iPhone Microphone vs. Rode SmartLav and VideoMic Pro

I received a comment on one of my YouTube videos about “hiss” coming from the microphone. I put together this quick video in my office to compare the regular iPhone 5 microphone to the Rode SmartLav [aff] and the Rode VideoMic Pro [aff]. I’ll let you listen to the differences.

Each microphone has it’s own unique sound. It’s important to remember that web video isn’t about perfection. It’s about connection. The key is for our audio to enhance our message so we’re clearly heard without being a distraction. It just needs to be good enough.

There are ways to remove hiss and line noise from audio. I’ll save that for another post. But in the meantime, you can listen to these 3 examples and decide which one you like best.

Rode smartLav review

I’m quite impressed with the new Rode smartLav microphone [aff]. The build and sound quality are quite good. While I did a couple of other quick videos on it, I wanted to take a little more time to share some of my thoughts on this unit.

The first thing that caught me was that the cord is just over 3-feet long. That means it’s ideal for recording while it’s in your pocket but not so much for video where you’ll be speaking in front of it. To make it more useful, I added an extension cord to it. Now these cords are TRRS extension cords and not just a regular mic extension cord. Here’s the one I ordered from Amazon [aff].

This combination makes it much easier to be on camera and still pick up really good audio. As you can see in the video below, I’m about 9 feet from the camera but I’m getting really good audio.

I also noticed the build quality of the mic is quite good. I like the rubber bottom on the pop filter. This holds it in place. And the metal clip keeps the wire organized. It also comes with a little storage pouch.

If you’re looking for a good microphone for your iPhone, iTouch, or Android device, I think the Rode smartLav is worth a shot.

Rode smartLav microphone comparision

Rode just introduced a wired lavalier microphone specifically for mobile devices. The Rode smartLav is a wired TRRS microphone. This means it works with cell phones, tablets, and other portable devices that use a single headset jack for audio and microphone features. It is NOT designed to be plugged into a video camera. Those require regular microphones.

The microphone is well made and comes with a windscreen, carrying bag, and metal clip. It retails for $60 and can be found on Amazon [aff].

The real test of any mic is how it sounds. In this video I compare the internal iPhone 5 microphone to the Rode smartLav and the Sony UWP-V1 wireless mic. Now obviously wireless lav mic’s have a lot of advantages. They’re also a pretty substantial cost difference between these two microphones too. But, do you notice that much of an audio difference? Take a listen below.

The smartLav is ideal for remote audio recording where you’re going to sync it to your video in post-production. In the below video, I let you listen to the difference between the built-in iPhone 5 microphone and the Rode smartLav while it’s recording to my iPad. I used the Rode recording app to record it to my iPad and then uploaded it to Dropbox. I sync’d the video and audio together in ScreenFlow during editing.

I really like the Rode smartLav. Look for a complete review when my extension cord arrives later this week.

6 Different iPhone 4S microphones compared

The best way to improve your video right off the bat is to improve your audio. This video compares 6 different microphone solutions you can hear them being used in an iPhone video.

The 6 different microphones I compare are:
1. iPhone 4S built-in mic
2. Audio Technica ATR-3350
3. Audio Technica ATR55
4. Zoom H1
5. Sony ECM-AW3
6. Sony UWP-V1

I’ll let you be the judge on the different mics. The price range is free (for the built-in mic) to around $500 for the high-end Sony UWP-V1. All the links above are affiliate links to Amazon where you can read and learn more about each mic. But I wanted to provide a video so you could HEAR the difference between all of them.

Hope this helps. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The iPhone and Sony UWP Wireless Microphone

The iPhone accepts wireless microphones if you use a kVConnection cable. In this video, I demonstrate the iPhone 4 along with the Sony UWP-V1[aff] wireless microphone. I think you’ll notice exceptional voice quality.

Now that I’ve been using this mic setup for a few months, I’m really impressed with it. I use it in my home office and outside and get perfect results every time. The mic has 2 parts. The transmitter has a small wired lav microphone that clips to your shirt. You can run the wire underneath your shirt and plug it into the transmitter. I clip the transmitter onto my back pocket or belt. The receiver is a tad larger and attaches to a camera cold shoe connector. If I use with my iPhone, I just attach it to the tripod. I plug the receivers audio out to the kVConnection cable and that plugs into my iPhone.

