Video Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Complete Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Posted December 18, 2017
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The Holiday Season is upon us. The time to be thinking about gifts has passed and it's time to make some orders (with expedited shipping). All month long we have been adding to our Holiday Gift Guide and here is the full comprehensive list:

SMOVE Stabilizer:

The SMOVE is not the first smartphone stabilizer on the market, but it certainly is one of the most cost effective and easy to use. Just clip your phone in and SMOVE does the rest. It balances your phone and accounts for all of the small shakes that your hand makes. The SMOVE comes with a built in charger so you can make sure that you never run out of battery while you are out shooting. The device is small enough to fit in your pocket and has a slew of advanced features like automated 360 degree panorama shots, auto face follow video recording, full rotational control for maximum stabilization, tripod and extension adapter mount.

Stabilizers are great for video producers who work a lot with their phones and are constantly out shooting on the go. If you are out working in the field this is a great tool to ensure that no matter what you are shooting, and no matter what environment you are in your footage will come out great every time.

Learn how to shoot professional quality videos with your smartphones here on VJ, and you can by the SMOVE Stabilizer here for $149 for a limited time.


HeyMic! Smartphone Microphone:


The HeyMic!, now available for $112 for a limited time, is a bluetooth enabled wireless microphone that pairs with your smartphone to give you clean, clear, wireless sound for your smartphone videos. The microphone is pocket-sized and easy to use, pairing with your phone through a free app. Right now it is only compatible with iPhones, but they say that android support is coming before the end of 2017. The mic touts a range of 65 feet clear, which is a lot more room than you would get with any wired smartphone mic, which can be unwieldy. 

This is a great tool for video producers using smartphones who wish that they could mic a subject without having to follow them at a wire's length for the duration of the shoot. The HeyMic! gives you a lot more flexibility when you are shooting, which is exactly what you want when you are working with smartphones. 

Learn even more about audio and working with smartphones with courses from VJ.

Buy the HeyMic! here.


MAVIS - Pro Camera App for iPhone:

The MAVIS app gives you all the manual control features you would expect with a DSLR right on your iPhone. Not only can you adjust focus and exposure easily, but also you can monitor them with peaking lines for focus and zebra lines for exposure. Additionally you have a waveform monitor, vectorscope to make sure everything is done exactly right. It also give you more audio controls, audio metering, custom resolutions, framerates and recordings formats.

This is a great tool for producers who work with their iPhone for their work and want to ensure the same quality and control that they would get with a traditional camera with the flexibility and ease of use of an iPhone.

The app costs $16.99 but it is worth every penny of the high price-tag. You can learn more and download from MAVIS.


Zhiyun Smooth III Smartphone Stabilizer:

The Zhiyun is designed for smartphones, so all you have to do is clip your phone in and you're ready to use it. It is a 3-axis gimbal so no matter which way you move, your video will remains smooth. The gimbal comes with a companion app so you can monitor, control, and review your footage.

The Zhiyun Smooth III has a high price tag at $299, but if you or someone you know shoots a lot of video professionally with a smartphone, this is a great gift for them. Buy it now from Amazon.


GorillaPod Flexible Tripod:

The JOBY GorillaPod flexible tripod is a very small, light-weight, flexible tripod that can stand almost any environment. We usually say that you can shoot anything without a tripod, and that's true, but sometimes there is a shot that you may want to get that you just can't reach yourself -- or even with a standard tripod. The GorillaPod is perfect for this situation. This is not your typical tripod. Its flexible legs mean that you can stand, wrap, or connect the GorillaPod to almost anything. You can wrap the legs around a light post, on uneven surfaces indoors and outdoors, or even wrap the legs up and use it as an steadycam hack.

The GorillaPod is perfect for DSLRs, GoPros, smartphones, and almost any light-weight camera. It is a great gift for the video producer you know who is always looking for creative shots and works in unpredictable settings. You can buy one from Amazon for $41.


iPhone X:

This is one of the more expensive items in our Holiday Gift Guide, but it is also one of the best.

The iPhone X is much more than a phone. Most smartphones are, but this is much different. What makes this phone so special to us is it's video capabilities. Putting aside all the other cool features like Face ID, AR, and others, it is the amazing camera system on this phone that is so exciting. 

