How to Vlog with an iPhone (Pro Setup and Tips)

David Utke •  Updated: December 30, 2022 •  Online Marketing

I currently use an iPhone mini to create vlogs for my personal channel in addition to using an action camera (see my guide on the best YouTube cameras). The iPhone is a great choice for a few key reasons and I’m going to explain to you how to vlog with an iPhone.

First, it has built in stabilization so your clips are smooth and professional looking. Second, you can record at a high frame rate in 4k (60 fps at 4k!) for some beautiful looking clips. Third, you have a variety of angles from wide angle, to the main camera and the selfie camera for narration purposes. Last, you get iMovie included so you can edit the vlog all on one device.

So how exactly do you properly, and professionally vlog with an iPhone? I’ll break down this into essential, need to know tips as well as optional gear you can consider buying.

iPhone vlogging guide

There are three parts to vlogging with an iPhone. The technical aspects of recording and getting the proper clips for a vlog, your video settings and how you edit the video and finally optional gear to make your life easier. Let’s get into the iPhone vlogging:

iPhone vlogging gear

To lead off, let’s cover some gear you may want to consider purchasing. All of this gear is optional. You can totally vlog with nothing more than hand holding the phone, recording shots and talking into the camera. But if you are looking for a few key upgrades, this is what I suggest:

Shure MV88 – Best iPhone microphone (required)

Without a doubt, the first thing you’ll want to consider purchasing is a USB microphone designed for the iPhone. The best mic I’ve used is the Shure MV88. It has a deep rich sound, can be adjusted with it’s mount and is plug and play.

Best of all this microphone is good enough for you to create voice overs with just your iPhone. Often times you’re not always going to be wanting to talk into the camera. Sometimes you’ll want to narrate a clip and the on-board mic for the iPhone is simply inadequate for this. This microphone solves this issue.

Moment anamorphic lens – Cinematic aspect ratio (optional)

Anamorphic lens transforms traditional phone recordings into a cinematic, wide-screen movie format. Not only does it make your video look even more captivating and smooth, but when the light hits the lens just right, you get these stunning flares that will take your footage like you see in a movie. Capture beautiful video that has that cinematic look using the main camera on your iPhone.

This type of lens is most useful for POV shots but can be used with talking head narration clips. While the wide angle lens on the iPhone can be a bit warped, an anamorphic lens allows you to use get that cinematic look using the high quality main camera on your device.

DJI Osmo Mobile – iPhone Gimbal (optional)

I really like the Osmo Mobile, it’s part gimbal and part tripod. It’s way easier to record videos if your phone is attached to a tripod, gimbal device than simply hand holding it. Also, because it’s a gimbal you’ll be able to get smooth video. Particularly important if you decide to use an anamorphic lens.

DJI’s 3-axis stabilization technology counteracts any undesired movements for cinematic precision and captures every moment in incredible resolution. At only 309g, you can take it anywhere without the worry of being weighed down as typical gimbals for a camera are quite big and heavy.

iPhone cage – Connect a microphone and lights (optional)

Another item you can consider buying is a cage. This allows you to secure your phone, gives you something to hold on to and allows you to attach both an external microphone, anamorphic lens and lights.

Typically, film makers use these iPhone cages so for your average consumer they are a bit excessive and it does add overall bulk to your setup. However, if you’re looking for a way to have both a mic and an external light in one setup, a cage is what you’re looking for.

Pivo Pod – 360 degree, hands free rotation device

A fun little rotation device. You setup your phone and it locks onto you. You can use it simply as a stand to talk into the camera and and you can use it to capture some interesting b-roll footage.

Overally, the Pivo Pod is the ideal tool for YouTubers, vloggers, photographers and any other ambitious creators. It provides an app-driven motion tracking, fast 360° rotation capability and simple to understand editing modes. The high-speed capability enables you to effortlessly capture all motions as well.

iPhone vlogging kit – Budget, all in one option

You can also consider buying a low cost, all in one vlogging kit. These kits provide a microphone, light, and tripod. Yes it makes your setup a bit bigger, but for the price this is one of the best options I’ve seen.

The tripod is just a basic, plastic tripod and the microphone is good but nowhere near as good as the Shure MV88. But if you’re looking for a cheap way to level up your iPhone vlogging experience you’ll find this kit useful enough.

Vlogging tips for beginners

While I do suggest checking out my “how to vlog” guide which covers everything you need to know about creating a YouTube channel and how to structure a vlog. Here are my tips for using an iPhone specifically.

Record a 10-30 second introduction and conclusion

The introduction can be done in a few ways and should be quick and to the point. You can either record a set of clips and then do a voice over or you can use the iPhone itself and simply introduce the video topic. Intros should be quick and too the point and let the viewer know what you’re going to cover.

