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Tech Gift Ideas
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Dad seems to be the one who records a lot of video from baseball and soccer games and dance recitals and vacations. If your dad is into video these gadgets will up his cinematic skills.
SANDMARC has a line of wide-angle lenses and filters for the iPhone. My choice is a wide lens kit that includes a case with a built-in lens mount. I keep my phone in the case and the lens nearby whenever I’m somewhere I think I might want to record video or take photos. Just twist the lens onto the case and you’ve got twice the field of view from the standard iPhone lens. It makes a big difference (literally and figuratively). Last weekend I was at Dodger Stadium to watch the Dodgers and Braves (the Braves won). When I shot video of players taking infield, I could fit only the catcher and about half the outfield grass. I was sitting on the 3rd baseline.
When I twisted on the SANDMARC lens though the entire field plus the scoreboard were in view. It certainly made for much better video with the crowd sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. It also is helpful when you’re taking a photo of a large group of people. If you upload your videos to YouTube or Facebook viewers will notice a big difference. SANDMARC has these wide-lens kits for iPhones 7, 8 and X.
Taking photos and videos with your smartphone can be a little dangerous when you’re fumbling with the record or shutter button. It’s good to have something to hold on to besides the phone. There are many grips out there but the one I prefer is called “The LoveHandle”. This is a rubber-band type grip that attaches to any smartphone case and allows you to loop it around your fingers and maintain your grip on the phone no matter how awkward a position you happen to be in when you take the photo.
Any professional videographer will tell you that audio is just as important as video. Some might say it’s even more important.
The microphone on a smartphone is okay but to capture clear clean audio you’ll want to add an external microphone. That’s becoming easier to do with mics made especially for smartphones. RODE has several to choose from and I like the RODE XLR adapter. This plugs into the Firewire port of an iPhone and then attaches to a professional microphone. I use it with a Sennheiser shotgun mic to capture the best audio I’ve ever recorded from a smartphone.
The more video you shoot the less video you’ll be able to shoot with your smartphone because video files take up a lot of space. The Kingston Bolt is a USB flash drive that connects to an iPhone through the Firewire port. When you plug it in, photos and videos saved on the phone automatically transfer to the flash drive. Once that’s complete, the Bolt app will prompt you to delete the files from the phone to make room for more photos and videos.
Once those videos are on the flash drive, it’s easy to transfer them to another device or a computer. The Bolt also will transfer photos from the flash drive TO the phone. The Bolt is very small but comes with a keyring holder so it’s always nearby.
These gadgets are perfect Father’s Day gifts if your dad takes photos and shoots video with his smartphone.
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Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, weddings. So many gifts to buy this spring. Here are my favorite gadgets of the year. So far.