My Home Dog Agility iPhone Recording Setup
01 Sep 2020
Folks have asked me what equipment I use to record my dog agility videos in my back yard, so here’s a description of my current setup.
I use these because I have them and they are convenient to use. They take good enough video and I use the AirDrop feature to quickly share the files to my MacBook for editing in iMovie.
I also have an Apple Watch and you can use its Camera app to start/stop your iPhone/iPad recording remotely. I find it a little flaky though so I usually just start the camera app on the device itself. The best use of the Apple Watch is to confirm that you and your dog are “in the frame” of your camera.
I’ve used a couple lenses that use a plastic clamp to clip onto a phone/table over time. You can buy kits with both wide angle lenses and tripod mounts for phones included. I had purchased one before but the lense got blurry over time and the mount cracked after one too many tripod falls. So I went with a separate lens and mount this last time.
Based on Amazon reviews and the specs I bought an AOMAIS 0.45 wide angle lens. I like it because it has a big, slightly padded, clamping surface that makes it easy to position, even with a protective case on the phone.
I’d avoid any “fish-eye” lenses, they capture a very wide view but significantly distort the image.
Some folks end up with blurry images/videos when using a wide angle lens. Well, there’s a trick to aligning the lens with the lens on your phone/tablet! Put the wide angle lens on and then look through the lens to see if it is aligned with your phone/tablet camera lens. Most wide angle lenses have cross hairs molded in the plastic so you can align the lens with the lens on your device:
A tripod mount is a device holds your phone/tablet to the standardized, removable plate on the tripod. That removable plate has a threaded bolt sticking out of it. You screw that bolt into the phone/tablet holder to connect them. I had been using a spring loaded mount to hold my iPhone but it ended up cracking. So I just purchased a cheap screw adjustable clamp to hold my iPhone based on some good Amazon reviews.
Before you buy a tripod, ask your friends and family if they have one in a closet somewhere they aren’t using. I’m using a Velbon DF-50 tripod for which I think I paid $30. You don’t need a fancy one, but get one that adjusts to at least 5 feet.
I don’t like the small clamp-on/wrap around tripods as much as a full size tripod but they can work in a pinch. The trick is finding something up high enough, and in the right location, to which you can attach the camera mount. A jump wing can work in a pinch.
Here are a couple more photos showing the complete setup: