I’m on a mission to shoot more video with my iPhone this year and I’ve got a new accessory that’s helping me accomplish that goal. It’s the S1 Smartphone Rig by Shoulderpod ($34.90) and it’s helping me make better mobile movies.
This device is simultaneously capable of tackling two of the biggest problems with mobile video making: unsteady shots and the lack of a tripod mount.
Yesterday was the first day I took the S1 out in the wild for some testing and I have to say I was really taken with the little accessory. While it has three modes (tripod mount, filmmaker grip and travel stand) I mostly only care about one feature: the filmmaker grip.
Essentially the filmmaker grip acts as a stabilizer—and, obviously, makes holding the phone a bit easier and less awkward while filming. Out of the box the kit comes with three parts: an adjustable grip, a grip extension and a wrist strap. All put-together it’s a compact, but sturdy, setup that doesn’t have a cheap feel like so many, well, cheaper iPhone camera accessories.
I found that the filmmaker grip does make shooting video better. I really like the way it fits into my hand. By mounting the iPhone with the home button nearest your hand, it’s easy to open the camera using the lock screen swiping shortcut, navigate to video mode and start recording all with your thumb.
As opposed to holding your phone with a thumb and middle finder, like I am prone to do without any sort of filmmaking rig, the S1 is much, much more comfortable (and natural) for shooting prolonged video clips (and even a series of shorter ones).
While I probably won’t break this accessory out for every video I shoot (like mundane, around the house stuff) I will absolutely use it for the videos I really care about. It’s definitely earned a spot in my regular arsenal and will be coming with me everywhere.
The adjustable grip’s got a large screw-like top that lets you adjust the height to fit any phone. It’s really easy to use and works very well. I’ve used other tripod mounts for the iPhone and none are quicker, more stable or easier to deploy than the S1.
Normally I don’t like straps of any kind: camera straps, guitar straps… you name it. But I always use the included strap when I’m using ...