Smart phone multi-camera setup for our video series
Screenshot of our YouTube channelWe recently finished season one of a video series for instructors who teach gardening and art to young gardeners. And we did it entirely with smart devices. In this post I share the basic setup.
The lighting setupLighting setup was two four bulb lights with softboxes for the main lights and two more lights to light up the background. You can see the right light's tripod taped to a couple of stacked wooden boxes on the right giving you an idea of how cramped we were. (See image below for more details)
Samsung Galaxy S9 as main cameraThe Samsung Galaxy S9 was the main camera for this series. It was the latest model of phone that I have and was the best bargain when it came time to get a new phone on my contract. I don't actually use it as my cellular device, but continue to use my iPhone 6S because I don't need to switch every time a new phone comes out. The only real problem I haven't been able to solve is the 4GB file size limit on mini SD memory cards. And, yes, I have reformatted it to exFat. I continue to seek a solution, but until then I will have to keep stitching the S9's files together in post.
The overhead cameraThe iPhone 6s was the overhead camera. I shot at 2k resolution with the idea that I would use the extra resolution to zoom in on the work if necessary. That idea worked well enough. The problem was focusing but that was because the mount I rigged didn't allow me to get my head over it to see if the image was sharp.
Selfie stick smart phone mount used for overhead cameraSometime ago I bought a selfie stick with this good mount. I've used it often mounted on tripods and decided it would be a solid choice for an overhead camera that I had to trust. Obviously, though, Lilly doesn't seem to trust it, or is it me she doesn't trust?
The overhead camera setupThis overhead camera mount setup using a cheap angle bracket and a bolt from the hardware store was plenty solid. To make sure the battery didn't die without me knowing it, I set up an extension and power adapter so it would have continuous power. The problem with the setup was that it was not low enough for me to get my head over the phone see to focus. I eventually bought Filmic's Remote app which worked all right, but created delays because my WiFi connection was a bit sketchy out in the studio. For the next shoot I will get a longer bracket.
The iPad as camera twoI recently bought a new iPad. It doesn't shoot 2k, but it did well enough at 1080p since it was pretty close to the subject. It also gave a professional feel to be able to switch to this 3/4 angle which also gave another view of Elaine's wonderful studio.
Main lights had four sockets each. $80 plus $85 for 8 bulbsHere is a better view of my main lights which were this cheap kit I bought for $80 for another project. It didn't put out a lot of light but was adequate for stationary subjects. For the next project I hope to have an LED set.
This Rode shotgun mic was a great backup audio sourceWhile I always wired Elaine with a lavalier mic for quality audio, this mini shotgun mic from Rode always provided usable backup. Behind Elaine was a main street and the shotgun mic picked up that traffic noise whereas her body shielded the lavalier from most of it. Incidentally, when I bought this mic, the dog was certain the wind screen was meant for her and I have to hide it every time she's around.