Avoid ruined recordings by monitoring your iPhone audio live!

Smartphones are amazingly powerful production tools – they’ve put plenty of professional videographers out of business! – but they do have their drawbacks.  For instance, f you’d like to connect an external microphone to the headphone jack, but you’d also like to use headphones to monitor your audio, you may find it impossible!  Fortunately, there are devices that can overcome that problem.  The simplest one is the headphone splitter.

 

Before you buy, an important note!

Because of the complexities of pinouts and mics made specifically for smartphones, you need to make sure you’re buying the right headphone splitter.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  Here’s the bottom line:

If the connector on your microphone is split by three rings:

three rings

you need to buy a TRRS (or 4-Position) splitter, like this one.

If the connector has only one or two rings:

one or two rings

… you need to buy a 3-Position splitter, like the one I used in the video.

If your microphone works when connected directly, but does not work with a splitter, try using a 4-Position splitter instead.

Conversely, if you’ve never been able to get your microphone to work with the iPhone, a 3-Position splitter might actually get it working!

This all has to do with the way those little metal rings align with the conductors inside the iPhone’s headphone socket.  If you’re curious, drop me a line and I’d be happy to write a blog post about it!  😀

 

Transcript

Smartphones are a powerful production tool nowadays.  Not only do they get a great picture, but you can pimp them out with all kinds of accessories.  I, for one, am partial to the Rode Smartlav.  It lets you get great audio without having to use a bunch of extra hardware.

There’s just one problem:  your phone only has one jack.  If you plug in a microphone, you’re no longer able to use headphones.

[Hissy, crackly audio]  Why is this important?  Because if you…

Okay, take two.  Why is this important?  Because if you’re not monitoring your audio, you have no way of knowing whether what you’re getting is any good.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Apple were to make an iPhone that had a separate mic jack?  Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist, but there is one part you can buy that does the exact same thing.

Plug your headphones into the headphone jack, plug your mic into the mic jack, and you can know for sure that you’re getting clean and clear audio.

I mean, yes, it would look weird to wear headphones while you’re getting yourself on camera.  But, for what it’s worth, I’ve never shot a twenty-second clip of myself where the audio gave out halfway through, so you should be fine if you check once before you record.

And this solution will definitely keep you from having to drag somebody else back over to the camera so that they can do it again.

And if you want good audio but you don’t feel like syncing it up in post, this solution will still work with any external preamp, mixer, and audio recorder you can throw at it.  After all, it’s always better to monitor your audio at the end of the chain, instead of partway through.

Keep in mind that the default camera app on the iPhone does not allow you to monitor the audio live, but Filmic Pro does.  So, for that reason and more, I highly recommend it.

So now that you can monitor your audio, video on the iPhone should be smooth-sailing from… [abruptly stop]

Oh.  Yeah.  Well, there is that.

So yeah, speaking of the iPhone, how exactly do you get these video files off the phone when you’re done?  Unless you’re on a Mac, it seems like there’s no easy way to do it.  What if you edit video on a Windows machine, and you don’t want to go through the hassle of installing iTunes?  Or what if you want to send it somewhere else to be edited?  Uploading to Dropbox takes forever.

Well, our scientists are going to be looking into that one, and we expect to have some results by the end of this week.  If you’d like to be the first to know when it’s ready, sign up for our newsletter at the end of this video.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for watching!

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