Shoulderpod G2: a professional video production grip for smartphones

The new G2 smartphone grip expands on the offer from Shoulderpod, to create what the company claims to be its most advanced grip for shooting professional video with smartphones.

Featuring an universal grip for holding virtually any modern smartphone model, the G2 includes 6 cold shoes and two tripod mounts, offering a range of options that will make it the only grip you need.

The new Shoulderpod G2 is a solid, reliable and easy to use platform especially designed for journalists, filmmakers and digital content creators using smartphones. It will change the way you work and, after more than one week playing with one, I believe that it will become your grip of choice for holding a smartphone, if you need to add external microphones, lights and other accessories for your specific needs.

The newest product from the Spanish company Shoulderpod, the G2 is an evolution of previous solutions offered by the team from Barcelona. I’ve written before about their LEGO like modular solutions, introduced in 2017 and ideal for different types of users, a series that continues to make sense for those who want to build a system adapted to their different needs.

I’ve tried the different elements of the modular system, which is fun to work with and opens multiple options, and also tested the Shoulderpod S2, and elegant grip that on its own is a practical solution to improve stability of your phone, and is also part of the expandable modular system. My previous articles published here at ProVideo Coalition will, no doubt, give you some ideas about the potential of the Shoulderpod solutions.

The Shoulderpod S2 and the G2

I keep the Shoulderpod S2 at hand on a shelf on my equipment cabinet, and it’s the grip I pick when I want something easily portable that supports my smartphone, for sharper photos and videos. The S2 even has a tripod mount on the base, meaning I can attach it to a tripod, with the right accessory. The light, pocketable S2, with a Sapeli wood grip, is a product I suggest to smartphone users when they ask me for an affordable and trusty accessory.

The G2 is different. With dimensions of 155 x 110 x 55 mm and a weight of 417 gr, it’s not a pocket-size solution like the Shoulderpod S2… but it’s not intended to be. This is a solid support for a smartphone, designed to hold not only the phone/camera but also a series of accessories that can easily be attached, at different points, according to your needs. If you regularly use external microphones and lights, than the G2 may be all you need/want to carry on assignment.

The other modular solutions

The G2 does not compete with the modular solutions Shoulderpod already offers. This is, let me put this way, a different beast. Enrique Frisancho, co-founder, with Ana María Vicens, of the company, tells me that the Shoulderpod G2 is “our most advanced grip for shooting professional video with smartphones.” He notes that “nowadays newsrooms, brands and organizations around the world use mobile devices for creating pieces for TV, broadcasting live video on Twitter or shooting branded content for Instagram” and adds that “since 2014 we have designed products to help professionals create superb visual stories with their smartphone cameras, and now the Shoulderpod G2 will help redefine the whole product category.”

I told you, this is a different beast. The G2 feels different in your hand. Before we get to that, though, let me say that unboxing a Shoulderpod product is always an exciting experience in itself.  I was amazed with the package for the Shoulderpod G2 and the other elements of the modular system, and the G2 keeps the same level of high-class packaging. Although I do not care much about unboxing videos, something that seems to be the rage these days, I must admit that unboxing the G2 almost made me want to shoot a video of the experience. In fact, I’ve closed and opened the box multiple times, amazed by the touch of materials, the care that seems to emanate from the whole packaging design.

Shoulderpod G2: a professional video production grip for smartphones

A durable and reliable smartphone grip

Once you open the box and hold the Shoulderpod G2, its solidity is what first strikes you. This is built to last. The Shoulderpod G2 is a tough, reliable and easy to use platform especially designed for journalists, filmmakers and digital content creators using smartphones, says the company, and it’s easy to understand why: professionals demand durable and reliable products. That’s why the structure of the G2 uses a high-performance fiberglass reinforced composite, and the heat embedded tripod mounts are made of machined brass, while the handle and smartphone clamps are composed of a highly resistant rubberized material for protecting your mobile device, offering a comfortable grip.

