Last week we featured a "cool tools" video that not only focused on small things you can add to a cell phone production, but was also completely shot on cell phones!
I won't lie and say it was the easiest experience, there were definitely a few challenges to making it all come together. With both good and bad, it showed that utilizing a cell phone as a viable production tool is definitely an option in some senses...
On the "pro" side of list, this was probably one of the lightest productions I've had to pack for. Phone in pocket? Done. Full disclosure, it was a bit easier because many of the tools were at the location already, but lets go over what was used:
1. "A" Camera: Samsung Galaxy Nexus, held onto a PNC Shark Clip, on a Sirui T-005X tripod. This setup is great because the clip will hold a wide variety of phones, or even small compact cameras. The Sirui tripod is absolutely tiny, and even a bit overkill for a phone, but folds up in to nearly nothing. It's super-stable for most light weight cameras, and its ball head does a great job of holding the phone in any position or angle needed.
2. "B" Camera: iPhone 4 with a Zeikos Video Bracket, clipped in with a Kupo Alli clamp. This is where you know a grip/gaffer brain was in play. On the shoot day, we only had one Shark clip, otherwise I would've just used that on the bracket too. In a pinch though, the Alli mounted to the video bracket and provided a very secure way of attaching an iPhone. The handle on the bracket helped steady out footage by providing a much easier way rig to grip rather than having to hold onto the phone.
3. Light: Daylight balanced fluorescent bulb, inside a video softbox. This is a bit more of a specialized tool but could easily be replaced by a bulb from the local hardware shop. The store is equipped with some overhead lights but I wanted to add a bit of light to clean up the phone image. In lower light, the phone's sensor has to work harder, resulting in some noise in the image. The light is very easy to setup and produces little to no heat. Because it matched the color temperature in the store, there weren't any weird color shifts to contend with.
4. Additional support: PNC Pico Dolly. This was featured in the video, but is much more of a versatile tool than just for phones. Its solidly built and could support a heavier camera (A DSLR is possible with the right outfitting!). It does need a pretty smooth surface to work (glass, plexi, something without bumps...), the clip of the shelves of paper is a bit jerkier than I'd like because it was riding on carpet.
Now, all of these parts could pack very easily into a backpack or small bag, the biggest parts being the stand for the light (overcome if you used a cheap clip lamp from the hardware store...) and the tripod. Otherwise you're looking at a phone, and some very small bits!