you can stand them up on normal surfaces, but if you find yourself without a table or desk you can use the legs to grab onto other things like like a pole, steering wheel, rock, etc. Standard tripods generally need to be left, but not with these. Also, if you want to hold the phone while filming someone else talking, you can hold the legs together.
MIC
The built in mic on most iPhone’s is tolerable if you are filming in a perfect, quiet spot. But it doesn’t take much to do better.
If you will primarily be capturing direct to camera content in a controlled space, then a lapel can work great. But sometimes, you might find that you want to get interviews of people, and asking them if they could kindly thread a lapel up through their shirt isn’t an easy sell. In this case, you’ll want to go for an on-camera microphone. These little mics are directional and can filter out some of the noise of the space you are in. But you will also need a special mount with a cold shoe to attach the mic to the minitripod rig, replacing the standard one that comes with your mini tripod.
*One issue to be aware of: the Lightning port. Since the release of the iPhone 7, Apple no longer includes a standard TRS Headphone Jack. You need a lightning adapter to connect standard microphones, which is 99%. And those mics that ARE directly lightning connectors either cost more money ($100-$200 a piece) or have bad reviews. Manufactures haven’t been motivated to upgrade the gear yet. Therefore, you will need an Apple branded Adapter for both a lapel or an on camera mic. Do NOT buy a knockoff. I’ve tried several to “save money” and none of them have worked transmitting audio as an input to the phone. The camera app, or other apps like Filmic Pro, don’t recognize them when you plug it in. You must use the Apple one.
So that’s the story. Here’s the gear 
*Disclaimer: the following includes referral links that pay me a small fee if you purchase using these links.
Mini-Tripod: UBeesize ($13.95). Does the job. Don’t overthink or overpay. https://amzn.to/2G1g53y

Lapel: Boya ($24.00) It has a really long cable and can work for cameras or phones by the flip of a switch. https://amzn.to/2WTKXKa

On Camera Mic: Rode VideoMicro ($59.99) https://amzn.to/2Z4FDoY

Additional iPhone Mount w/ Cold Shoe Mount  ($6.99)  https://amzn.to/2G2Ldjh

Apple Lightning Adapter ($8.86 on sale right now): https://amzn.to/2D55XWK

J.B. Waggoner

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