The phone as a dual camera system on the back of the phone that has a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP telephoto lens. These two lenses work together to give you an amazing image whether you are shooting a wide shot of landscape or a close up on someone's hands chopping carrots. The phone has image stabilization to take some of those shakes out of your video, and fuller colors than any previous iPhone (or other smartphone for that matter). The camera also has native focus and exposure control, as well as noise-reduction for low light shooting. This phone can truly shoot it all -- no matter the shooting condition. Obviously you won't be able to have as much control as you would with a DSLR, but it is pretty close, and the images that it captures would fool a lot of people to think it was shot on a DSLR. 

Additionally, the phone has an amazingly large OLED screen which gives you a clear picture of what you are shooting while you are shooting it. No longer do you have to hope that when you plug in to your computer or export to Facebook that it won't look like it did on your screen, because it will. Like with other smartphones, not only can you shoot on it, but you can edit it, add music, graphics and titles, and share your work to the web without having to ever plug in to a computer.

We love our new iPhone X, and it would make a great gift for the video obsessed person in your life -- ever if that's yourself.

You can buy it here from Apple.

Pixel 2 Smartphone:

The phone comes in two sizes: a 5-inch model with OLED display and an XL 6-inch model with pOLED screen making it an amazing monitor for your video.

Like most other smartphones, at least the one's we are concerned with here, the camera is a big focus for the Pixel 2. The phone has a 12.2MP rear-facing camera and an 8MP front facing camera. The rear facing camera shoots full HD, shoots great in low light with HDR+ according to examples from the event, has a f/1.8 appature, has dual pixel autofocus to give your photos and videos a cinematic look, and amazing OIS and EIS image stabilization.

Here's a look at the stabilization:

Aside from the camera, the phone has long battery life, including claimed 7 hours after just 15 minutes of charge, water-resistant body, 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.

You can buy the phone from Google here.


GoPro Hero6:

GoPro cameras are incredibly popular. They have broad appeal with both consumers and professionals. They have many uses, can withstand almost any shooting condition, and the quality of the video is astounding. 

The popularity of action cameras can really be attributed to GoPro. They completely changed the game with the Hero series which allowed for an HD camera to go into environments and withstand the elements like no other camera before it. While other camera makers have caught up in producing action cameras, GoPro is still the first in its class, and with each new model of GoPro the cameras get better and more powerful.

New on the Hero6 is the GP1 chip which will give you 2x the performance of the Hero5. It shoots in full 4K with slow motion options as well as timelapse features and you can monitor playback right on the GoPro's display screen. Got the GoPro in a place you can't view it? Then you can use the GoPro app to monitor the shot from away from the camera.

The new model is waterproof and shockproof without its housing, which means it can really take a lot of abuse. It also has built in stabilization so that your footage will look incredible right out of the camera. It also boast improved low-light capabilities and improved battery and storage.

The new part of the GoPro line with this model is a new feature called QuikStories. The new feature will take your footage and edit it together automatically to help you put together teasers before editing all your footage together yourself.

Check out the Hero6 and buy it for $499 from GoPro.


DJI Spark Drone:

If you are a VJ, carrying around a big drone to every shoot can be a bit of an ordeal -- even taking it to just a few shoots can be tough. The DJI Spark is the drone that was made for VJs as it is small and still gives great results. The Spark is about the size of an iPhone+ and has just as good features as you'd expect from a DJI drone like a 12MP lens and a 2 axis gimbal. The drone can fly up to 16 minutes per charge and up to 50mph. Having a small drone is great to have if you are in a tight area but still want an aerial shot. It is important to remember that if you are getting a drone this Holiday Season to read up on FAA (or your local) regulations on drones and what you need to do to fly one, and what you can and cannot do with them.

Here is video producer and taste-maker Casey Neistat's preview and review of the DJI Spark:

The Spark is available from DJI for $499.


Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera Backpack:

You can't just use any backpack for camera gear -- well you can, but if you just pile everything into your standard backpack soon enough your gear is going to break. You need something that is designed for camera equipment and will keep it safe in transit. The Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera Backpack is that bag.

