The Essential Mobile Journalism Kit

Here’s a peak at the Mobile Reporting Field Guide, a soon to be released iBook on everything journalists need to know about using an iPhone for reporting. It includes reviews on equipment, apps, as well as example videos. The guide is the culmination of work by several students enrolled in a mobile journalism course at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. After months of testing, this is the gear the guide recommends for the essential kit.  Stay tuned for the iBook which include reviews of this gear and more, along with apps reviews.

  1. 1. iPad – Great for video editing
  2. 2. Audio Technica  AT831-IPHONE Lapel Mic | LINK
  3. 3. Sescom iAdapt | LINK
  4. 4. iPhone4s 
  5. 5. INCASE Combo Charger | LINK
  6. 6. iRig Handheld Microphone | LINK
  7. 7. ikan | iLED 120  |  On-Camera LED Light | LINK
  8. 8. Audio-Technica ATR-35S [great back-up] | LINK
  9. 9. Rode Video Mic | LINK
  10. 10. Joby Gorillapod | LINK
  11. 11. mCAM lite | LINK
  12. 12. Fostex AR-4i | LINK
  13. 13. iPhone Telephoto lens | LINK
  14. 14. Mophie Juice Pack Air | LINK
  15. 15. SnapMount | LINK
  16. 16. BARSKA pistol grip | LINK
  17. 17. Induro CM14 Monopod | LINK
  18. 18. Promaster FW20T Featherweight Tripod | LINK


  1. Yes that has been my new workflow since acquiring an ipad. Although I have done it using the 1st video editor for the iphone!

  2. Have your heard of a light called Kick, an LED that works with the iPhone and was wifi along with an iPhone app that allows you to have incredible control of the light itself. Using the app, you can set color temperature, intensity and hue. The is even a color wheel with dropper that lets you snatch a c;odor sample and then it adjusts to the color (red for warmth lets say with a blue ambient source that would brighten and correct skin tones) and it will even apply effects. The light will work for both still and video work so if you had a fireplace flame light source, the Kick app would capture both the color and the flicker of the flame and apply it as a lighting effect. But other light source types can be captured like a sunset for instance and you can apply it using the Kick light. Also, the app ill control up to eight Kick lamps and long as each has wifi on board. This type of hardware/software integrated device, I think, is the future of photography. So I’d replace #11 mCAM light with a Kick LED light.

  3. When I can actually get my hands on one to buy and test, THEN it will be one step closer to my kit, until then it’s just a great idea. And 11. on the list the mCAM lite is a protective case, lens and mic unit, not a light Number 7. would be the light potentially replaced. Thanks for pointing out the Kick, I’m happy it got funded on KickStarter.

  4. STUNNING, best of all the 12 mics we tested, unfortunately you’ll have to wait for the guide to hear the samples.

  5. I’d really like to see more track and dolly grip and mount equipment investigated and reviewed. As we all know, most grip equipment has been designed for locomotion of freight hauling train sized cameras but a large part of the digital camera and photography revolution has been miniaturization of the recording device presents all kinds of potential for light weight, inexpensive and much more flexible equipment to mount and move the camera to achieve much more incredible looks and effects and methods for controlling motion like remote robotics. Seen anything lately?

  6. hopefully, with the next week, :) it’s done and being copy edited as we speak.

  7. There is a robotic tripod that you mount an iPhone to and it allows you to tilt, pan, and zoom all across the Internet and using wifi. This means you can have you iPhone mounted to this mechanical tripod device and then be two offices away, in another part if your house, or in the other side of the country and control the movement if the camera. The obvious advantage this presents for video conferencing, baby monitoring, and propert surveillance (of your summer home for example), time-lapse projects, are clear but the potential exists to be able to place the iPhone camera in unlikely and precarious angles, positions and connected to moving vehicles all the while controlling the camera remotely. The camera is controlled by an app. Due to the lightness and flexibility of the iPhone, you can bring motion and control that would be impossible with larger film and video equipment.

  8. …but seriously, why purchase all these different devices to mount on your phone instead of getting a … camera?

  9. Because cameras are bulking, inflexible, heavy, they are not social or connected to the internet; they don’t provide options for editing in camera; they don’t have GPS; cameras are expensive; the accessories for cameras are expensive and not well designed, etc… Does this answer your question Lasse? I own both but use my Canon D5 less and less and less because, seriously, its like carrying an entire gourmet kitchen on your back just to have a picnic in the park.

  10. I am curious if you tested this boom mic: because it, sort of, promises professional quality audio but it’s hard to know that unless it has been objectively tested or benchmarked. The retail price on it is listed as $40. I wonder what its effective range is. As a journalist it is always nice to have a mic you can use to get a quality video/audio interview on the street or on location without a lot of fuss with batteries, electrical sources, cables or transmitters. This fits that bill as long as the quality is good.

  11. @ Franciscolittle: I have read very great reviews of any telephoto lenses for the iPhone. My reviews discount them as serious optics but Photojojo has a $35 lens that comes with s iPhone clamp with a tripod screw mount AND a cheap tripod that speaks volumes about how difficult it is to use the lens handheld and still maintain quality image and focus. However, used with the tripod, this telephoto brings the far away subjects much closer but it also blurs, bends and distorts color on the edge of the frame. Some people pay money for a filter or app (think TiltShift) that has this effect, so don’t be too dismissive, you just have to be the judge of its look and how it might fit with your style. Photojojo lens has this effect because it is a cheap plastic lens like you might find on a disposable camera but again it is a look and Helga and Lolo became a sensation with photographers because they do the same thing. But you can get everything from a $20 cheap telephoto to a mount that allows you to screw Pentax compatible lenses for the iPhone (it costs $270 but…) Definitely stay away from the magnetically mounted telephoto lenses. I would stay away from magnetic ring mounts in general.

  12. @margo We did test it and you’ll be able to hear a sample once the guide is released, hopefully this week.

    It sounds horrible! Unfortunately I have found that with microphones the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ usually applies, most defiantly in the case of this microphone!

  13. Do you have any example videos/stories and links you shot using all of this equipment? I would love to see the stuff in action before I actually buy all of this material.

  14. @jack, have you had a chance to look at the guide? it has many examples of each piece of gear. I know you’re asking for a sample piece of content, we didn’t get enough class time to produce a real-world piece. It’s on the list for next class. I’m hoping to produce a show piece with the gear soon, i’ll keep you post.

  15. @Margo: I see your point but still if you should carry all of the above eq wouldn’t that be at least as bulky as a camera?
    I see all the other features you mention I just can’t help picturing a situation where you get an important call on the phone shown in the top picture or the phone mounted to a remotecontrolled tripod far far away. I would definetely prefer a dedicated camera.