a real optical zoom on a camcorder. After a
small bit of zooming, the picture visibly degrades. You can get around that limitation by
leveraging the screw threads on the case to
add a wide angle, or a doubler, or some longer-focal-length lens. This can give you multiple
focal lengths from one given position.
Another benefit to using lenses is you can
then place the cameras where you want them—
often further away from the subject than you
could without the lens—and then use the lens to
get back in closer to the subject. This is especially valuable at public events where you don’t
want to have your expensive phone mounted on
a stand out in the open where it can get knocked
over or maybe even stolen.
There are some high-quality lenses out there
made specifically for these iPhone cases. There
are other lenses from manufacturers such as
ExoLens (Figure 11) and Moment that use their
own mounts. Sometimes you can adapt your
way between them, sometimes not, because
the tolerances for where the lens needs to be
is very small.
You can also find adapters for 35mm still cam-
era lenses from Beastgrip, Turnikit, and others.
These adapters enable you to choose most any
focal length for your shot. They have the added
benefit of giving the image a shallower depth
of field, to make it look as if you shot the video
with a DSLR. It is a very different look than what
the “everything in focus” phone camera normal-
ly delivers. This can really set your iPad-based
production apart from the rest, if you’re look-
ing for that.
Lenses are a critical part of developing a kit
that will serve you well in a variety of situations.
I already have 12 lenses just for my phones.
The professional, multi-camera, mobile broadcast revolution is here. The tools are readily
available and plentiful, so you can pick and
choose what serves your needs. But be aware
that it’s not all plug-and-play, because we are leveraging consumer electronics to try to produce
broadcast-quality shows and streams. There are
challenges, trade-offs, and some things you just
I recommend picking your end goal and working backward to select the tools that will supply
what you need.
Anthony Burokas is a 20-plus-year broadcast TV video producer
currently based in Dallas. He has produced an extensive body
of event, corporate, special-interest, and broadcast TV. His
website is IEBA.com. His new studio space, Frisco Studios,
makes the latest live-streaming and VR technologies available
to his clients.
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The ExoLens Kit