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Old November 14th, 2009, 01:14 AM   #1
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Can an iPhone be used for field recording?

First, forgive me, I am an ignoramus on this subject--I know cameras, not audio.

Just acquired the Canon 7D and in the process of building a complete package for an upcoming trip to Uganda end of March. In researching my audio gear to purchase, I understand I need to have a dual setup with a reference recording on a shotgun and an external to sync in post. I keep running across the Zoom H4N and thought perhaps since it was flash-based, there might be an iPhone app that with the right microphone/cable setup might work with professional results.

I ran across the "FiRe" app (Audiofile Engineering) and wondered to myself if I can cut out another gear expenditure on the audio recording side--get the right audio input(s) and be done.

OK, now that you've had your laugh, go ahead and school me on what I'm missing or need to know. Maybe this is just not possible...or perhaps it is? Thanks

c:hris
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Old November 14th, 2009, 02:36 AM   #2
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That would be a "no"

The Zoom and the iPhone both have solid state memory - and that's about all they have in common.

Even if there was a wonderful app for iPhone field recording, think of the practical problems.
Here's just a few - prioritise them for yourself:

iPhones:
don't like water
don't like wind
don't like heat (well matched then:-)
don't have standard connections for input
don't have standard mounting
have a very cheap mic
have a poor battery life
need a laptop or wireless internet to share data
are an RF liability unless switched to airplane mode

You could always get the Lightsabre app to protect yourself and your nice new Canon 7D while filming.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:06 AM   #3
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Could it be used for field recording? Sure...
Would it sound any good? Not likely ...
Up to professional standards? Not a snowball's chance in ...
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Old November 14th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #4
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I think the iPhone is viable only if you're prepared to spend money on accessories (XLR dock, decent XLR mic, extra external batteries).

iPhones:
don't like water - OtterBox protects your iPhone from extreme weather
don't like wind - Don't use the iPhone's mic, get an external mic with full zepp etc
don't like heat (well matched then:-) - not sure about this one
don't have standard connections for input - but you can get dock to XLR add-ons
don't have standard mounting - you can get pouches, belt-clips, fits in a pocket etc
have a very cheap mic - agree
have a poor battery life - agree, so augment with external batteries
need a laptop or wireless internet to share data - not really any different from my 702T
are an RF liability unless switched to airplane mode - so use airplane mode.

my biggest con for the iphone - good luck using it if you are wearing gloves. I also doubt the addons pre-amps are much good and as far as I know none of them have limiters.

Using an iPhone today would be a step backwards, I wouldn't recommend it, but it is possible with some forethought and no gloves. I used to record double-system with Sony mini-disc back in the day. I've also recorded double-system using a NICAM VHS recorder, so what do I know.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #5
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I love my iPhone but it would take rather more than an OtterBox (which leaves the sockets accessible) to persuade me to use it outside in any more than mild weather. I have a similar cover on mine.
Quote:
(UK Which magazine review) One final word of warning, the iPhone 3G is very sensitive to water and gave one of the worst ever performances in our simulated rain test, so keep it dry.
The iPhone 3GS apparently has better water resistance.

I couldn't find an iPhone XLR input adaptor when I looked for one recently (plenty XLR output adaptors - standard minijack to XLRs) but I know there are people who can make one up to order. I am happy to solder most things but not an iPhone breakout plug. A pro quality XLR plug weighs about as much as the phone itself and there's always that short unbalanced bit of cable which I am never happy about (though I use minijack to XLR patch cables with Canon HV30s and Rode NTG-2s regularly).

I would recommend the Kensington Battery Packs for extended use. I keep one handy all the time.

However, I can't see the point in having so many accessories plugged in to an iPhone when a Zoom H2 never mind an H4 does such a creditable job of recording audio without any additional fuss and expense. The cards for these are so cheap now and can be switched and data transferred very quickly.

Just my 2p - feel free to disagree.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #6
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Gents,

Thanks all for the solid responses.

I guess I should have been more clear that I didn't have intentions on using the internal mic--plan is to use a good XLR setup. Mike hit on what I was looking for pointing out the pre-amp & limiter issues.

The environmental concerns are mostly covered by my current Otterbox. If I'm having extreme weather, I'm not shooting anyway. Mounting might not be ideal. Additional power would be a necessity. Airplane mode is 3 seconds from activation. Use with gloves, yep that wouldn't work.

After looking at trying to Mickey Mouse this mashup together vs. getting a Zoom, with all the power, functionality, and features....Zoom it is.

Oh, and Lightsabre is on the 5-dock, ready to go! Cheers.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 05:32 PM   #7
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Mike - sorry and don't know why, but I seem to have missed you up to now on the DVinfo Brits list. Corrected now. Greetings from Great Britain, United Kingdom
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