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Old March 14th, 2023, 02:46 PM   #1
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Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

I have observed several YouTube channels using Apple Airpods & other Bluetooth earbuds to capture audio narration while recording action video for their vlogs. I believe they are using stock low to middle quality Sony, Cannon, Nikon or similar DSLR/video cameras. Unfortunately, the channels I know of are protecting their “audio advantage” over other YouTubers as if it’s a classified military secret. YouTuber friends who aren’t privy & know I used to work in audio/video have asked me to figure out how this is done. At this point, I have four possibilities:

- A camera with Bluetooth audio input capability in addition to file transfer & remote triggering (as yet unknown)
- Recording audio separately on a smartphone then syncing & inserting it during editing (complex & time consuming but most likely)
- Some sort of Bluetooth “adapter” plugged into camera mic or line inputs (no specific device found)
- An external Bluetooth capable audio mixer (possible but too bulky/unwieldy for action recording)

Does anyone here have information on how to accomplish this audio feat?

George

Last edited by George Weaver; March 14th, 2023 at 02:50 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old March 14th, 2023, 07:40 PM   #2
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Some example YouTube clips would be a good start.

Andrew
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Old March 15th, 2023, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

I would doubt very much if any of the audio is frame accurate but there are a lot of people on platforms like Yoo Toob that would probably not even notice any difference.

Bluetooth can also induce a lot of latency delay so recording in sync is probably nigh on impossible but you can get Sony mics that work on the technology for budget set-ups: https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/i...hones/ecm-w2bt

Also this one: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801

There was also another system that claimed all sorts of technology but I think it sank without any real release.

I bought a cheap e-bay mic for use with my phone a few months ago but haven't been able to get it to work properly: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/275604573...3ABFBM3tD-8Nxh

You can also use bluetooth earbuds for Zoom and Skype etc and whilst it gives a decent audio quality once again it isn't frame accurate but is fine for that application as even for broadcast use that I have done on Sky etc people are not that bothered about sync anyway.
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Old March 19th, 2023, 08:09 PM   #4
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Google found this:
https://www.tirichlabs.com/blog/how-...h-headset-mic/

and this:
https://wimlog.com/app/bluvoice.html

and this:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...US&gl=US&pli=1

in <30 seconds. However, these all seem to support recording only audio on the phone. You'd need a separate camera/phone for video, so you'd end up with separate audio & video tracks (the second option you mentioned in your post). Of course they'd need to be synced, but on the "plus" side, that would eliminate any concern about the latency of the BT connection.

This:
https://www.makeuseof.com/how-to-rec...-audio-iphone/
discusses iPhone platform, and includes info about an app (billed weekly or annually) that will record video with BT audio simultaneously. It also mentions a few other non-subscription apps that should record A+V simultaneously.

I have not tried any of these, but Google seems to find a wealth of info about this topic.

OTOH, why is it preferable to use the mic on a set of earbuds, rather than just using a small lav?

PS: personally, I would like to record binaural using two BT earbuds, each with its own mic. I doubt that will ever be possible, since a normal pair of buds has only one mic. What I want to do would require two simultaneous BT streams, one per channel. But we can dream, can't we?
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Old March 20th, 2023, 07:40 AM   #5
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
I bought a cheap e-bay mic for use with my phone a few months ago but haven't been able to get it to work properly: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/275604573...3ABFBM3tD-8Nxh
I bought a similar system a few months ago, intending it to use when recording audio-only interviews. I bought a system with two mics, and the seller claimed that the two mics were routed to two separate audio channels (in the data at the USB-C connector). I know that my phone can accept stereo audio input over USB, because I have an A>D converter that does that with wired analog inputs. But in fact the system that I got combined both mics into a single audio channel, which makes it pretty useless IMHO. Beyond the initial testing, I've never used it. And I've never tried it when recording audio for a video file. If I remember, I'll try doing that one of these days and will let you know what I find.
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Old March 20th, 2023, 08:22 PM   #6
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

For a little over $300 you can get the DJI or for a little more Rode II
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Old March 21st, 2023, 10:29 PM   #7
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Pete, thanks for the comment. You're absolutely right and I do realize that. However, I occasionally have an urge to try some of the really cheap new stuff, just to see how good it might be. Given that a pocket recorder can make a better recording than the 50+ pound Ampex I was lugging around 50 years ago, I figure anything is possible. However, in this particular case, my optimism wasn't justified.
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Old March 22nd, 2023, 03:57 PM   #8
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

I've resisted the temptation to get one. If you only need one transmitter it's even cheaper. I have a functional traditional wifi system along with a lav recorder. While I don't need one, I still want one.
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Old March 22nd, 2023, 07:25 PM   #9
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Obviously a case of "plaything envy." It could be worse: in my younger days, I always wanted a pipe organ, even 'though I couldn't play one. Audio gear is relatively trivial.