The grip is really comfortable and it will change the way you work. It’s not just a grip to hold your smartphone, it’s the heart of a professional video production solution, designed to add external microphones, lights or extra batteries to your smartphone camera. With 6 cold shoes and 2 tripod mounts for adding anything you need, you will never run out of cold shoes again. The two standard 1/4”-20 metal inserts allow you to mount your rig on a tripod in either landscape or portrait mode. These threads can also be used to add external accessories such as brackets or articulated arms to your set-up.

Shoulderpod G2: a professional video production grip for smartphones

Smart Clamp and brake

The Shoulderpod G2 features an ergonomic tiltable design, meaning you can switch from horizontal to vertical video easily, besides being convenient for photographers as well. With horizontal, square and vertical video now being widely used by journalists and content marketers worldwide, the team behind the G2 designed it to switch from landscape to portrait mode easily. Hold the grip comfortably with one or both hands and just tilt it 90º to change your shooting format. As a result of this, your thumbs will always be free to tap the screen controls.

To hold your smartphone in place, the G2 has a Smart-Clamp mechanism which allows for quick release and smartphone lock, all in one button. Shoulderpod says that “the spring-loaded Smart-Clamp system offers a quick release mechanism for mounting or removing your phone immediately and securely. Slide the Smart-Clamp button downwards to open the lower jaw and mount your device in the grip. In order to ensure your phone will be safe, activate the brake by pushing the Smart-Clamp button upwards until you feel a ‘click’. The brake increases the friction of the lower clamp making it harder to open.”

Shoulderpod G2: a professional video production grip for smartphones

Sturdy and steady

Even without using the brake, the clamp holds the smartphone in place, but the extra safety provided is welcome. Once you’ve the smartphone in place, you can start to add accessories to the cold shoes, as needed. I had no trouble adding a microphone and external LED panel, and the position of the 6 cold shoes allows for some interesting options, expanded by the two tripod mounts, which can also be used to add accessories, if you’re not using a tripod. In the end, the Shoulderpod G2 works as a modular system, but one where you do not need to add extra elements, as the base configuration allows for a variety of ways of placing lights, mics and other accessories.

While we all love to carry the lightest possible accessories in our bags, sometimes that has a price. The Shoulderpad G2 may not be the lightest grip around, but it feels solid, and my first experiences in both video and photography reveal that its weight and shape contribute to better results, which I believe is what everyone wants, in the end. No more “how am I going to hold the LED panel or microphone?”, the G2 has everything you need. It even has a 26×18 mm lowered area at the back of the grip, where you can place your labels neatly, a solution used by newsrooms, companies and freelance professionals to label their equipment, as part of an inventory. I use labels – Moo stickers I had printed with my images – on my different accessories, to identify them and, sometimes, to easily identify pairs of accessories working together, and can easily see myself placing one of my stickers on the Shoulderpod G2, making it easy to identify.

G2, the universal grip

The Shoulderpod G2 is compatible with all modern smartrphones, meaning it is a universal grip that can hold any modern smartphone model with or without a case. Its adjustable rubber-padded jaws can hold any mobile device between 65 and 90 mm wide. This includes all current iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Huawei, Xiaomi, Pixel, Sony Xperia or HTC models, and many others. It won’t fit older, small devices such as the iPhone 4, 5, SE, or foldable phones and small tablets such as the iPad mini.

The G2 includes an integrated loop for attaching straps, but Shoulderpod designed this one with video in mind. Straps on cameras, cages and rigs are usually attached using small metal knobs and rings. The slightest movement can cause these rings to rattle, thus ruining your audio recording. Not the one present in the G2, which features a silent strap design. The strap is not included, so you’ll have to find a suitable one, but the loop is there, waiting for you to add the convenient strap. Shhhhh!, we’re rolling!

The Shoulderpod G2 professional video production grip is now available, and this solid, reliable and easy to use platform especially designed for journalists, filmmakers and digital content creators, costs only $69.90. If you’ve tried everything else under the sun and are still after the right solution to give you more stable video and photography, with the option to add multiple accessories without having to use a wrench and screwdriver, this is the grip for you. Just pick it up from our bag and start working!

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…
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