Help me decide on the right iphone video strategy for my event
February 21, 2012 8:38 PM   Subscribe

I want to use my iPhone 4s to film a 15-30 minute event, indoors, just three people talking, dark-ish lighting. It doesn’t have to be perfect – this is for personal use, not commercial. What’s the best way to go about it?

More: I was going to get this iPhone video rig and mount the whole thing on a tripod. But… I don’t really want to spend $160+ if I don’t *have* to.

What gave me pause before hitting 'buy' was a review on crackly sound using the Owle that said the footage was unusable due to the poor sound quality. I don't need to to be crystal, but it does need to be audible.

I don’t need to do any zooming in/zooming out. We’ll be indoors though and the lighting will be gloomy. Also, I'll have to put the iPhone a couple of feet from where we're standing, I think. (But maybe not if that will make it impossible to hear?)

It just needs to be started, run for 15-plus minutes, then be stopped when we’re done.

Should I:

a) Get the rig, and mount it on the tripod?
b) Buy a simple mount, put the iPhone on a tripod (without the rig) and run?
c) Use the simple mount, tripod and light? or
d) Go for broke, and use the tripod, rig and light?
posted by t0astie to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Get the simple mount, tripod, and a couple of well-placed lamps for lighting. Use the highest wattage 'sunlight' bulbs you can find. No need to blow out the bank with this.

As far as audio goes, if you're in a quiet-ish room and within a reasonable distance, audio shouldn't be an issue. You could always adapt a shotgun mic through a preamp and out to the iPhone, but I really think that's overkill here.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 8:57 PM on February 21, 2012

If you have control over the environment and can place a digital recording device or punch into the existing sound panel that will make things way better. I use a lavaliere mic going into a tascam field recorder and synch sound in post production.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:06 PM on February 21, 2012

Response by poster: I'm not able to implement any complicated solutions with sound. There is no sound system, just us + iPhone.
posted by t0astie at 9:47 PM on February 21, 2012

Response by poster: Also, argh, sorry, will stop thread sitting after this, but cannot make room light or use heaps of lights. One small one would be OK, but room needs to remain low light.
posted by t0astie at 9:55 PM on February 21, 2012

Best answer: Do a trial run in a similarly dark room. You're up against some physical constraints -- tiny lens, tiny sensor. I don't have an iPhone to experiment with, but my guess is that a video shot in low light might be barely visible.
posted by jon1270 at 12:39 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've never used an iPhone so I can't really help you, except to say that audio has to be your primary consideration. Picture is almost unimportant if you've got good sound (your brain fills in the difference) but a good picture can't rescue poor sound.

Take jon1270's advice and while you are at it do a sound test using the same/similar environment and distance from talkers.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 5:43 AM on February 22, 2012

Best answer: The video camera may work, but with low light, it does some tricks to get a picture which add noise. Do a test as suggested and adjust lighting accordingly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:52 AM on February 22, 2012

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