One thing I wonder about is the disappearance of test data. What is the actual freq. response? The actual S/N and noise floor. How about the response curve of mics? Is there LF rolloff or midrange boost? As electronics have made the transition from being esotereic 50 years ago, to being common consumer fodder today, I think the specs and test results have been dumbed-down, at least for the low- to mid-price range. The truly pro equipment seems to be fairly well documented. "Reviews" often talk about features, which anyone can learn from the sales brochure, but skimp on test results. I remember how we used to debate about tape bias levels and how they affected noise, response, and distortion ... I'm glad that is all behind us. But I can't help feeling things have swung too far in the lack-of-data direction. Oh, well ... maybe ignorance is bliss after all.

Last edited by Greg Miller; March 23rd, 2023 at 01:38 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2023, 09:27 AM   #10
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
I would doubt very much if any of the audio is frame accurate but there are a lot of people on platforms like Yoo Toob that would probably not even notice any
- for YouTube vloging +/ a couple of frames is close enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
Bluetooth can also induce a lot of latency delay so recording in sync is probably nigh on impossible but you can get Sony mics that work on the technology for budget set-ups: https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/i...hones/ecm-w2bt
- Bluetooth latency is primarily an issue when handling multiple connected devices such as a PC with headphones, mouse, printer, phone. Single connection point-to-point links such as the Sony mic you suggested shouldn't have latency problems unless being used in a congested 2.4 Ghz environment especially with a lot of frequency hopping devices.

-This is a very interesting device especially given it's talkback/intercom function (not applicable to my quest) but it offers no advantage over a conventional wireless system with lavalier (see comments elsewhere in thread). Their Bluetooth pairing is undoubtedly limited to Sony devices of the same model so the receiver wouldn't support earbuds.

G
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Old March 23rd, 2023, 09:53 AM   #11
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

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Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
Some example YouTube clips would be a good start.

Andrew
I will try to find links to a couple of examples but in the meantime I will elaborate. The primary channel application is for sailboat crew vlogs during passages. The original & still most prevelant method of recording narration while on deck is a "shotgun" mic attached to the camera & shrouded by a cross between a Tribble & a mop. The wind noise at anchor, in a slip or underway is significant & shrouding quickly reaches a point of diminishing return. Also these mics are very susceptible to life ending mechanical damage.

Wireless lavalier mics pinned to the subject offer some improvement but still require shrouding making them unsightly on camera. The noise supression abilities of Bluetooth earbuds do a better job of suppressing wind noise when used for smartphone calls, audio recording & limited resolution smartphone videos. They are less obtrusive than lavalier but have narrower bandwidth but as long as the viewer gets enough bandwidth to associate the audio with the narrator's voice characteristics all is well.

edit: Another reason for using earbuds is many are water resistant & some are waterproof. Most wireless mic transmitter packs aren't close to being waterproof & the few that are have large price tags with correspondingly large receivers. If a wave breaks over the bow when not expected or a sailor falls overboard & you are without a usable mic (Amazon doesn't deliver at sea).

Last edited by George Weaver; March 23rd, 2023 at 11:23 AM. Reason: additional information
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Old March 23rd, 2023, 01:11 PM   #12
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
Google found this:
https://www.tirichlabs.com/blog/how-...h-headset-mic/

