I got this idea. I am going to do a timelapse up on Mt. Rainier later this spring. I want to use my iPhone 13 Pro as my camera and I want to run for 24 hours. I have to shoot in either HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) for photos and/or HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), also known as H.265, for videos. This will help my 1TB of storage last long enough - I think - to do what I want to do. But what about the battery?

The iPhone 13 Pro has amazing battery life but not THAT amazing. The answer is an external power supply.

I've owned about a dozen of power banks over the years. Most of them work well and nothing about them stands out as sexy. But recently I switched to the I/OMagic Executive Series 20,000mAh USB Type-C Power Bank.

If a power bank can be sexy, this one is it. It can connect to just about anything and has lots of ports and power but is still a manageable size and it's reasonably priced - not a bargain but it also won't break the bank, especially given how useful it can be in all sorts of situations, not just the kind I'm describing here. One of the main features I like, is the fact that it has a power indicator on it so you can tell how long it will last. This has already helped me on a couple of shoots and most power banks just give you some blinking lights that you are supposed to somehow decode into an idea of what sort of time you have left. The I/O Magic power bank tells you exactly - in percentage left - how much you can rely on.

But the next issue was where to put it and how to mount it to the camera (in this case my iPhone.) I am not going to be standing around holding a power bank for 24 hours and I just don't want it dangling on the ground via a long cable so I found a rather unexpected solution.

The Caw.Car Bike & Motorcycle Mount. It's designed to hold a cell phone on a bike, but it will also work for a power bank mounted to a tripod. It has a clamp that the company calls a "universal handlebar holder" but it turns out, the clamp works perfectly as an attachment to any tripod. It would also attach easily to a light stand, boom poll, you name it.

I clamped this to my Vanguard tripod (which is what I consider my light duty iPhoneography tripod) and then ran a USB-C cable to the iPhone's Lightning port. (I have a fairly long USB-C to Lightning cable I use for this purpose.) Then I connect the other end to the power bank, mount the power bank in the CawCar "phone" holder, attach it all to the tripod and boom - there you have it.

When you connect the power bank to the iPhone it takes over power duties. When the power bank runs out of juice the remaining iPhone power kicks in. I went to bed around Midnight after setting this up in my studio. Got up next morning and noticed everything was still running and kind of forgot about it until that next night when I was ready to go to bed (near Midnight again) and what do you know? It was STILL going strong. I could have waited to see just how long it WILL last but I cannot think of a scenario where more than 24 hours matters. So I took the phone off the tripod and broke everything down and called it a day. But the takeaway is this: I proved it would work. When it comes time for my project, I know I'll have enough power for sure. Not sure how the phone storage thing will work out but at least I won't run out of juice.

You could use this same setup with any camera that can accept external power supply (assuming the voltage matches up) and it's not an expensive solution.

The Caw.Car accessory mount was $12 and the power brick was $60. You could use most any power brick in this kind of setup. You just want to make sure it isn't any larger than the I/O Magic that I use. (roughly 3x6x1")

In my tests, this setup has worked perfectly. If I were to do a lot of this I'd tidy up the cable to the tripod with some zip ties, etc. but for now, it's a sturdy enough solution that I don't worry about using it outdoors.


There is a rule you can absolutely count on. No matter what camera you use, there's gonna come a time when the battery dies and it will die at a time you wish it didn't. With the addition of power banks and similar technology, mounted in a way that it's not gonna get in your way while you're working, you can extend your time behind the camera and hopefully get the results you were looking for.

NOTE: I am testing the new SmallRig iPhone 13 Pro cage and have both their side and top handle mounted to the cage. It's kind of a Frankenstein affair because I also have a Beastgrip handle attached to the bottom of the cage, a Platypod Disc (think Arca-Swiss camera plate) and Platyball underneath all that - attached to the tripod. Obviously this isn't a run and gun setup. I'd strip a lot of that stuff away if I needed to be mobile but this is for projects like the one I described where for long periods of time, the iPhone cameras will be busy doing their magic.