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Best iPhone lens for sit down interviews

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Kent Kitzman
Best iPhone lens for sit down interviews
on Jan 27, 2019 at 11:57:05 pm

Hi all,

I'm doing a super-low budget project for a non-profit. We are doing a series of sit down interviews that we are planning to just shoot on my iPhone.

I'd like to get a decent lens to make these interviews look a little better. I have done a little research and the Moment and Olloclip telephotos have stood out so far. I've also read that the Sirui Portrait Lens is a good, less-expensive option.

Can any iPhoneographers let me know if any of these options are better than the others? Or maybe something I haven't stumbled across yet is a better option?

I'm working with an iPhone 7. The Moment and Olloclip are probably at the top-end of what I would like to spend on this.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!


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Bouke Vahl
Re: Best iPhone lens for sit down interviews
on Jan 28, 2019 at 7:16:23 am

Not to be arrogant or harsh, but are your hours unbilled?
If so, go ahead as planned.
Otherwise, rent any normal low budget camera and a decent mic, or you end up spending more money in post than you would have spent on renting equipment.

I can't comment on the lens, but I do know that proper light and sound is way more important to me.
AFAIK, Iphones have 'dynamic' frame rates, that might kill you in post.

Bouke
http://www.videotoolshed.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Best iPhone lens for sit down interviews
on Jan 28, 2019 at 3:51:21 pm

[Bouke Vahl] " Iphones have 'dynamic' frame rates, that might kill you in post."

My knowledge is not first hand (I've never dealt with iPhone footage), but anecdotally I've heard exactly the same thing, that the frame rates resulted in a nightmare editing situations. I've heard that several times from several disparate sources.

I think the majority of people who have used iPhones on professional projects (i.e., the movie Tangerine), used apps that give them full control over all of the various image settings, and I would assume that includes locking the frame rate as well (although I don't know that to be the case). In the case of that film, they used anamorphic adapters on the iPhones. Those adapters are a few hundred bucks... but I'm sure the lenses they used were worth many many MANY times the cost of the iPhones themselves.

I, too, would say give me a real camera any day.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Kent Kitzman
Re: Best iPhone lens for sit down interviews
on Jan 29, 2019 at 4:11:40 am

Thanks for the replies. I hadn't heard of "Dynamic Frame Rates." So iPhones will just change the frame rates randomly on you? That's crazy (and infuriating). Why would they do that?

Anyway, I was planning on downloading an APP that would give me more control over the camera. If I still go in this direction, I'll make sure it has some kind of function to deal with that. And if I find a decent camera to rent or buy that won't break the bank, I'll go in that direction too. I have the lighting and sound equipment I need to make it look decent. Just trying to find a lens that can help out too.


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Gary Huff
Re: Best iPhone lens for sit down interviews
on Jan 30, 2019 at 5:18:06 pm

I wouldn't spend the money to buy a lens, just position the camera where it needs to be. Definitely purchase the FilmicPro app.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Best iPhone lens for sit down interviews
on Jan 30, 2019 at 8:13:13 pm

I would second advising the use of a camera app like Filmic pro, to get complete control over the phone camera, and of course you want to add external audio to it as well. Shotguns and lavs suitable for iPhones are not all that expensive. A good mount and tripod on a dolly goes a long way to making the look better.

In terms of your snap-on lens adapters, yeah, those are an option. Ollo is popular. My suggestion though is to use the existing lens and physically dolly the phone in and out, rather that use any kinds of zooms.

What I've seen from people doing this kind of shoot is, the phones suck power, so have external battery or AC adapters handy. The phones can also overheat in warm outdoor conditions. Outside for sure, some kind of sunshade hood is vital, to see the screen and controls. The phones also run out of memory at the worst times, so some kind of way to offload or external-record is wise to have.

Of course, if you add up all these extras, it adds up to getting a dedicated camcorder. But you say your budget is zero and the phone is what you will use, so, okay. What I'd like to emphasize here is, getting the most out of the phone cam requires decent lighting and close attention to audio capture. Saving on the phone is one thing; skimping on lighting and sound will kill the whole thing in the end. Lighting doesn't always need to be expensive, and if you can describe the shooting situation there are many here who can make helpful suggestions on low-cost yet effective lighting gear, even DIY solutions.

If you have a 4k gopro or go pro knockoff handy, these are very useful for locked-off cover shots and b-roll.


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