and this:
https://wimlog.com/app/bluvoice.html

and this:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...US&gl=US&pli=1

However, these all seem to support recording only audio on the phone. You'd need a separate camera/phone for video, so you'd end up with separate audio & video tracks (the second option you mentioned in your post). Of course they'd need to be synced, but on the "plus" side, that would eliminate any concern about the latency of the BT connection.
All of these apps & several similar ones have been reviewed for recording BT audio on a smartphone or tablet. Easy Voice Recorder, an Android app I have used successfully for several years, includes BT recording capabilities in the professional version for $4.99. It's also available for Apple IOS so I have selected it for use if recording audio separately is the only choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
This:
https://www.makeuseof.com/how-to-rec...-audio-iphone/
discusses iPhone platform, and includes info about an app (billed weekly or annually) that will record video with BT audio simultaneously. It also mentions a few other non-subscription apps that should record A+V simultaneously.
This is one of the first Internet resources I read when I started my quest for a solution over a month ago. It applies only to Apple devices, is limited to video originating in the IOS or in one case supplied by hardwired USB connection & in at least one case recording can only be done in Apple's proprietary MOV format requiring editing on an Apple device to maintain recorded quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
OTOH, why is it preferable to use the mic on a set of earbuds, rather than just using a small lav?
Please see my reply to Andrew Smith above.

G

Last edited by George Weaver; March 23rd, 2023 at 01:13 PM. Reason: missing html characters
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Old March 23rd, 2023, 04:30 PM   #13
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Weaver View Post
The primary channel application is for sailboat crew vlogs during passages. The original & still most prevelant method of recording narration while on deck is a "shotgun" mic attached to the camera & shrouded by a cross between a Tribble & a mop. The wind noise at anchor, in a slip or underway is significant & shrouding quickly reaches a point of diminishing return. Also these mics are very susceptible to life ending mechanical damage.
I wasn't aware of that information when I made my original reply. I can understand how that affects your preferences..

You don't say how far your present camera/mic is from the talent. Many people on this forum feel that the camera is not the best location for a mic (even a shotgun). If you're only a few feet away, that is less of an issue. Your "tribble & mop" windscreen, often called a "furry" (or a "dead cat") is good only for moderate winds. A lot depends upon the particular mic, and upon the quality of the furry (not all are created equal). A full-scale bllimp would work better, but certainly would be difficult to use if the boat is pitching and rolling. All things considered, I can understand why you're looking for a better solution than an on-camera shotgun.

I'm personally not bothered by a 1" sphere of fur on the talent's clothing (or hidden under same), and I see a fair number of TV news clips shot with that combo. Still, I fully understand why a one-piece earbud/mic would be more appropriate than a lav/xmtr combination for your application. By the way, I'm impressed that the high humidity hasn't affected your mic. You are certainly shooting in an unusual and challenging situation. I hope you find a solution that works for you. Good luck!
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Old March 23rd, 2023, 09:48 PM   #14
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

I'm not really following the logic. Didn't he say he was asking for a friend or is the friend himself? I'm also not getting why you would mount a shotgun on a camera. A shotgun would also need to be in a blimp to manage the wind noise and thus couldn't be on a camera. Is the ear bud idea a misguided attempt to get around the setup necessary to address it properly? With windy conditions of a boat lav should be mounted under the clothing with wind protection. For quicker setup a lav on the outside with a fuzzy would be how I would approach it. But I'm getting the feeling this low budget affair which you're not keen on following standard practices.
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Old March 23rd, 2023, 10:43 PM   #15
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Re: Recording Bluetooth Audio w/ Video

My impression is that he has decided what he wants to do, and now he wants us to tell him how to do it. Yet I still don't understand basic details, e.g. is he willing to use a phone to shoot audio+video if that's possible; and if so, is he willing to buy a dedicated phone for this purpose? Etc.

It is an interesting scenario. Maybe someone in this forum has already tackled shooting on a sailboat and can advise him. I would love to help him move toward a solution, simply because I enjoy problem solving. But when I mentioned double system using phone for audio only, he quickly dismissed that idea (even 'though it's the second option on his list of four). He says that if he has to use double system, he would use an iPhone for that; yet he seems opposed to using an iPhone for video because of various types of restrictions within that system. He doesn't like a lav because it's "unsightly" and, besides, someone might fall overboard with the mic. (What if someone falls overboard with his camera or phone? That would certainly make an interesting video!)

So he doesn't actually want advice on anything, he just wants an answer to this one question: how, after linking a BT earbud/mic to a phone, can he then feed audio from the phone into his camera (whatever he's using for that).

I wonder how Ryan is doing these days.
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