Looks great! Eck… Sounds awful… Not to worry! I have the perfect audio solutions for all your smartphone filming needs. This is DIYin5! Hello and welcome back. My name’s Trisha Hershberger and in the last episode we examined everything you need to know on how to make your Android video look super professional. You can check that out here if you missed it. But looks aren’t everything, and we still have a quite a bit to cover. If you find these tips helpful and want to see more, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. Okay – let’s tackle the big elephant in the room – audio.
Viewers can excuse poor video, but poor audio can instantly make your stream look and feel less professional. Unfortunately, good audio is also one of the hardest things to capture when recording or streaming from a mobile device, especially in a crowded area. I don’t know if you guys can hear me… Fortunately, some Android phones have prioritized directional microphones and hi-fi recording, I nod to LG here – and old Lumia phones, but that’s off subject. Even so, in almost every case, you’ll be better off with an external microphone solution. Luckily there are options out there now that work with Android! Unluckily, they don’t always work with every phone’s camera app. Luckily, they now come in both wired and wireless options.
Unluckily, they usually cost a TON of money. Remember when I said that audio was the biggest hurdle? Yeah… I’m always looking for better options myself, so please leave them in the comments if you have any. One of my best and least expensive solutions so far has been pairing a simple wired lavalier microphone connected to the headset jack with an Android phone that can detect and record using an external mic. If you plug in and see this message then you are good to go. If you don’t see a message like this, your phone may still be recording using its onboard microphone, which is no bueno. But say you have more than one person you need to record, or you’ll be moving around too much to use a clip-on mic, then you may want two lavaliers or a handheld microphone as an option. Believe it or not, these are all possible even when recording straight to your Android phone! No syncing in post is necessary and if you’re livestreaming, no problem! The audio company Samson offers the Go Mic Mobile audio system designed specifically to be a wireless solution for professional smartphone recording.
Then, if you want to get really fancy, Creative Labs has the new Sound Blaster K3+. You may remember that Sound Blaster name from the days where everyone used dedicated sound cards in their PCs. The K3+ is a surprisingly small USB-powered recording and streaming mixer with sound effects. It’s basically an on-the-go audio mixer and yep, it can connect via 3.5mm audio jack, so you can use it while streaming or recording on a smartphone. Equipment like this lets you use mics with an XLR connection including phantom power or 1/4 inch, mix on the go, and even add in pre-recorded sound effects to make it seem like you have a live studio audience.
Very cool. A few more things to keep in mind when recording or streaming via your Android phone – you need juice. When filming on any smartphone, you need to keep in mind that locations with poor signal or intermittent Wi-Fi will drain your phone’s battery faster than me with a milkshake on my birthday. Screw a brain freeze! It’s my birthday, dammit! If you are #blessed enough to still have a model of phone with a removable back plate, then you can simply swap out the dead battery for a fully charged one. If you do not have this luxury, then you’ll have to lug around a portable charger. Luckily, these have gotten smaller and less expensive over the years. This one here is thin, lightweight, and even offers a light, in case you need an extra spotlight for b-roll or something. It’s 5500mAh and the best part? Only $12. Yeah – this is way better than it used to be. Trust me. The last thing I’ll mention is storage. This is one department that many Android users have a significant advantage over our iFriends: Expandable memory! Just like you would with a regular camera, bringing extra SD cards to swap out when your memory is low is a huge benefit to Android filming.
They are small and relatively inexpensive to load up on. Some cards even come in speeds formatted specifically for certain phones. This professional Kingston 256GB MicroSDXC card comes ready to go for a Samsung Galaxy S9+, optimizing for increased performance and longer battery life. Now don’t worry, there are much less expensive options out there, like the Kingston Canvas Select 32GB microSDHC if you don’t need quite so much beef all in one card. PHEW! Ok, that was a LOT of information over two episodes! But we took our production value from here – to here! What type of content do you most like to see livestreamed? And, do you do any phone recording or streaming yourself? Let us know in the comments so we can check it out and support each other.
Also, while you’re here, check out some other great videos we have on improving your smartphone game. I’m Trisha Hershberger and I’ll see you next time with more DIYin5!.