As usual a bit remiss in my blogging, but I promise, at some point down the road, you my fine reader will reap the benefits of my absence 🙂
Today’s topic, a very quick overview of Beast grip pro universal phone cage/DOF lens mount/accessory attachment device.
Why on earth, with all the beautiful camera systems that I already own, would I get something to make my iPhone shoot more like a useful video camera you ask?
Here is my logic. A lot of times I’m out and about, and I see something I’d love to shoot, maybe walking the dog, or before a dive… Now as much as I’d love to have my big camera there, or even one of the smaller ones, that is just illogical. I have found out the hard way that I am just never going to lug those systems around as much as I’d like or leave them in the car to be theived whilst I explore the underwater world.
Enter the Beastgrip system.
What recorder and sensor with a little eye do I have with me all the time? What little camera do I whip out when I see a humming bird or funny dog at the drop of a hat only to bemoan it’s lack of good glass and ability to be creative with things like DOF. You guessed it, my iPhone.
There are a ton of clip on screw on snap on lenses for the iPhone, and I’ve heard fantastic things about at least half of them. The beautiful crispy images out of the Moment lenses is for sure beguiling. But we are still dealing with the issue of handheld camera. Even with the stabilization of the iPhone 6 Plus things can still be a bit motion sickness inducing. With the addition of the 4K option in the 6 Plus S, and ability to utilize the lightening port as an HDMI out to off board recorder, for ‘made for YouTube’ videos, the iPhone really is a great tool. Simple editing tools in your iPhone/iPad round things out for creating content if you are even the slightest bit inclined.
But how to you attach other the other stuff? The little lumicube, your wee shotgun mic to make audio less grating on the ears, a good solid way to attach your iPhone to the tripod that doesn’t involve a weak spring clamp that likes to catapult your phone to the nearest hard surface…
Beastgrip! Beastgrip! Beastgrip!
Don’t get me wrong, piling all this stuff onto a cage system around your iPhone may feel like it’s defeating the purpose of a super quick light weight video capture device, but the improvement in the content I can create is like night and day. The DOF adaptor that allows me to utilize my Canon EF glass (specifically all those pretty primes that have been shelf queens for far too long) and yeah, it’s not small (it basically doubles the length of my 85mm prime) and you really want to use only your fastest glass, but oh the bokeh! *swoon*
The whole thing fits in a small, non-obtrusive bag that doesn’t scream “STEAL ME!”. I can pack it around with a super light weight travel tripod and whip it out at a moments notice, only interrupting my Pokemon Go! Game long enough to capture the moment 😉
That is not to say it isn’t without some conflagrations. Set up itself is quite easy, the directions are clear, but then you need to decide what app you want to use for controlling things like white balance, ISO, etc. If you have a bigger phone you’ll want to add on the short extensions so the home button is readily reachable. The use of the Canon glass is simply that, you are using the glass. There is no electronic control, no auto focus no auto anything with the lens. Utilizing a DOF (Depth of Field) adaptor means your image is flipped (upside down and backwards) so you need to choose an app that has DOF adaptor setting, otherwise you will be getting good at being a dentist or laparoscopic surgeon in a hurry (all your movements are opposite what you see on the lens). I’m still testing out 4 or 5 different options, and will hopefully settle on one of them soon. Moviepro and Cinecam are neck and neck right now although neither are without their shortcomings. I will write more about that as I get more comfortable with the assorted apps.
More (better) examples of #iphoneography can be see in the film “Tangerine” (shot entirely on iPhone) and the music video for Edward Sharpe directed by Olivia Wilde which utilizes the Beastgrip system.
Here is my first test video, shot with the system and Cinecam app, edited in iMovie on the iPhone. Yes, I should have pulled out a tripod but I was simply too excited to try it. Behold the Bokeh! 😉