As smartphone cameras shoot at near-professional quality, they have outstripped the ability to record sound at matching quality. But help is at hand.
Bangalore, January 28 2019: The camera on the average cell phone, has become so good, at capturing good quality video, you rarely need to carry a separate handycam or Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, unless you are a hard core professional shooter. Many phones, even in the mid-price range, can record video at ultra high definition or "4K", which is better than what most TV channels broadcast. And the latest premier handsets offer separate lenses for wide angle, optical zoom and close-up which all help top create great still and video imagery. Indeed, TV journalists increasingly use the cameras on smartphones in many outdoor news scenarios. But there's one downside.
Good video means a good soundtrack to match -- and here, phones are a failure: their microphones are too small to capture any sound with fidelity unless the source is very close. What you need is an audio accessory -- like a professional-grade directional microphone which you can latch on to your phone or place nearby. In recent months this item on the wish list of phone owners dissatisfied with the sound recorded with their video shoots, has been answered. Taiwan-headquartered Digital multimedia company, AverMedia Technologies, has recently launched the AM133 for live streaming and vocal recording with phones, laptops or DSLRs which we have been trying out.
The tube shaped microphone weighs less than 80 gms and can be attached to the 3.5 mm audio jack of the phone, using one of two cables provided: the one that comes with an extra audio socket so that you can also plug in headphones to monitor the sound as it records. Also supplied is a mount for attaching on a selfie stick if you are using one and a metal stand if you want to place the microphone on a table. To complete the setup, AverMedia supplies a "windscreen", a soft, furry cap for the mike that muffles unwanted ambient noises from side or rear.
There are fixtures that allow you to attach the microphone to the hot shoe mount of a digital camera as well. The AM133 Live Streamer sells for Rs 7000 and when you consider that you are effectively saving the cost of a standalone video camera and mike, it is a reasonable investment.