b&w images • blog • project journal


B&Ws – Havre de Grace Christmas Parade and iPhone Video Set-Up

Dec 7, 2017

Tis the season to be busy. This is the B&W version of the color shot topping the last posting. Yes, I like it much better, especially viewed large – in spite of the fact that when shooting action in the dark one is lucky to be able to use an ISO as low as 6400, rendering something of a grainy effect. I can’t wait to have time to actually print it full size. There are four more shots I printed up in this series. The first below is the Christas Angel shot, also posted in color last time, again really effective full size.

Below are an interesting pair – Big Dog on his antlered motorcycle and the strangest float I’ve ever seen, complete with a large screen TV running It’s a Wonderful Life. Cool.

The last shot is parade regular, the ubiquitous fire truck, decked out and sometimes blinding everyone with its flashing lights. I especially like the big round smiley-face guy in the far left background.

As always with Havre de Grace stuff, find larger downloadable views in Havre de Grace Street

My inexpensive set-up for stability and good sound when shooting videos with the iPhone

That is if, unlike me, you aren't shooting stills with a long lens at the same time and keep bumping the tripod with the lens when it's hanging.

Since I sort of jury-rigged the mount set-up from bits and pieces I had lying around, the list below is what I could find that would do the job. Total cost, including the apps, was probably under $50 for both the set-up shown (minus the iPhone, iPad and larger tripod of course) and my more mobile set-up with the smaller, clip-on mic.

Tripod: This is my favorite, rather expensive, lightweight tripod. As yu can see, it compresses down to fit on a table top. It's a veteran of a decade of work on Easter Island. But any old tripod – or even light stand can be used for this – as long as one doesn't bump anything into it while shooting.

iPhone: This is the iPhone 8. I got it mostly because of the third party camera apps. that I use.

iPad: It's the Mini – Nan likes the regular size but me, me loves some Mini.

The Set-Up

MoviePro app for iPhone – $5.99 at the app store. OK, it's expensive for an app, but this thing zooms, has a pause button and shoots 4K. Nothing else takes such advantage of what the phone can do.

MoviePro Remote – $4.99 at the app store. Put this on an iPad, another phone, etc. and run remotely without having to risk jiggling the video.

Melamount Mini Condenser Microphone – I paid $15 for this on eBay. Right now it is $25 on Amazon here:


It is simple to use, produces great sound and is adaptable for cameras, phones, etc.

Apple Lightning 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter – I paid $7.65 – this goes between the cord on the Mic to the iPhone plug.

Adjustable iPhone Holder – I got this on eBay along with a Mini Tripod that I couple it with for mobile use. Somewhere around $12 for the pair.

Metal Flash / Mic Rail – This is just a simple side rail for mounting a flash or mic off to the side of a camera – 8 bucks or less. I mount this on the tripod and them the iPhone holder to that – with the Mic on the other end. There's one here:



     • While the zoom works really smooth, one must remember that it is working by cropping video frames. I like to shoot HD, but zooming can cut the heck our of resolution. I would hightly recommend shooting 4K if wanting to zoom in, and then later convert to HD.

     • Zooming also tends to move non-centered subjects further off to the side. Shifting the position of the phone on the tripod, even on a smooth operating mount, can be jerky.

* Mobile use – to improve stability and sound when using the iPhone without a large tripod and good mic, I mount the iPhone holder on the cheap, very tiny mini-tripod mentioned in the list above, which I close to grip in my left hand. then I plug in a tiny clip-on mic. (usually on my shirt pocket). These vary in price less than $5 to around $10. And they actually do a pretty good job. There are so many out there, that I would recommend looking at reviews first.

* Of course there are alternatives to using one's phone for good videos, but the phone can be used to get great results with a little care.

     Most cameras come with remote apps for the phone now, making Nan's little Lumix LX-100 perfect – what with the ability to even zoom from the remote. With her 24-75mm lens, I can't wait to try it. My camera, a Fuji X-T2 does fantastic video but the manual nature of the zoom lenses makes the remote app useless if it's needed – besides, I can't imagine being willing very often to leave myself unable to do my B&W stills.