Friday, September 28, 2012

iPhone video

Using the iPhone to shoot video is nothing new. It offers convenience and quality that is good enough for the web. It's quick to edit and outputs small files, which make uploading quick as well. But a concern has always been audio. I recently had a chance to try out the Fostex AR-4i, which has two mics, gain control, cold shoe, headphone jack, headphone volume control, DC in jack, tripod thread and compatible with the iPhone 4 and 4s. It runs on two AAA batteries and plugs into the port on the bottom of your phone.

Here are some photos from the Fostex website:

You can use the native video app on your iPhone or download. I actually tested it with a wireless lav mic system and it worked, though it only recorded to one channel. There is also an app from Fostex to control some settings such as mono or stereo. I found out about the AR-4i from the Mobile Reporting Field Guide created by students at UC Berkley. It is a tremendous resource that is full of good information on apps, microphones, accessories and anything else reporting related for the iPhone. A must read for any reporter looking to use their iPhone for work, whether that be shooting video or recording interviews. 

The best part about it, is the price. I found it on B&H for $99. Read the reviews, which say a lot of good things. I don't agree about the weight comment though, it's much lighter than any DSLR I've used for video. It is a bit bulky as far as the shape, as in it won't fit into most pockets, but will fit into a reasonable-sized purse or side bag.  

I recently shot a video with the AR-4i using the handgrip provided. I was about three to four feet away from the girls in the video and it sounded great. I really don't have another product to compare it to, but overall I would say it's a great upgrade over not have a mic on the iPhone. I also like that I can put it on a tripod. The case itself offers stability as well. I was happy with the results of it. Be sure to click on the HD for best quality.