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iPhone 15 – how to make it REALLY Pro!

So you’ve laid down a load of money for your iPhone 15 Pro – now it’s time to make it earn its keep

Making the iPhone 15 Pro Max work

I’ve been using my iPhone 15 Pro Max for almost a month and still have barely a bad word to say about it.

Okay – so I ideally wanted the Natural Titanium colour but as it happens I’m delighted with the White Titanium model I have. It has a subtle glow to it in different lighting but more importantly, it’s fingerprint-free – it looks as fresh at the end of the day as it does at the start.

The Titanium frame is also lovely to touch & hold and once again doesn’t mark at all – and of course, it makes this iPhone 15 Pro Max light – unbelievably light.

But enough about the aesthetics – if you bought the pro I’m guessing there is a reason…

Possibly you are a creative, videographer or photographer and bought the iPhone 15 for work – much like I did. I’ve spent the last few weeks refining a rig that’ll make your iPhone a perfect set-up if you are working alone – in my case makingYouTube videos.

You’ll need a few bits and accessories but I’ll run through all those with you in this story.

Right – let’s get your iPhone 15 Pro earning you some money then…

The goal

I know we are tired of hearing about the iPhone 15 Pro (well the entire range actually) this year having USB-C but that is central to this whole thing working as I’ll need plenty of I/O.

What I am looking to achieve is to record in 4K 24FPS in log directly to an SSD. Using the main camera means I will need a monitor – oh and I also want to use an external mic. My goal is to be able to make this rig as mobile as possible and shoot pro-grade videos wherever.

The Foundations

The very first thing I’d need would be a suitable cage to mount the iPhone 15 in. I’d need cold shoe mounts and a tripod mount.

I love Neewer gear so I checked them out first – and they had just what I was looking for – their Smartphone Video Rig. It was solid, could be mounted to my tripod easily and would let me bolt on all the kit I’d be needing.

Although I won’t generally need it, there is even a spare 1/4” screw on the side that you could mount a small LED light to and that could be powered by one of the spare USB-A ports on the Anker hub.

Hopefully, you’re enjoying this story  -  if you wanted to say ‘thank you’, the best way is simply to clap, highlight and get involved in the comments. And my promise to you…If you get in touch I will answer! So clap, highlight and comment away…

iPhone 15 and the hub

After looking around at plenty of options I ended up buying this Anker 565 USB-C hub. It gives me everything I need I/O wise.

I have 3 USB-A ports one being 10Gbps, 2 USB-C ports (again one being 10 Gbps), an HDMI port, ethernet & power. Having power is important as I’ll be running too much gear for the iPhone 15 Pro Max to power it all. And you have to admit being able to hook your phone up to the router is a pretty neat trick too!

There is also a headphone port – but I can’t ever see myself using it – but you can never have too many ports right? Honestly, this Anker hub is brilliant!

With the hub sorted it’s on to the SSD.

I chose a 1TB T7 SSD from Samsung. 1TB is plenty as I will only ever be using it for a single project and then I can wipe it once the files are transferred to my MacBook Pro. Importantly it matches the optimal speed of the port on the iPhone which is USB 3.2 giving speeds of up to 10Gbps which is also the speed of the data USB-C port on the Anker hub – the plan comes together! I’ll be maxing out the best possible speeds from the phone. The T7 also comes with the correct data cable.

Mic & monitor

I already had a Røde VideoPro mic which would mount into one of the cold shoe mounts and I had the correct 3.5mm jack…but I would need an adapter. I had to pick up a 3.5mm audio jack – USB-A adapter but that was an easy fix.

Again, luckily, I already had a monitor – a Desview R511 and an HDMI cable too. I have tried shooting videos before with the main cameras on the back of an iPhone and it’s always been a proper pain in the neck. Yes, you can use your Apple Watch as a remote but it’s a tiny screen to try and monitor yourself with.

There is a slight issue with the Desview – the aspect ratio isn’t perfect or at least I’ve not been able to sort it out, but the main thing is it clearly shows that you are in frame on a reasonable-sized monitor and serves its purpose.

All of this rig sits on top of a Neewer 74” Pro Video tripod which has a mounting plate making it super quick to switch out to my Canon if I needed to.

Colour me up

Shooting log means that I would need to colour adjust and colour grade it.

I believe some editors have some iPhone log profiles bundled in but as yet Premiere doesn’t. I did some searching around and ended up buying a LUT pack from Tyler Stalman. It gives great results and is simple to use. First, there is a LUT to convert the log file to the Rec 709 space and you could leave it there – but also included are four film emulation LUTS.

The results of all this look like this

Worth the effort

It took some time to find the right kit to buy but hopefully, I have done the donkey work for you.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is not a cheap bit of kit but if you look at it as an investment into your business then it starts to make more financial sense. The video is still class-leading among all smartphones and of course, you have seven different focal lengths to shoot with for your photography needs as well now too.

This phone is called a Pro for good reason – with a little effort you can create serious content anywhere with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The only thing stopping this from being a ‘shoot-anywhere’ rig is the fact you need power – but there are workarounds for that.

if your phone had enough storage you could shoot directly to your iPhone instead of the SSD – and on those odd occasions you could not shoot in log to make the files that much more manageable – that would mean you could get away without needing external power. But if you wanted to go the whole hog you could buy a small power brick with some juice on it and run from that – 100% portable!

This set-up is super portable and everything I have mentioned I got from Amazon and none of it was too expensive – certainly not compared to the cost of the iPhone 15 Pro that you already have in your pocket.

You could turn up at a professional shoot with this rig and not be embarrassed. The iPhone 15 Pro phones are built to work and with a few simple add-ons, you can be creative and make content anywhere – which is what I set out to do.

Take your iPhone to the next level – and make it earn some money for you on the way.

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