There are plenty of camera bags out there at different price points so you can find one that suits your needs specifically, but we like this one from Case Logic for a few important reasons. Most importantly is how it stores the camera. It has dedicated space for SLR cameras with or without the lens, and can be fitted for other kinds of cameras. The bag uses a hammock system to suspend your camera above the bottom of case, so that it is well protected from any drops or impacts. After that there is still a huge amount of room for all kinds of accessories like microphones, wires and more. Additionally, it has a pocket for laptops and straps on the side for your tripod. The bag also has memory foam lining and a waterproof shell to ensure that everything in there is safe.

You can buy it from Amazon for $60 here.


Lifelimit Accessories Starter Kit for GoPro:

The Lifelimit Starter Kit comes with over 30 different accessories for putting your GoPro in all kinds of places. It comes with a chest and head strap to put the GoPro on yourself, Bicycle clip, handlebar clamp, a car mount for inside and outside your car, and a variety of other clamps, clips and sticky mounts that you can use in a variety of places. 

There are plenty of accessories and kits around the web from GoPro and others, but you can buy the Lifelimit Kit for $20 from Amazon.


Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder:

The Zoom H1 audio recorder is a great small, light-weight, digital device that offers great audio quality when you can't connect a microphone to your camera. Whether you are shooting video with a smartphone or DSLR capturing clean quality audio can be a challenge. When it comes to video, viewers can be very unforgiving of poor audio quality and your video will suffer if you don't have crisp, clean sound. While DSLR cameras and smartphones have microphones that you can buy to attach to them, because they don't have XLR inputs, and the lack of multiple audio inputs, your audio quality and quantity of sources suffers. In some cases you will want to use an external audio device and sync the audio in the edit. For those cases you'll want the Zoom H1.

The device has two mics on it for internal stereo pairing. Records Broadcast WAV (BWF) at 96kHz/48kHz/44.1kHz at 16-bit or 24-bit, and records MP3 from 48 to 320kbps for maximum recording time. It has a screen on it to monitor audio levels and a USB 2.0 port for easy transfer to your computer.

Buy the Zoom H1 for $100 from Amazon.


Canon EOS 80D Video Creator Kit:

The Canon EOS 80D is a great starter camera for those looking to take the next step in their video career. It has all of the manual functions, with an easy user interface to learn the ins and outs of manual settings on. This is a great camera no matter what kind of videos you want to make. It is incredibly versatile. This set is so great because it comes with a lens, SD card, microphone and more!

Check out the kit and buy for $1,399.00 from Amazon.


Freefly Movi smartphone stabilizing gimbal:

The Movi is more than just a stabilizer. They are calling it a "personal cinema robot" with an array of pre-programmed modes and settings that give your footage an amazing look. It also has object following software so you can keep whatever you are shooting in frame without worry. 

The Movi has a 3 axis stabilization with pan, tilt, and roll motors, a companion app for iOS, 5 shooting modes and USB C charging.

You can buy it from Freefly for $299 here.


Rylo 360-Degree Camera:

The Rylo 360-Degree Camera is a new VR camera developed by a team of former Apple, Instagram and Hyperlapse engineers and is one of the smallest and easy to use 360 camera on the market.

The Rylo can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, shoots 360 video in 4K and can easily be formatted for standard 16:9 video at 1080p full HD. The camera has two 208-degree lenses and includes a handy grip/tripod that lets you hold it or mount it easily so it doesn't get in your way. Additionally, the camera has a stabilization setting that can take your shaky footage and make it smooth.

The camera comes with a mobile app that synchs your video when you plug the camera into your phone and has an editing app that easily transforms your video into the 360 experience or can crop out a 16:9 section for standard video use. Just plug into your phone and the editing app takes care of the rest.

VR videos are all over the web these days, partly thanks to integration of 360-video on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, and new cheap VR hardware available to consumers -- particularly headsets that use smartphones as the screen. While in many ways VR and 360 as a video format is still in its infancy, it has shown to be wildly popular.

You can buy the Rylo for $499 here.


Got any other ideas? Let us know in the comments!

Have a very happy holiday season from all of us here at VJ!



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