Remember with a vlog, people have a short attention span so get to the point quick and get people interested in the topic. For example, with my travel vlog of Ha Giang I showed a bunch of clips of how crazy beautiful northern Vietnam is and did a voice over.

This intro was 30 seconds then it jumped into the video. Doing an intro helps increase watch time as people are more curious to see the whole video. As for the conclusion, just record yourself with the phone or do a voice over. Let people know what your upcoming videos will be and invite people to subscribe.

The selfie camera can only record up to 30 FPS

The selfie camera is great, but please be aware that it only records at 30 FPS at 1080P. This is important to know because if you intend on shooting a 4k video at 60 FPS, the clips won’t match if you use the selfie camera and the main cameras because the frame rate is way off.

Instead, either shoot at 30 FPS with the main cameras if you want to use the selfie camera for narration or just use the main camera for recording yourself. Yes, you won’t be able to see yourself but once you get the hang of it you’ll notice the video quality is far superior.

Personally I use the wide angle lens to record myself for narration purposes as I like to record in 4k.

Record everything at 60 FPS, 4k for the best video quality

60 FPS is the ideal framerate for a vlog. We’re not making a film, we’re making a vlog with a phone. Your viewers will like and appreciate that smooth, point of view shot that only 60 FPS provides. By default, your iPhone will have the video settings set to optimal video files so you’ll need to change it.

So you’ll need to jump into your settings and make sure everything is set to what you want:

The higher the frame rate the smoother the video will be. 4k is also the highest quality recording the iPhone can do. 1080P is also good, but as you can record in 4k, there really is no reason to bother with 1080P unless you don’t want to deal with large file sizes.

The wide angle lens is a great selfie camera replacement

I strongly suggest recording at 60 FPS, 4k. As such you can’t use the selfie camera because the framerate won’t match. So get used to recording yourself with the wide angle lens. It looks great and you’ll be in focus.

The traditional main camera looks good too and provides a nice blurry background when doing narration clips. But it is a bit tight on the face and as you can’t see yourself, it’s just harder to get the right shot. Where with the wide angle lens you won’t have this issue.

Record b-roll

B-roll is simply footage that is not the main action. I like using my iPhone to capture a bunch of clips and to then go home and do a voice over. However, others like to talk and narrate in real time. Both approaches are fine, see which one works best for you.

However, just make sure to record a wide variety of clips, close ups, wide angle shots, medium shots and so forth using the main cameras. You’ll be happy you did as you’ll be able to create a more interesting and dynamic vlog.

Don’t move the phone too much when recording

A common beginner mistake with any camera is to jerk the camera around way to fast. It ruins your clips and makes everything difficult to watch. The iPhone has outstanding stabilization, however you need to move the phone modestly and with intention.

Look into the camera when talking

Another very common mistake is to record with the selfie camera and then look at the screen when your talking. if you’re vlogging with the main camera or wide angle camera, also make sure to look into the camera because that’s where your audience is.

It looks way to weird if you vlog and never actually make eye contact. Look into the camera when talking, practice this a bit before you record.

Your first vlogs will be horrible

Hate to break it to you, but your first videos and vlogs will be horrible, embarassing, dumb and cringe worthy. How can you expect to be good at something you’ve never done before? Accept that there is a learning process and make bad videos. Eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

How to edit and a vlog with an iPhone

Now you have a bunch of clips ready to go. You’ll need to edit the video clips into a full length vlog. Here is what you need to know when making a vlog with an iPhone:

All your clips should be the same frame rate

As mentioned earlier, the frame rate you choose to record in matters because your video will look off if you mix clips that are recorded at 30 FPS like with the selfie camera and then 60 FPS with the main camera.

You want to make sure all your clips are recorded at the same framerate. That way your video will have a consistent look to it. In general I find 60 FPS to be best for vlogs. 24 FPS is cinematic and looks like a TV show. But for a vlog, it actually is to choppy and slow. 30 FPS is the middle ground. A great choice if you’re set on using the selfie camera as it can record up to 30 FPS max.

Use iMovie on a MacBook

All iPhones and MacBook’s come with iMovie. The version on IOS for a MacBook is far superior to it’s mobile counterpart. So if you do have a MacBook, simply air drop your clips from your phone to your laptop and get to work.

Using iMovie is simple, easy and intuitive. All you have to to do is drag and drop clips into the timeline. You can overlay clips and cut clips, add music and text with ease. Once you feel like you’re starting to out grow iMovie, you can then consider getting Final Cut Pro, the best video editing software for IOS.