I will say though, the UWP-V1[aff] isn’t cheap. It’s around $500 on Amazon. But if you’re looking for a great mic, I highly recommend it. The demonstration speaks for itself.

*** Updated 1/11/12 with transcript ***

Hey, everybody. This is Scott. If you’ve followed my stuff for any length of time, you know I’m always on the lookout for that perfect audio solution. We all know that if we’re going to have the best possible video we have to have good audio. The way we make audio work with our iPhone 4 is with the KV connection cable so you can plug in an external microphone.

I think I’ve finally found that perfect external microphone. I’m using a professional Sony system right now. This is the Lavalier mike. It’s all metal, it’s high quality, great frequencies, UHF wireless mike. I think you’d have to agree that the audio quality is exquisite. It’s perfect. It sounds really, really good. You know how far away I’ve been from the camera. I’ve got to tell you, I really think this is it.

If you’re looking for a great solution to your iPhone 4 video, I found it. I think you will, too. Definitely check out the Sony set-up.

Do me a favor. If you like this stuff, subscribe up above if we’re on YouTube, or feel free to share this with your friends. Make a comment below if we’re on YouTube. I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you think.

Until next time, I’m Scott. Take care. Bye-bye.

iPhone 4S vs. Canon T3i Video Comparison

I shoot a lot of video with my iPhone. But how does it really compare to a higher-end camera? In this comparison, I show the exact same video on an iPhone 4S and a Canon T3i.

Now since having shot this, I found I can remotely focus the T3i by using a remote. This autofocuses the camera and takes a quick picture. But then you can remotely turn on the video and have a sharp video picture.

What is important is that the iPhone does remarkably well. If I were just shooting web video for myself, I think I could just use an iPhone. I mean why have the added expense of a separate camera and lenses? It is nice have a flip-around LCD panel so you can see yourself though.

I don’t know. What do you think? Is the iPhone video good enough?

iPhone 4S video comparison

The new iPhone 4S is a worthy upgrade to the original iPhone 4. But how do the video cameras compare?

In this video, I’ve synchronized the exact same footage between the two phones so you can see the side-by-side differences.

Did you notice the color differences and the sharpness? The new iPhone has a larger aperture setting so it lets in more light. In the video, you’ll clearly notice it’s wider angle lens. The original iPhone 4 video is much larger even thought the cameras were literally placed side-by-side on a tripod when I shot these.

I think the major difference is the 1080p in the 4S vs. the 720p resolution of the iPhone 4. I know that’s technical speak but what it means for you and me is that the picture is larger and sharper.

I’ve found the new iPhone 4S to be an exceptional video camera–one worthy of producing business quality videos for the web. In fact, I think it’s such a good camera, I’m developing a course around using the iPhone to produce these types of videos over at iPhone Video Secrets.

If you want to produce better videos using your iPhone, you’ll want to check it out. I’ll be covering all the necessary equipment to produce the best possible video, the software required, and even share different types of business videos you can create with your iPhone.

The iPhone 4S is a game changer for small business videos. You no longer need an entire video production ensamble. You just need your iPhone and the know how to shoot the best possible videos.

Shoot Better iPhone Video

On the private Video Traffic Academy Facebook page, there’s a discussion about using different pocket digital camcorders. Lots of people use the various Kodak units but I mentioned that I’m using my iPhone for more and more video. And it seems I’m not alone. I put together a quick video that I initially had as unlisted but I thought I’d share it with everyone since so many others found it helpful. In it, I share some of the tools I’m using to help create my videos.

Here are the links to the various products I talk about in the video:
kVConnection cable – this is the must have accessory to get quality audio into your iPhone while shooting.
Barska Accu-grip [aff] – this is a handheld pistol style grip for holding your iPhone.
XShot case & camera extender [aff] – This is my everyday case and it makes attaching my iPhone to a tripod, be it the XShot camera extender or a regular tripod, a piece of cake.
Sony ECM-AW3 Bluetooth Wireless Mics [aff] – This is an extremely light weight wireless mic system.
Sony UWP-V1 [aff] – This is a professional grade wireless mic setup and has the price to go with it.

In doing some research for this post, I came across another resource that I thought I’d share. Tom Martin has several great posts on creating iPhone video including: iPhone video blogging tips, iPhone video tools, and Making better iPhone videos w/lighting.

What tips would you share for making better iPhone videos?

*** Updated 1/11/12 with transcript ***

Hey, everybody. Scott Skibell. There’s been a lot of talk on Video Traffic Academy about using your iPhone as your video camera. I wanted to show you the set up that I use to put together quick videos just by using my iPhone.

