While the latest top-range iPhones provide a lot of native goodness for mobile filmmaking, adding some accessories makes their footage even more cinematic.
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max debuted in September with plenty of new features, including titanium, USB-C, and some state-of-the-art cameras. For mobile filmmakers, this is Apple’s best device yet. We’re going to take a look at some accessories mobile filmmakers need to get some great shots, including an external SSD drive, phone support, and the latest on lenses.
The new iPhone 15 Pro was announced in mid-September by Apple and shipped a week later. Based on conversations I’ve had with local Apple Stores and other retailers, plus what's being talked about on popular Mac pages, it’s been a massive hit. New orders won't arrive for weeks, and many point not only to the features and new titanium construction but also the USB-C port, which replaced the Lightning port.
I have one in natural titanium color with 256GB capacity, and so far and based on my early tests with the three cameras (and one front-facing camera) using the built-in software, Filmic Pro, and the Blackmagic Camera App, it’s Apple’s best iPhone yet for mobile filmmaking, editing via iMovie or LumaFusion, and general use.
iPhone 15 Pro mobile filmmaking accessories
Since the iPhone 15 Pro is just a month old as of this writing, third parties are still working on accessories, including lenses. Moment released an article and video which not only discusses the new phone, but also compares how it works with its T-Series and M-Series lenses. There are some slight issues and they do have solutions.
Moment also released this 'Cinematic Day in the Life' video with the iPhone 15 Pro Max and its T-Series lenses, and the footage looks pretty good.
Moment's T-Series lenses come in 58mm Tele, 18mm Wide, 14mm Fisheye, 10x Macro, 1.55x Anamorphic (gold and blue flare), and 1.33x Anamorphic (gold and blue flare). The video posted above was shot on all of the T-Series lenses except the 1.33x Anamorphic lens. Moment is now selling cases for both the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max and standard iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, along with a CineClear Protection Filter, Screen Protector, and more. Check out its site for details on their lenses and accessories.
SANDMARC is another option and the company has iPhone 15 Pro/15 Pro Max lenses and other accessories available, including the SANDMARC Creator Grip as shown at the top of this piece. That launches in December for $99.99.
Mobile stabilization and support
While going handheld with the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max isn’t an issue, getting a more stabilized shot is preferred. The good news is, there are stabilizers already compatible with all of the new iPhones, including the 15 and 15 Plus.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 6 is one of my favorite smartphone stabilizers (gimbals). It’s easy to hold, folds up small, there’s 3-axis stabilization, and you can control the phone remotely. It works with many different Android and iOS devices, including Apple’s latest. It costs only $149, and you can learn more here.
Other gimbals that are compatible with the iPhone 15 Pro include the DJI OM 5, Zhiyun Smooth 5S, Insta36o Flow, and Zhiyun Smooth-Q4.
External SSD for post-production and storage
If you’re filming a lot of footage, even an iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max with 1TB of space will fill up quickly, so having an external SSD to dump those clips off to is essential. The USB-C port allows for 10Gbit throughput so it's very simple and fast to transfer footage and organize your clips for editing.
Crucial's X8 and X9, PNY Pro Elite V2, LaCie Rugged SSD Pro (and Mobile SSD), and Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch are all excellent options. Pricing varies on the storage size, but expect to pay anywhere between $80 and $200, with the 'sweet spot' being around $160. All of the drives are available on major eCommerce stores such as Amazon.
Conclusion: Making the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max cinematic
While 'out of the box,' the iPhone 15 Pro will get terrific cinematic shots, adding the right accessories will make it even more cinematic. Even if you're a casual mobile filmmaker, investing in a couple of accessories such as the DJI Osmo Mobile 6 will guarantee smooth shots. My final recommendation is to use a cinematography app such as those from Filmic Pro, Moment, and Blackmagic.