How to Get Great Wireless Audio Recording on your iPhone Video
By Mark Thorn
Q: What's the perfect iPhone mic setup?
If you're reading this blog then you've probably discovered that shooting your own semi-professional video is possible with an iPhone. It's a great way to shoot video blogs, corporate videos, demo videos, product promotions and even exercise videos. The video resolution from the iPhone is amazing there's a wide range of add-on products making it easier to shoot your own semi-professional videos using only iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
But even with a great range of accessories like tripod attachments that track your movement (more on this later), add-on lenses, stabilisers and lighting kits that clip onto your phone – the main problem with iPhone video is getting it to record quality audio.
And when you think of it – audio is half of the power of a video production. Bad audio certainly detracts from the effectiveness of any video.
Use the AirLinc App for recording wireless audio using the SmartLav+
The best advice we can give anyone who wants to get good audio is 'in all instances, get the microphone as close to the subject as possible'. Hopefully in this blog series we'll give you the skills and tools to get great audio in your iPhone videos – every time.
The iPhone has 3 microphones for recording audio. But they are all mounted on the phone itself. That's fine if you want to stay close to the phone while you're talking, but as soon as you move away from the phone your voice becomes harder to hear as it gets mixed in with background noise and reverberation from hard surfaces.
Room noise is a big problem for people who want to make videos where you need to see your whole body in shot (exercise videos for instance) or where you want to demonstrate a product or show a process (cooking videos for instance).
So what's the best solution to help overcome the noise problem?
Currently products that can help fall into 2 categories: mounted microphones (such as the Rode VideoMic ME or Mic GO) that are mounted on the iPhone and 'lavalier' microphones (such as the Rode SmartLav+) that clip onto your clothes and connect to the iPhone via a cable.
The problem with mounted solutions is that, 'directional' microphones are still mounted on the iPhone so they just pick up less of the room noise but are often not close enough to the audio source so they still pick up unwanted reverb and background noise.
With a lavalier microphone cabled into the iPhone, it solves the problem of getting the microphone close to your voice but you are restricted by the length of the cable if you're cabling it direct into your iPhone.
So let's see if either solution will completely solve the problem.
With the camera-mounted directional mic you just need to be aware that it's not a full solution and the further you get from the camera the worse the audio is going to get (but at least it's not as bad as if you were just using the iPhone microphones).
With the lavalier microphone, it will better solve the problem of room noise, but you have the problem of being restricted to the length of the cable and also seeing the cable in shot.
What if you could have the (superior) lavalier solution without the cables?
Well it's possible with AirLinc.
AirLinc is a wireless microphone system that can record audio directly onto the iPhone you are using for shooting the video. The AirLinc system uses a second (transmitter) iPhone concealed on your person (can be slipped into your pocket) and you can use a lavalier microphone that plugs into the transmitter iPhone to get clear audio (just run the cable under your shirt and down into the phone in your pocket).
Using AirLinc, you'll be able to record crystal clear voice with hardly any room noise – plus you won't be restricted by cables. And if you're using a smart, tripod-mounted gimbal that tracks your movement (such as a DJI Osmo) then you won't ever need a camera operator. Pretty much the perfect rig for shooting and starring in your own movie.
But what's the catch? "If this solution is so good, then why isn't everyone using it?" You say.
Well there's a procedure we'll need cover and it's called ‘post syncing'. It's not too complicated and it can even be done on your iPhone (you'll need to download Apple iMovie) but you won't have to purchase or use any external hardware.
In my next blog I'll explain and show you step by step how to post-sync the audio you record using AirLinc with your video - all on your iPhone. So stay tuned for our step-by-step guide to post-syncing audio on your iPhone.