The first thing you have to do is make sure you have a kV Connection cable. What this cable will do is plug into the headphone jack. This enables your iPhone 4 to plug in external microphones so that you get better audio with your iPhone 4 video.

The microphone I’m using a lot more these days is the Sony Bluetooth Wireless Microphone. What I like about this setup is that if you take a look at it, it plugs in like this, so now we’ve got our camera and our Bluetooth receiver. I now have a wireless microphone setup.

This is the transmitter. I’m not crazy about it because it’s so big. Here’s what I do to make it a little bit more inconspicuous. I put it on the inside of my shirt. When I show you the difference in the quality of the audio, I think you’re going to be pretty impressed.

When you need to shoot yourself, I’m using the XShot Camera Extender. This allows me to take my iPhone and move it further away from me. What I really like about this is because it’s so small and it’s so portable, I can hold my iPhone and speak to it. This is great, and you’re going to see just how small it is.

The other thing that’s really nice about this is that it comes with two little tripod adapters that I can slide into my case. When I’m shooting people out in the field, when I’m shooting clients or I just need to do a quick video, and that happens all the time, I can put my iPhone onto this really small little adapter. Now I’ve got a way to hold my iPhone. I can hold my hands, bring in my elbows, hold it close to my body, and I can shoot my video just like this.

What a better way to demonstrate how all this works than to actually show you iPhone 4 video with the microphone, so you can actually see it and compare it to the Kodak Zi8.

Here’s an example shot with the iPhone 4. What I like about this is that it’s so small and portable. Here’s my wireless Bluetooth microphone. If I’m out in the field I can shoot clients with the little pistol grip right here or my XShot Camera Extender. We’ve got everything set up the exact same way. I did change the lighting because the lenses are a little bit different.

I think you’re going to find this to be a great solution. Don’t hesitate to use your iPhone or your Android device, whichever one you prefer.

In the meantime, I hope you found this helpful. I’m Scott. Take care. Bye-bye.

Improve iPhone Audio with Fostex AR-4i Microphone

Improve your iPhone videos by improving your audio quality. The Fostex AR-4i helps you capture better audio while shooting video with your iPhone 4.

I like to shoot a lot of iPhone 4 video and I think it can be the perfect way to create to create small business videos. One thing lacking, and it’ll ruin your credibility, is the poor audio quality of your videos because you’re using the on-board mic of the iPhone. You can improve the quality and credibility of your videos simply by improving your audio quality. The new Fostex AR-4i helps you capture that better audio.

The AR-4i is a sled you slide your iPhone 4 into. It has 2, directional microphones attached to it. More importantly, it has a gain control so you can increase the sensitivity of the mics. An added touch are the level LED lights so you can visually monitor the audio strength. The sled makes your iPhone feel like a quality point-and-shoot camera. This heft actually helps you hold and keep your camera still.

In addition, the sled adds a cold shoe for a battery operated light, a headphone jack with volume control so you can monitor the audio, and screw holes compatible with tripod heads.

In the above video, you’ll definitely notice that the Fostex AR-4i improved the original audio quality. I think this setup would be great for doing interviews, customer testimonials, or quick self-videos. Remember though, as you place the mic further way from your subject, you’ll pick-up what’s called “white noise” or “room noise.” Like I show in the video, this light hiss can be quickly corrected while editing your video if your editor has a noise filter.

I find the Fostex AR-4i to be an interesting accessory and it’ll definitely improve your audio quality. The Fostex AR-4i is available from Amazon for $149. [aff]

Improve iPhone Video with kVConnection Cable

Note: This post originally appeared on MacScreencasting at http://www.macscreencasting.com/improve-iphone-4-audio-with-kvconnection-cable on 10.6.2010. Due to recent hacking activity, I’m consolidating my sites and moving the MacScreencasting posts into SkillCasting. I’ll then be shutting down MacScreencasting.

On my previous posts regarding an iPhone 4 microphone, I wasn’t able to test out the kVConnection audio cable because I didn’t have one. Well I ordered one and here are the results.

[View iPhone version]

This simple adapter plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone 4. You can then add one of your microphones to the other end. For this test I used one of my favorites, the Audio Technica ATR-3350 [aff].

I’m very pleased with the results. It makes iPhone 4 video sound as good as it looks. I highly recommend it.