Shooting Good iPhone Video - Complications Ensue
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuesday I shot a bunch of interviews on a Sony EX1 for a promotional video for the game I'm working on. Not all the interviews turned out to be what we wanted, so, not wanting to spend $300 to rent it for another day, I wound up shooting more interviews today on my iPhone.

The picture quality on the iPhone is pretty good. I had two issues with it. One is that its has an omnidirectional microphone that picks up the person talking and every air conditioner and truck backing up for miles around. The other is that it constantly adjusts its virtual iris to light conditions, so that if you pan past a bright window, it will reduce its light sensitivity over the whole frame ("stopping down"), which makes everything go dark except the window.

There are theoretically external microphones for the iPhone. I'm considering buying the Owle Bubo. This is an aluminum frame for holding the phone or attaching it to a tripod; a wide-angle lens; and an external microphone. I have no idea how you switch inputs so that you're not using the internal microphone.

Somewhere out there, maybe there is an app that records video but allows you to manually adjust the virtual iris and lock it down. At any rate, there ought to be one. Anyone know of one? Anyone want to program one?

Incidentally, two lessons about promotional videos. They can eat up days of your time. They also eat up quite a lot of the rest of the team's time; you wind up pulling people off their jobs so they can pretend to be working somewhere else in the frame that works better in the shot.

But the upside is they force to think about what you're delivering. It's easy during the creatie process to forget what you're selling to the audience. Shooting a promotional video focuses you on your main selling points. Then as you go back into your creative work, you may be able to spend more time on delivering on your main selling points, and less time on the frills.

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9 Comments:

I've been using the headset mic for basic interviews i've needed to tape for auditions. It actually does a really good job but I wish the damn cord was longer.

By Blogger sean, at 10:10 PM  

So if you're recording video using the camera, and the headset is plugged in, the iPhone records audio off the headset mic rather than from the internal mic?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:12 PM  

http://filmicpro.com/

By Blogger Chris, at 9:11 AM  

Thanks, Chris. I didn't see a screen where you can lock up the iris so it doesn't stop down. Can you adjust the f stop manually with this app?

Have you had any of the uploading problems that people reported with the app?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:42 AM  

You can lock the iris, yes, but there is no manual f stop. It works similar to a white balance - for a brighter exposure, point the lens at a darker area, lock the iris.

I haven't had any of the upload problems, no, however if you're adding any of the processing filters, it does take quite awhile to render out after you've stopped recording and a few times I've accidentally deleted videos thinking the app had crashed.

By Blogger Chris, at 10:59 AM  

Terrific! Do you also know how external mics work?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:03 AM  

"But the upside is they force to think about what you're delivering. It's easy during the creatie process to forget what you're selling to the audience. Shooting a promotional video focuses you on your main selling points. Then as you go back into your creative work, you may be able to spend more time on delivering on your main selling points, and less time on the frills."

The metaphor you're looking for is "pulp." ;D

By Blogger Cunningham, at 11:10 AM  

Not an audio expert, but this video might be helpful http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTXli6iV-0U&feature=relmfu

By Blogger Chris, at 11:21 AM  

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner,Alex.Yes, Just like when you make a phone call using the headset mic,when recording video the headset mic will record the audio as well. Here's a vid I did using it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yswv0dEjFfc&feature=plcp

I gaffer-taped the headset to a chopstick to make a primitive mic holder :)

There are actual professional retail mics with the correct jack and good length cords available for about 50-60 dollars, your local music store should have more info about them.

By Blogger sean, at 1:09 PM  

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