Shooting video for long periods of time is hard on the hand and wrist, which can lead to shaky footage. The Shoulderpod S1 is a great solution for this, and useful a few other things, as well.
I initially purchased the Shoulderpod S1 because I was looking for a lightweight rig that would allow me to turn my iPhone 6s Plus into more of a video camera, or at least something that looked a little more legit. Anyone can just hold a phone up and record something, but having some kind of video-specific case or iOgrapher or something like that made sense, but I also wanted something that was small enough to easily carry around, and simple even to set up and deconstruct easily. I bought the iOgrapher for my iPad Mini, so for my phone I opted for something a little less obtrusive.
The Shoulderpod S1 is a device that clamps down on your phone (even the giant iPhone 6s Plus) and allows you to hold it sidewise. Your hand wraps around a little handle, and the phone is held steady by the clamp. Fairly simple mechanism.
On top of that, though, the handle can be screwed off and the clamp can be attached to a tripod. Now you’ve got a landscape-mode phone atop a tripod, which makes shooting a hell of a lot easier (if you’ve got the right tripod).
Further, the clamp’s bottom is flat, so you can easily rest it on a flat surface, like a tabletop, and record that way, sans tripod. You can also set the clamp up so that it props the phone’s screen up vertically, allows you to record yourself, or playback video, with hands-free ease.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the Shoulderpod S1 at first, as I found it took me several shoots before I actually used it. The tripod-attaching feature is nice, but I more often use the (fall slimmer, and therefore more bag-ready) top portion of the GripTight Gorillapod stand, so I wondered if it would survive the culling that takes place after each of my trips; the weak discarded for better equipment moving forward. After a shot with the owners of the Seattle Pinball Museum, however, I found that it was the ideal solution for longer-format video recording during which I am behind the camera. It looks professional, it works well, and it kept my hand from shaking too much, even after a half-hour of holding it steady in front of my face as I asked questions of my interviewees.