With iMovie on Mac, you’ll get your video and audio clip. Make sure to adjust the audio so you’re not peaking, and if you wish to do a voice over, turn down the audio or mute it all together.

Use Luma Fusion on an iPad

As I talked about in my best video editing software guide, Luma Fusion is the best mobile editor I’ve used. If you have an iPad it’s well worth the money as the iMovie mobile version is incredibly basic.

Luma Fusion is similar to Final Cut in the you can have multiple tracks for clips, music, more advanced transitions, better color grading and more control over the audio.

For travel vlogs, start off recording in chronological order

If you’re interested in making a travel vlog, my suggestion would be to start off making vlogs with clips that go in chronological order. Break up these clips with a few short b-roll clips. After you get the hang of that, then you can expand into some sort of story telling.

Breakup talking points for topic or question videos

If you’re making a vlog about a specific topic, get right to the point of the vlog fast. Viewers will drop off if you ramble too much and talk about things irrelevant to the vlog.

In addition, for longer vlogs where you want to cover a question or topic, think about the key points you want to mention. Those key talking points should be their own clip. You don’t need to do everything in one big take.

Use a microphone for voice over work

While you can record audio and voice overs with your iPhone, it’s pretty mediocre. I strongly suggest getting a dedicated USB microphone. They are not too expensive, easy to setup and most importantly, sound great.

If you do want to do voice over work, then you should get accustom to editing videos on your laptop and not your iPhone. I’ve edited quick videos on my phone before too, but a laptop (particularly a MacBook) provides the best experience.

Render your video at the same video settings you record in

Once you put all your clips together and you’re ready to go, you’ll need to render the video. Find the settings in the video editor your using and make sure it’s set to the same parameters as your video clips.

That mean you don’t want to add and edit a bunch of 4k, 60 FPS clips and then render the video at 30 FPS. Go into your settings and make sure the render settings match the video quality and the framerate.

Upload the video to YouTube

Finally, you’ll need to upload the video to YouTube. Log into your account, click on “upload video” and the select the video you want to upload.

The video will then begin uploading. Once it’s uploaded, YouTube will the process the video. It does take a few hours before your video is able to be watched in 4k. So be patient.

Next, complete the video description:

Your vlog will need a title, it’s always best to name your video something people are looking for. You’ll also want to write a 300 word description of the video. This does help with gaining views and rankings slightly.

You can create a dedicated playlist too if you like and it’s always a good idea to link to other videos in your description as it helps keep people on YouTube.

Add chapters

You can add chapters in your video description. Start off with 00:00 as the intro, then add in additional timestamps and YouTube will auto generate the chapters of the video.

Hashtags are also helpful as they are a way to categorize your videos and the hashtag you choose will be above the video title which helps the overall click through rate.

Thumbnails

You will want to create a thumbnail for your vlog. If you’re planning on adding text, make sure it’s big bold text and only 4 words max. Otherwise it get’s too busy looking and difficult to ready.

My go to thumbnail editor is Canva:

Canva has a dedicated YouTube thumbnail template you can use to create your images. It takes practice to create good thumbnails but with enough effort you’ll get the hang of it.

YouTube stats to pay attention too

You’ll also want to pay attention to a few key stats. First is the overall click through rate. The higher the better. This indicates people are choosing to watch your video. Average view duration is also important as YouTube rewards videos that keep people watching YouTube.

Last is views, this is how many times your video has been watched. The reason the metrics are important is because it gives an indication of what you’re doing right or wrong. A low click through rate means you need to improve your thumbnail.

A low average view duration means that people are not sticking around and watching the full video. In your YouTube studio, you can see the retention details. In general what you want to see is a nice steady slope downwards of people dropping off. If you notice a spike down or up, look at that part of the video.

FAQ

What do I need to vlog with an iPhone?

While there are optional items like microphones, lenses and tripods to buy. You can vlog using nothing more than the iPhone, it’s internal mics and iMovie.

Can you make a vlog with just an iPhone?

Yes, all IOS devices come with a copy of iMovie that is powerful enough to edit a full length, high quality vlog.

Is the iPhone 10 good for vlogging?

No, iPhone 10 and earlier lack the multi camera setup that allow video creators to get multiple angles and shots.

Is the iPhone good for vlogging?

Yes, the iPhone is a great choice for vlogging due in part to it’s ability to shoot at 4k, 60 FPS, wind angle lens and high quality main lens.

How to vlog with an iPhone – Conclusion

As someone who has made vlogs with an iPhone, I hope you found this guide helpful. The iPhone is a great, casual vlogging device. I do strongly recommend getting an external USB microphone however as it will improve the audio of all your clips and enable you to record good voice over narration.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers!

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