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How to get Great Wireless Audio on your Next iPhone Video (Part 2)

By Mark Thorn

OK, so if you've read my previous blog on 'How to get Great Wireless Audio on your Next iPhone Video (Part 1)', you should already be familiar with why using wireless audio for your next iPhone video will open more creative video making opportunities. But just to recap:

  • Using AirLinc will allow you to move away from the camera (up to 300 meters) and still get great audio
  • This means there are way more types of video you can create using iPhones, such as: cooking shows, exercise shows, product demonstrations, street interviews (and the list goes on).
  • These types of programs could not previously be produced using an iPhone because if you're recording your audio on your camera, once you move just a couple of feet away, your voice becomes echoey
  • Face-tracking devices such as the DJI Osmo can pan and tilt your camera automatically so you always stay in shot. This means you don't need a camera operator.

With all this creative freedom on offer, why aren't more people using wireless audio for their iPhone videos? Until AirLinc, it's been very expensive, and wireless mic's are not made to be compatible with iPhones. Then there's the problem of 'post-syncing' the audio. With AirLinc, the audio is recorded separately to the video, so in order to marry the two up, you need an editing program. And it so happens there's a cheap editing program called iMovie that runs on iPhones and makes audio syncing really easy.

So let's jump in. You'll need:

  • 2 iPhones (iOS 8 or later)
  • A paid version of AirLinc on one of the phones (the free version can be used on the other)
  • A lavalier microphone that plugs directly into your iPhone (a Rode SmartLav works fine). If you're using an iPhone 7 for your mic'd-up phone you'll need a TRRS to Lightning adaptor cable
  • A copy of iMovie loaded onto one of the phones

Use the AirLinc App for recording wireless audio

download on the app store

Setting up to record wireless audio on your iPhone

There are many places where dominant background noise makes the on-board microphones on iPhones unsuitable for recording good audio with your video. The beach is one of those places. Once you're more than a few feet from your phone, the constant sound of waves in the background will overpower your voice (unless you shout). So we chose the beach as a perfect place to show why you would use AirLinc instead of your iPhone's internal microphones. Even in quiet environments though, your iPhone audio will sound tinny and echoey as soon as you step more than a few feet away from the camera. So you don't need to just be in a noisy environment to gain the benefits of using AirLinc. In this tutorial, we'll show you step by step how to get great audio without having to always stay close to your camera. Here goes:

  1. Mic yourself up with a lavalier mic and plug it into one of your phones.
  2. Launch AirLinc on both phones, assign the one that will be used as the camera to be the 'receiver' and the other to be the 'microphone' and name your session (see AirLinc setup guide for more details)
  3. Make sure both phones are connected to the same wifi network. If you don't have a wifi connection, create a personal hotspot on one of the phones and connect the other one to the personal hotspot. Personal hotspot is a great feature of AirLinc because it means you don't need to have access to a wireless (or mobile) network to get great wireless audio.(see AirLinc setup guide for more details)
  4. Once you're connected on the same network, you'll see the mic'd up phone appear in the lobby of the receiver phone. Select it and check your levels.
  5. Line up your shot with your camera phone (the same one as your AirLinc 'receiver')
  6. Press record on your camera phone
screenshot of iphone camera app
  1. Press record on AirLinc.
airlinc app interface record button
  1. Walk into shot and (this is important) hold your hands out to the side of your body (where they will still be in shot) and clap your hands together.
clapping to create sync point
  1. Do your thang!

Syncing your video and audio together using iMovie

Once you've finished your presentation, you'll need to get your audio files onto the same phone your video is on. This is the phone iMovie should be loaded onto. So let's jump in:

  1. Walk back to your camera phone and press stop recording on your video and on AirLinc.
  2. Open the AirLinc app on your camera iPhone, navigate to 'files' and press 'sync files from slave'. This will sync the files across from your mic'd up phone to your receiver phone. You can now listen to the files by selecting them one at a time and playing them. Once you've decided on the best take, continue on to the next step.
syncing files on airlinc
  1. Swipe left on the file you've just selected. You'll see one of the sharing options is 'iMovie'.
sharing files on airlinc
  1. Select the iMovie option and the file you've just shared will be made available to iMovie.
ios sharing options including imovie
  1. iMovie will open automatically and you'll be presented with the option to 'create new movie'.
  2. Select the 'new movie' option and the shared audio will be automatically added to the timeline for that movie.
audio is imported to timeline
  1. Now select the + button (just above the audio timeline) and select the video you just recorded. Make sure it's the same take as the audio you've just imported. The video will be added to the timeline just above the audio.
audio and video is on timeline
  1. You'll be replacing audio recorded with the video with new audio, so you'll need to delete the old audio (seen above as a blue line under the video). Select the video in the timeline and select 'detach'.
  2. You'll now see the blue line become wider. Select it and press 'delete'
deleting the camera audio

Syncing the wireless audio with your video

Now you have the AirLinc audio and your video both together in the iMovie timeline, but they are not in sync. Here's where you need to use the 'clap' you recorded at the beginning of the video presentation.

  1. Navigate to the point in the audio where you hear your hands clapping
split the audio
  1. Find a point in the audio just before you hear the clap and press the 'split' button. (This will split the audio track so you can get rid of all the unwanted audio at the beginning of the audio track.)
  2. Your audio track is now separated into 2 parts. The part to the left of the split will be the audio you don't need, so select it and press 'delete' at the bottom of screen.
select the audio to the left
  1. So you can 'slip' the audio back and forth while the video stays in the same place, you'll need to place the audio in the foreground so, whilst the audio track is still selected, press 'foreground' (next to 'duplicate'). The audio track will change colour to light blue
  2. Now you've just got the audio you need, select it and slip it back towards the beginning of the video where your clap appears.
slippin jimmy
  1. This will take a bit of trial and error. When you've got your audio starting pretty close to where you see the clap in the video, play the audio and the video together. If you hear the clap before you see it in the video, then you need to slip your audio to the right. If you hear the clap after you see it in the video, you need to slip the audio to the left.
finding the clap
  1. Keep moving the audio in small increments until the clap in the audio occurs at the same time as you see it in the video.

Performing the finishing touches

Once you've got the audio and the video in sync, all that remains is to trim off the unwanted video and audio at the beginning of your video (the part where you're walking into position and clapping your hands). To do this:

  1. Navigate to the point where you want your presentation to start and press 'split'. This will create a section of video and audio to the left of the vertical white line and one to the right.
  2. Once you've found the point you want your presentation to start, select the audio to the left of the vertical white line and press 'delete'
delete the audio to the left
  1. Follow the same procedure for the video
delete the video to the left
  1. You'll need to repeat this procedure at the end of your video as well. Once you've found your preferred end point and split the video, select the video to the right of that point and delete.
  2. Now all you have to do is press 'done' and your video is ready to add effects (press the 'cog' icon to add colour effects, background music, fades to and from black etc) or upload to your YouTube or Vimeo channel.

So there you have it. iPhone video with professional wireless audio courtesy of AirLinc. If you found this tutorial helpful, we'd love to hear from you - so please comment below. We'd especially love to hear about any unusual projects where AirLinc has been used to record the audio. So if you've done a doco on Llama riding in the Rocky Mountains or a raw Paleo cooking show, and you used AirLinc for the audio - stop by and tell us about it.