Improving iPhone videography with the Beastgrip Pro camera rig [Video]

By itself the iPhone has proved to be a more than capable photography and videography camera. And just like with standalone cameras, when combined with the right accessories, you can enhance the quality of your photos and videos.

For a lot of videographers in particular, a good camera cage marks the beginnings of a flexible video-taking rig. The same can hold true with the iPhone. When paired with an accessory like the BeastGrip Pro — a smartphone-centric camera rig and lens adapter system — you can bolt on additional accessories that allow you to do even more.

To be clear, a camera rig isn’t a must-have for taking good videos. Having an eye for your subject and optimizing lighting and sound is still of the utmost importance. But having a rig and lens adapter system may help you heighten the skills that you’ve already acquired.

That’s where the Beastgrip Pro comes into play. It’s a highly-configurable smartphone rig that allows you to use different types of lenses, accessories, and stabilizers with your iPhone.

The Beastgrip is also flexible, in that it can adjust to work with the latest iPhones, as well as older iPhones and Android phones. I paired the Beastgrip Pro + Wide Angle Lens Bundle with my iPhone 7 Plus, and was largely impressed with its modularity and overall flexibility.

Video walkthrough

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Specifications

  • Cold shoe mount for attaching LED lights, microphones and other accessories.
  • Removable handle grip for increased handheld stabilization.
  • Standard 37mm threaded lens/filter mount.
  • Five 1/4″-20 mounts for stabilizers, tripods, sliders, and other gear.
  • Easily adjustable and modular design that ranges from a basic tripod mount to a full on camera rig.
  • Wide-angle/macro lens attachment.

If you’re simply looking for a way to mount your iPhone on a tripod and nothing more, then there’s no shortage of options on Amazon. However, if you’re serious about iPhone videography in particular, then the Beastgrip is a well-built choice that brings a wide variety of configuration options to the table.

Included in the box is an accessory package with spare parts, a hex screwdriver, extension rods for accommodating larger phones, and a handy lens wrench for removing filters and lenses.

Configuring the Beastgrip

Although the Beastgrip is large enough to work with a variety of iPhone cases, the maker suggests using the iPhone 7 Plus without a case for the best experience. I wasn’t too keen on de-casing my easily-scratched iPhone 7 Plus, so I was willing to live with using a case.

The Beastgrip includes a spring-loaded clamping mechanism for safely securing a smartphone within its grasp. The clamp itself is highly customizable, as it can be adjusted using any of the five pairs of built in screw holes to reposition the clamp jaws to perfectly fit your phone.

Two thumb screws are included to adjust the width of the Beastgrip, and two additional thumb screws are used to move the lens attachment perfectly into place. Even the lens attachment itself can be moved to position it flush with your smartphone camera, which is great for phones with large, protruding lenses.

In all, there are four basic configurations that the Beastgrip can employ:

  • Lens attachment with handle
  • Lens attachment without handle
  • Handle only, no lens attachment
  • Tripod mount only, no handle or lens attachment

Of course, depending on the accessories that you add to the Beastgrip, all of these configurations can be modified to meet your specific shooting needs.

Mounting the iPhone 7 Plus

Inserting my iPhone 7 Plus into the Beastgrip was a simple affair that involved sliding back the spring-loaded clamp, and inserted my iPhone. Again, Beastgrip recommends mounting the iPhone 7 Plus without a case for the best fit and best results.

10 reasons to use the Beastgrip

There are many reasons why you might consider using the Beastgrip, but my favorite thing about this device is its flexible and utilitarian nature. There are many ways to use the Beastgrip + iPhone combination effectively in a video or photography workflow, but we’ll only consider a few of them in this post:

Handheld stability

Thanks to the contoured grip of the removable handle, it’s easier to pull off smoother handheld footage. This is especially doable when combined with the iPhone’s Optical Image Stabilization feature.

Macro photography

The Beastgrip Wide Angle Lens Bundle includes a macro lens for pulling off up-close shots that just aren’t possible without this sort of lens. It’s a wonderful tool for showcasing subtle details on video.

Wide angle shots

The Wide Angle Lens Bundle also includes a 0.43x Wide Angle lens for capturing a wider field of view than is possible with the native iPhone lens.

Tripod mount

The Beastgrip has five 1/4″-20 mounts with the one located underneath the spring-loaded clamp dedicated to tripod duties. Handheld stabilizers and OIS can only do so much, and sometimes there’s nothing that can replace a tripod or monopod.

Use it with a slider

If you’re looking to spice up your video footage, then a slider can add some additional style. I’m using the Rhino Slider EVO Carbon with Rhino Motion, which is a downright fantastic slider.

Mount LED Lights, microphones, monitors and more

While there’s only one 1/4″-20 mount dedicated to stabilization, there are four additional mounts that can be used for virtually anything else. If you’re into videography, adding an external microphone like the Rode Video Mic Go can go a long way towards improving your footage. Just don’t forget to pick up the necessary TRS cable.

Those 1/4″-20 threads are also perfect for mounting external monitors for high quality VLOG and selfie footage, along with LED lights for improved lighting in dimly-lit places.

Cold shoe mount

If the five 1/4″-20 mounts don’t meet your needs, you’ll be happy to know that the Beastgrip includes a cold shoe mount right above the main clamp.

The cold shoe can be used to mount accessories like lights, microphones, etc. And if you find that a single cold shoe mount isn’t enough, Beastgrip also sells an additional cold shoe mount accessory that can be added on to any of the device’s 1/4″-20 mounts.

Add-on lenses

The Wide Angle Lens Bundle includes both a macro lens and 0.43x wide angle lens, but you can use any lens with a 37mm thread mount, or use step-up rings to accommodate larger lenses. Beastgrip sells several additional lenses that work directly with the rig, including a high-quality Pro Series 0.75x wide conversion lens that blossomed from a collaboration with Japanese photographic accessories-maker Kenko.

DOF adapter

If you’re looking to step things up a notch, the Beastgrip will let you use Canon EF mount lenses made for standalone DSLRs by utilizing a DOF adapter. The first version of this adapter is already available, but a MK2 version is in the planning stages, with a Kickstarter campaign in the cards.

Super modular and works with almost all smartphones

Above all, the Beastgrip is super-modular, so it can easily adapt to your needs. The customizable spring-loaded clamp ensures that it can work with a variety of smartphones on the fly, and the modular design means that it can easily perform multiple functions and transform to accommodate different use case scenarios on the fly.

The $165 Beastgrip Pro bundle won’t automatically result in better videos, but when combined with the proper techniques and a video-centric app like Filmic Pro, it can definitely heighten your iPhone videography skills. You can find the Beastgrip Pro + Wide Angle Lens Bundle on Amazon and/or B & H Photo Video.

Do you use any accessories to improve your iPhone photography or videography? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts and experiences.

To learn additional ways to take better videos with your iPhone, be sure to check out our Filmic Pro hands-on tutorial.

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