Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

How to get the best audio quality when making videos with your smartphone

With videos made using your smartphone, what you hear is just as important as what you see. The trouble is, while smartphone lenses rival the clarity of digital single-lens reflex cameras, the tiny microphones tend to fall short.

An iPhone, for example, has 2 microphones that are roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Other phones use the mic you speak into during a conversation. Neither are great.

“We’ve all got zoom lenses on our phones but zoom lenses don’t help the audio,” says Dave Albright Radio and Television instructor (and class of ’84). Here are his tips for ensuring the quality of your audio matches that of your image.

  • Phone cases can muffle sound while shooting video, says Albright. Don’t forget to take the phone out of the case to improve sound.
     
  • Get tight and bright with your subject (except for wildlife – safety comes first). “Get as close to the subject as you can,” says Albright. This will help your subject be heard over light background noise.
     
  • If there’s too much background noise, don’t be afraid to ask your subject to move to a quieter location.
     
  • The best way to improve audio is by investing in a shotgun microphone for your smartphone. These can connect wirelessly though Bluetooth or through the earphone port. “For about $100 you can get something great at your local camera shop,” says Albright.

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