Sunday, December 4, 2016

For me the reason is obvious: I don’t have a video camera. I considered buying a DSLR for my video interviews, but decided against it because of the weight and portability, the control and the size of the screen.
When I am doing a interview I need to keep the camera in front of the interviewee, control the recording, check the light and sound, make sure not to move or shake too much and, most important of all, concentrate on the interview. Compared with a DSLR, a smartphone is light in weight, it has a larger screen size and, depending on the video app, you have the controls on the screen.
The quality of recording with a smartphone stands or falls with the light and sound. You need external light, you need to work with an external microphone and you need something to keep it all together and steady. I have made my own construction to do all this for very little money.

I love the good looking, second hand grip I was able to find. It is an old Velbon grip with a flash mount to be used in combination with an analog camera. You can easily fold it and is has chrome finishing, and it is really sturdy.

On the grip I have a Reticam mount to attach the smartphone. I can recommend the full metal mounts they produce, you can find them online ( and you will never use those flimsy plastic holders again.

Where in the old days the flashlight was attached I have now a LED lamp, you can use any lamp but make sure you can adjust the light. I always have two with me in case I need a key and fill light.

The Rode Videomic Go is very much up to the job. It is a directional microphone, but it gives a nice calm sound and a good balance between the speaker and the background noise. You don’t need any batteries, just plug it in and it will work. I have extended the grip with a small bar. This helps you to keep the microphone to the side and out of the camera.

It is a small detail, but you need a audio splitter. The jack that goes into the phone needs 4 rings for the microphone signal to go in and the audio signal to go out to the headphone.

You can use any headphone you like. