Owle Bubo: The ultimate video cameraman case for the iPhone 4, we go hands-on
We've talked about the Owle Bubo before but, despite it sounding like a raptor infected with the plague, we were still thrilled to get our hands on this iPhone 4 videophile accessory when it flew our way at IFA 2011.
Made of what feels like solid black steel, but is actually aluminium, it's essentially a glorified camera rig for the iPhone 4; but very glorified it is indeed. Shaped in a similar fashion to that of the steering wheel of the Batmobile, there's threads and holes all over the thing in just the right places for you to screw in other bits and pieces - and that's where all the fun comes in.
At the tips of the wings, you can attach a tripod, but part of the Owle Bubo's charm is that even having the thing handheld increases the stability of your video by a factor of a lot. The grip's good and you can get your mitts nicely around it.. At the same time, you get to upgrade the tiny lens on the iPhone to a 37mm wide-angle unit and screw mount so that you can add your own glassware should you have any that fits.
Probably the two best places to put your add-ons are the hole on the side; offering access to the iPhone's 3.5mm jack; and the slot at the top, where you can put an LED flash attachment such as the one pictured which was absolutely blinding. Powered by a pair of AAA batteries, the lamps chucked out easily enough light to interview someone or shoot a still life at a comfortable distance and anywhere up to 2 or 3 metres.
If you want to splash a little cash instead, you can go for the Rotolight RL48 Stealth Light for around £90 instead. It's pretty much the same deal with a few more settings rather than just on and off - light colour temperature choice, dimmable LEDs, etc.
As for the 3.5mm slot, the idea is to plug in a mini directional mic. There's plenty out there for the iPhone 4 including the $35 MityMic from TouchMic in the States. It's a very high-sensitivity microphone that works down to -39 +/- 3dB with a frequency range of 20Hz-20KHzB. Practically speaking, it's jointed so that you can point it towards your subject and, ultimately, it does the job nicely.
So, whether you choose just some of the attachments or the whole lot, the Owle Bubo is the piece of iPhone 4 accessory kit that adds it altogether. Combine it with your favourite video shooting and editing apps and it works like a charm.