The Beastgrip Pro is a rig system for your phone that lets you take better photos and video by adding stability, mics, lights, and lenses.
Nearly every aspect is modular or expandable. Depending on what you need to shoot, you might put your phone on a tripod for smoother shots, add a directional mic for better audio during interviews, or swap out lenses to capture wide-angle footage or to get better distance shots without hurting quality as with digital zoom. Every mount or thread uses a common photography standard, making it a great option for getting kids started with video using second-hand gear or for using your phone as an emergency on-shoot backup.
You can also remove parts of the rig by simply loosening some screws and sliding out complete segments in one go. So even though BeastGrip’s wide-angle lens can be adjusted to work with any size phone, you might want to swap it out entirely for your own third-party lenses. For instance, I found that using the BeastGrip to get the phone on a tripod and then using my own Moment lens to be a great combination.
Even if you don’t have any gear to add to your phone, having the extra grip is fantastic for shooting anything with lots of motion or where you need to mess with settings. I did most of my testing using the Filmic Pro app, and on the iPhone 6 Plus I could reach all of the on-screen controls without feeling like I was awkwardly balancing the phone on my contorted fingers as I normally do when shooting, and even pull off fancy pan-and-zoom moves using the zoom presets.
Unless you’re wearing cargo shorts, don’t expect to pocket the Beastgrip. Its size unfortunately makes it impractical for everyday use — there’s no way I’d walk around with this thing on all the time. But if you’ve got a couple of hours where you know you’re going to be taking a lot of photos and video, like going to a kid’s little league game or school play, it’s perfectly fine, better than finger-cradling your phone for that same amount of time.
While the added grip and expandability are great for casual shoots, after a week of use, I realized that I hadn’t been careful enough while removing my phone from the clamp that keeps it in place. Each side of my leather case are now slightly torn — so if you’re going to use the Beastgrip, be sure to only use a rubber phone case.
Beastgrip’s rig is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter, coming in at $70 for the main rig and $105 if you want the Depth of Field adapter and wide-angle lens. If you’ve already got an Olloclip or Moment lenses of your own, you’re probably fine going with the cheaper option — unless you want another tool in your belt for changing the look of your footage.
The Beastrip Pro seems best for those who already try to push their phone’s camera to its limits with apps and lenses. You’re not going to get DSLR-quality video from your phone by adding a rig and some extra tools, but you can at least eliminate the shakiness and terrible audio endemic in video shot on mobile.
Update: In response to my iPhone case damage, Beastgrip founder Vadym Chalenko noted that he’s “totally aware about phone’s case scratching issue and this is not something that users would experience in finished version of Beastgrip Pro, even with leather case. We are in [the] process of improving rubber pads design and in addition there is an option to adjust the upper clamp to reduce compression power.” So while it might be too late for my formerly-pristine case, those who pick up production models via the Kickstarter page shouldn’t have to worry about damage — though I’d still be careful with that clamp.