Australian journalists Rhianna Patrick and David White tested the iPhone’s built-in microphone’s automatic limiting. The B-1 shut the iPhone down — literally. When recording at extreme volumes on the iPhone, use an XLR adapter cable with a standard field mic and gain-reducing pads, or a mixer.
Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page
Skype is a free, convenient way to greatly improve the sound quality of an interview or report. Two of my colleagues at WTOP, Ari Ashe and Dimitri Sotis have done extensive testing and comparisons of microphones over the past months to maximize Skype. Remember, a wired connection will always sound better than WiFi.
Here are their recommendations, in different price categories:
$10-40 Logitech USB H530
$50-80 Blue Snowball
$90-120 Blue Yeti In attached sound clip, the first voice is on a WTOP studio microphone, the second voice is on Blue Yeti, with a wired internet connection.
Took about 20 minutes to shoot, edit, and post this video — all on my iPhone. The app is Vericorder’s 1stVideo.
Three tips to maximize audio quality of iPhone’s built-in microphone:
1. Where is it?— On an iPhone 4, the microphone is on the bottom of the phone. If you lay your phone on the desk, the mic is the oblong hole, with a fine screen over it, to the left of the charging port. The oblong to the right of the port is a speaker.
2. How far? — The built-in microphone of the iPhone will pick up a lot of natural sound, in addition to the person you’re interviewing. I place the iPhone about a foot in front of the interviewee’s mouth to get a good blend of voice and natural sound.
3. Can you hear me now? — The mic built-into the iPhone is more finnicky and susceptible to wind noise than a typical broadcast microphone. Windscreens built specifically for an iPhone are hard to find and overpriced. Buy a foam windscreen for a standard microphone for a couple bucks — the iPhone will fit inside snugly.
A down-and-dirty video edit is often what the iPhone Reporter needs to scoop the competition. If you’ve captured video, the quickest way to show the world is to trim it and tweet it. From your Camera Roll, hit Play. Once the video is rolling, touch the screen, which will display a video timeline. By touching the timeline, you’ll establish yellow ‘handles.’ Choose Start and End points for your ‘money bite.’ Hit the yellow Trim button, and Save as New Clip to preserve your orginal recording. TIP: Leave an extra split second on either end of the bite, before you hit Trim, to ensure all of the audio is properly saved. The newly created video will be saved to your Camera Roll, ready to be tweeted.
If you have an iPhone with a video-editing app (this is Vericorder 1stVideo) getting stuck in a traffic jam is a good place to generate content.
It’s happened to every reporter — you attempt to play back a recorded interview, and have the horrible realization you failed to capture the audio.
Here’s how to avoid that moment of anger, frustration, and shame if you’re reporting on your iPhone.
First, in Settings, turn ON Airplane Mode, which will prevent your phone from ringing during your recorded interview.
Once you begin recording audio, you can lock your iPhone in Record On by doing something that seems counterintuitive — touching the On-Off button on the top of the iPhone.
Your screen will actually go dark, and you’ll likely think “oh no, I turned off my phone.”
Yet, when you touch the Home button to ‘revive’ your phone, you’ll see your audio app has continued to run in the background while the screen was dark and your audio has been safely recorded.
So simple, yet so important.
Declaring independence — from laptops, bags full of cumbersome radio broadcast gear, and perhaps most important, ‘the way it’s always been done.’
iPhone Reporting provides liberty, for those forward-thinkers willing to embrace both the benefits and challenges it poses. Comparison to work produced by journalists using full-size and function gear is inevitable and helpful, but is often comparing apples to oranges.
I estimate the audio quality of the built-in microphone of the iPhone4 to be 92-percent as good as that recorded with my Shure SM63 into a Marantz PMD620.
While some might argue “the listener will notice the difference,” I assure you a well-produced iPhone Reporting wrap, including your voice track, newsmakers, and natural sound will be almost aurally identical to the report filed by a journalist carrying traditional gear.
Yet, the iPhone Reporter can also provide cropped photos, edited video, and social networking — without having to find, set-up, boot-up, and dub from another device.
Publisher and broadcast media mogul Walter Annenberg once said “I cannot compromise or inhibit my independence.”
I think he’d agree compromise as a way of achieving independence is a goal worth working toward.