How To Video
Record better sound with your smartphoneIn this episode of CNET Australia's Pocket Filmmaker, Jason Van Genderen shows off his favorite devices that will vastly improve the sound quality of iPhone videos.
-Hi and welcome back to Pocket Filmmaker. This week, we're looking at how to record good-quality sound with our smartphone films. Now, it's not quite as hot as what you may think, but there are a few challenges you need to keep in mind. Now, smartphones remain fantastic. They're really, really portable. We've looked at a couple of different ways that we can get great-quality pictures out of these so far. However, why do they let us down when it comes to sound? The reason is simple. It's the on-board microphone. Now, even if we're filming these webisodes, I'm recording a sound that's going to this particular clip right now from a lapel microphone that's pinned to the top of my shirt. Now, I'm gonna get to turn our camera around just to unplug the microphone input, and you'll see what this sounds like now when I'm recording the sound direct from the camera microphone, okay? Now, this camera's about a meter and a half away from me and you'll be able to hear a lot of distraction on the sound. You can hear room echo. You can hear the air conditioning on the background, all because the microphone is that much further away from me. When he plugs it back in however, nice good crisp quality sound because the microphone is right near the sound source. Okay, now one way to get quality sound with your film is to actually put a sound recording device very close to the action. That means taking the sound away from the camera. Now, a device like this is called a zoom digital audio recorder. It's fantastic. Okay, now these come in a number of different models, but see now for a couple of hundred dollars, you can have a pro-quality audio recorder. However, that's only good if you're gonna edit your film because you're gonna need to find a way to marry the pictures from your smartphone to the sound from this device to be frame accurate. If you're after a really inexpensive way to get better-quality sound from a smartphone, have a little one of these. I found this on eBay, fantastic little microphone, just plugs into a standard 3-1/2-millimeter mini jack. It is gonna improve the audio over and above the onboard microphone on most smartphones, and the great thing is you can angle it and do a number of different directions to your sound source. That's gonna make it nice and clear. Would you believe you can actually get better-quality audio from your pocket camera by adding a lens attachment to it? I'm gonna show you how. You may recall on webisode 1 where we looked at lens attachments for smartphones, and I showed this little one which was a wide-angle lens attachment. It's optical. It's glass. It's metal. It's very good quality. Now, my iPhone here, if I just snap this onto the front of my iPhone, what it does is it opens up the angle of view, so even now on this picture here, you can see without the lens how far away I have to hold the camera to get myself in the shot there. Whereas if I put this lens on the front there, I can drag it a lot closer to me and still get the same sort of framing. Now, what that means is I'm close to my microphone, so I'm doubling my audio quality. Here's a little example at my field to show you how that works. Okay, quick experiment on my outside, I'm standing against a brick wall. The camera's held out from my arm. He stands probably about half a meter right from my face. If you hear my voice okay, you can also hear a fair bit of background stuff coming in too. Now, if I put this lens attachment onto the iPhone, I'll be able to bring the microphone and the camera a bit closer to me, so here we go, probably about 20 centimeters away from me now, and whilst you can still hear some reflected noise in the background, my voice should be a lot sharper and a lot clearer, so there you go, shows you how a lens can help you get better-quality audio too. If you want my absolute must-have audio accessory for pocket cameras, it's gotta be one of these. Bell can produce these; it's a mini-boom microphone. Now, these things are fantastic because it's got 2 sound loads on it. It's got switchable fields from narrow to wide which opens up a whole scope of audio recording possibilities. Again, it just plugs into the stereo headphone jack there straightaway, professional-quality sound. It doesn't get any easier than that, absolutely perfect and crisp. Our other film you've got to check out this week is called Space Balloon. You will not believe that [unk] family over in America decided as an experiment to send their iPhone up into space via helium balloon. It recorded pictures and came back to earth. It's absolutely amazing, gotta check it out. All right, that's about it from me. Next time we catch up, we're gonna look at moving pictures. I'm gonna show you all sorts of crazy things like table dollies, steadicam devices for pocket cameras. You won't believe what you see. See you then, bye.