By technical editor Matt Allard:
The quality of the images obtainable from smart phones continues to get better and better every year. Here at Newsshooter we have featured quite a few articles from contributors who have used a smartphone to capture stories for broadcast. Phillip Bromwell has shot quite a few stories for the Irish national broadcaster RTE and many others are following in his footsteps. While smartphones can be used to capture stories they really do need some accessories to make them work. Enter Beastgrip, a company who came up with a smartphone rig back in 2013 and now in 2015 have a new offering called the Beastgrip Pro. The Beastgrip Pro is designed as a complete rigging solution for just about any type of phone.
Building on customer feedback from their original offering, Beastgip set out to make a completely new model. Almost every component has been redesigned to improve functionality and adaptability. According to Beastgrip it is now stronger, more functional and easier to use with any type of smartphone. It can transform from a basic tripod mount to a full-featured professional rig.
The Beastgrip Pro design features an adjustable lens mount and clamps that adapt to virtually any phone. The new clamps secure both small and large devices and the redesigned lens mount assembly is built on a three-way axis to accommodate any phone-even if it has a protruded camera. There are few phone models such as the LG G Flex/2 (curved shape with button on the back panel) and LG G2 (with button on the back panel) which will fit in the clamps properly, but can’t be aligned perfectly with lens mount because of the shape and/or button on the back panel. The Nokia Lumia 1520 can also be used with Beastgrip Pro. Simply remove the handle on the BG’s lens mount assembly to align the lens mount with the 1520’s camera properly.
It has a standard threaded 37mm lens/filter mount, cold shoe mount and five 1/4″-20 threaded mounts already built-in for attaching accessories.The 37mm threaded lens mount can be used with a wide variety of conversion lenses, filters and DOF adapters (DOF adapters need to be combined with an SLR lens). The optional Beastgrip DOF adapter is made of a tube with an SLR mount ring (Canon EF mount) on one side and a set of macro lenses on the other. Inside of the tube is a focusing screen mounted on custom holder. The SLR lens projects the image onto the focusing screen, allowing the camera phone to frame the intermediate screen by focusing in macro mode. The principle is similar to pointing a camera at a movie screen. The phone camera’s only responsibility at this point is to record what is being projected onto the focusing screen. Beast grip recommends using a fast lens (f0.9-f2.8) and warns that DOF adapters will decrease the quality of photos and videos taken when using it. You may also get vignetting, barrel distortion and chromatic aberration.
There is also an optional 37mm 0.43x Extreme Wide-Angle lens allows you to capture a much wider field of view than your phone’s stock camera lens. It has a removable macro lens component that can be used separately for close-up shots. Also available is a 37mm Fisheye Lens that produces strong visual distortion and enables you to capture approximately 180 degrees field of view in a single frame. It has a removable macro lens component that can be used separately for close-up shots.
All of the major components of the Beastgrip Pro are custom manufactured. The main body components are manufactured using a mold injection process with an extremely durable glass-filled nylon material. Rubber overmolded clamps will hold your phone securely and protect it from scratches. The custom-machined brass lens mount ring and threaded inserts are molded-in place before the material hardens, forming an unbreakable bond. And the custom-machined anodized aluminum standoffs and aluminum thumb screws with a soft nylon tip assure a smooth operation and increased durability. All products will be fully assembled by hand in the USA.
The Beastgrip Pro and other accessories are available through their Kickstarter campaign, with the basic Beastgrip Pro starting at just $60 US for the first 150 backers.