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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Richard Harrington: A lot of times you're going to want to get information into your phone, and you really have two ways to go about it. Typically, at the bottom of the phone is some sort of data port, maybe an iPod connector, the new lightning connector, or a USB port. Robbie Carman: Right. Rich: And this works pretty well, there are USB adapters that allow you to plug in USB microphones into many tablets or other devices. Robbie: Absolutely, and then the other way, of course, would be to use the headphone jack at the top of the actual device itself. And most devices is not just for headphones, it's also an input jack as well.
So Rich, on this particular device we have a cable that has an 1/8 jack connected to the phone itself, and then on the other end you'll see it's kind of like a wire right here. Right, here I have a headphone jack that I can actually monitor the audio that I am recording on the phone, and then on this end right here I have an XLR connection that allows me to connect to a professional-level mic. Rich: Yeah, so we'll go ahead and make those connections, which is great, and we can plug that in, and it is very important that you actually do monitor the headphones, because without that, you don't know what you're getting. Robbie: And plus, I look really good in headphones. Rich: Oh, absolutely. You're rocking the '70s style.
Now the thing is that you need to realize about this is that there's different types of cables, both manufacturers out there and some that are line level and some that are mic level, and that's really a choice when you buy the cable. So how do I know if I need my line level or mic level? Robbie: That's a great question, Rich, and it really kind of depends on what your audio source is. Rich: You mean I have to think before I record? Robbie: Or at least ask a couple of questions. Rich: Okay. Robbie: So for example, if you're maybe at a concert and you're recording audio coming off a mixing board, typically that's going to be line level, right? If you plug in a microphone, guess what, it's going to be mic level.
Rich: Unless of course it might be a powered microphone. Robbie: That's true. Rich: And some mics have a choice. Really, the solution here is buy both the line level cable and the mic level cable and label your cables because they look identical, because I forgot to label mine and I still have to go back and figure out which one is which. I know I have them both in my bag, and if one seems a little hot, I swap it out. But when you have those cables connected, that will allow you to actually go in, make sure you're recording, hit the record button, and you've got it. And it's going in, you know the microphone is actually feeding into this and this allows us to get real levels.
Now in this here, I could see the VU meter actually moving. It looks like I've plugged in the line level cable, which is indicated by the fact that the mic is not getting as loud as it should. But we can go ahead and either tweak that by using the mixer or switching out the cables, but you do get real VU meters and when you're done, you end up with an actual audio file that you could then pull off. Robbie: Yeah absolutely. And I just got to say, this is one of the things, when you showed me this for the first time I was just kind of blown away. I mean, because think about it like this. You have your phone on you all the time and instead of lugging around another piece of gear or something like that with a simple and cheap--relatively cheap investment--and a couple of different cables, you have essentially a digital audio recorder in your pocket ready to go for your next DSLR production.
Rich: And if you need an excuse to upgrade your phone because maybe you weren't eligible, but you know you did have that ability because you were going to buy an audio recorder anyways, hey look, it's an audio recorder that has other purposes. But even still, it works great. This is going to allow you that backup sense for recording. Just make sure you pick up the two cables, both the mic level and the line level so you have that flexibility. Now on future episodes we're going to show you how to put all of these pieces together in post. But now that you know how to record proper audio and you've got a backup plan, get out there and start shooting.
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