How to shoot stable iphone video – Zacuto Zgrip iPhone pro, cinema kit and JR

by Lan Bui on January 14, 2011

It is always a struggle to shoot with the iPhone and get stable video. There are some options out there but none of them seem to really get the job done right or they are always missing some features. If you have ever shot video with your iPhone, iPhone 3g, iPhone 3gs, iPod Touch or even the iPhone 4 you know the video looks good but it is really hard to make it look great by stabilizing it. There are really only two things you can do to make the iPhone video look its best… make sure the audio sound perfect… and stabilizing the iPhone video.

The easiest way to stabilize any video camera is to put it on a tripod, this is easy with a camcorder or still camera but the iPhone does not have a way to mount it on a tripod. There are a ton of DIY iPhone stabilizer kits or tripod mount DIY projects out there but none of the ones I saw looked like I wanted to put my $700 phone in and trust it.

The next thing you might want to do to stabilize it would be to rig it up with some sort of handheld support to take away all of your axis movements and then you would have stable footage. Again there were a ton of DIY things out there but they all seem to be for people who don’t mind risking their phone dropping.

zgrip iphone junior

My favorite solution

The best solution I’ve used has been the Zacuto Zgrip iPhone JR. It holds your iPhone perfectly snug for shooting video and allows you to mount it to a tripod or just hold it and you will be shooting stable iPhone video. The Zgrip iPhone Jr is only $69.

iPhone Point’n’Shoot

The one better solution

The Zgrip iPhone JR is great if you only shoot with an iPhone… but sometimes you have other small cameras that you might want to use with the zgrip… in this case you would want the Point n Shoot Pro and an iPhone Cradle. This way you can shoot with pretty much any small camera and get stable footage and then you can also shoot with the iPhone and get stable footage from the same rig. The Point n Shoot Pro is $89 and the iPhone Cradle is only $32.

zgrip iphone pro

The Pro solution

The Zgrip iPhone jr and the Zgrip iPhone Point’n’Shoot kit are great solutions but if you need a bit more… the Zgrip iPhone Pro is the best. It has more configuration options and can even shoot vertical with the phone. It is more sturdy and give you more expandability. The Zgrip iPhone Pro is only $295.
zgrip iphone cinema kit

The Cinema solution

If you want to shoot outdoors and actually be able to see the LCD on the phone perfectly and get even more stable shots then the Zgrip iPhone Cinema Kit is the best option for you. It is basically a Zgrip iPhone Pro with an arm and adapter to attach your Z-Finder to it. Now I know it sounds and looks all big and crazy… but until you have actually shot with it you really can’t make fun of it. It is so awesome to look at an iPhone 4 retina display with a Z-Finder, even if you don’t have the iPhone Cinema Kit I would just go grab my Z-Finder and hold it up to the back of the iPhone 4 just to see. Then imagine having a proper handle and an easy way to swing the arm out… so awesome.

The iPhone Cinema Kit is not for everyone at $499… but if you are serious about getting the best possible and more configurable footage out of your iPhone then this is the only way to go.

The Tripod solution

How to mount your iPhone to a tripod? All of the iPhone Zgrips can be mounted to a tripod.

iPhone directors finder

Artemis Director's Viewfinder - Chemical Wedding

Artemis Director’s Viewfinder is the app I use as a directos finder for my iPhone. But there are also two other apps that some people like to use… I have not used them yet so I might have to do an Artemis app review or a Artemis VS other viewfinder apps review. The other apps to check out are Viewfinder Basic and Viewfinder Pro

  • Scott

    Overkill to the max. Have you seen the sleeves from Canopy? I just saw them at CES.

    • Lan Bui

      Thanks for the comment!

      Those are the same as what I’ve seen before… Great if all you shoot is tripod shots…

      But if you want to have steady handheld shots the Canopy does nothing for you…

    • Lan Bui

      Oh and yes… It does look pretty funny and overkill ish… Haha!

  • Misa Garcia

    How did you get the White iPhone?

    • Lan Bui

      Would telling you I got it because I’m a Bui Brother explain it?

      • Misa Garcia

        So you ordered you ordered the kit to make it yourself!?

        • Lan Bui

          Kind of… I broke my iPhone… then I looke at how much it costs to get it
          fixed… then I found out that the guy that was going to fix it can just
          make it white for a bit more money so I did that.

  • Lan Bui

    Hey Nick!

    The OWLE is nice… but I’ve tried it before and it only really works well for me with two hands… I like the Zacuto ones because they are all single hand options.

  • kevie

    I dig the Directors View finder thingy. Worth it right there for sure.

  • Anonymous


  • Silverguy_mark

    Would these grips work with the IPod Touch as well?

  • Sniperstealth_95

    same as Silverguy_markwould it work with ipod touch 4’s?

    • Lan Bui

      Absolutely works!

  • Kim Sparks

    Hello! Will this fit the iphone 5 coming out soon? I use my iphone for TONS of video and it’s a great quality, but I want more stabilization and freedom so I can shoot as well on the side (performances). If this will fit my current iPhone 4 and the upcoming iPhone 5. I’m getting one! Please let me know!

    • Lan Bui

      You should contact Zacuto to see if they think it will be forward compatible… I don’ know if anyone knows the exact iPhone 5 measurements yet though.

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