Neal Augenstein

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Why I WON’T be using my new iPhone microphone

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I had high hopes for the new Tascam iM2 microphone — $79, compatible with iPhone 4s, iPads, iPods, looks cool, easy to operate out of the box. But after two days of field testing it, I’m not feeling it. Unfortunately, at least when used with my standard audio and video editing apps (VeriCorder AudioPro and1stVideo) the audio file has too much “digital noise.” While the noise is almost indiscernible with headphones or a speaker, by the time it’s multiplied by the radio station’s audio processing chain, the end user is bombarded with a fluttering or motorboating sound that obscures the desired audio. Outdoors, the iM2 (like many iPhone mics) is susceptible to wind noise. However, with its digital noise problems, a juryrigged windscreen isn’t going to help enough. Even in the best possible recording conditions, several coworkers agree it doesn’t have the range of response that the built-in microphone does. It sounds flat. Since my job in the field is to bring listeners to the scene, losing the ambience is a problem. So, for now I’m back to the built-in microphone and the ongoing search for something better. (Update: As of 6/2013, AudioPro and 1stVideo have been replaced by Voddio)

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Tips for tweeting audio with photos

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm

For mobile journalists producing content on smartphones, part of the challenge is knowing the limitations of your hardware and software, and working around them.

In news gathering and digital reporting, there are times when a full web story is needed, but there are also other ways of sharing stories with your mobile audience.

The goal: A tweet of on-scene audio, supplemented by a photo can transport your audience to where the news is happening.

SoundCloud’s mobile app has a nice feature that lets your audience click on a Twitter or Facebook link, and simultaneously hear the audio and see the photo in the background. 

The problem: One drawback with the current SoundCloud app — it only allows you to add a photo to a new, unedited sound, recorded within the app.

In other words, you can’t fully produce an audio package (in VeriCorder 1stVideo for instance) and upload it to SoundCloud, which is my standard method for tweeting audio. (Update: As of 6/2013, 1stVideo has been replaced by Voddio)

The workaround: Here’s a clumsy, and time-consuming solution for now (hint, hint, SoundCloud) to include a photo with a fully-produced audio report:

Before uploading your audio report to SoundCloud, temporarily change your profile photo to the news photo you want to incorporate.

Granted, the end user won’t see your smiling puss, in a thumbnail, but will see a full-screen news photo in the background while hearing the audio.

(Update: As of 6/2013 SoundCloud now allows you to tweet a photo with audio, making the workaround described above unnecessary)

Other applications, including Twitter’s iPhone app, allow you to tweet an audio link and a photo link, but that requires two clicks, and doesn’t allow for simultaneous viewing/listening.

Does anyone know of an app other than SoundCloud that lets the viewer look at the picture and hear the audio with a single click?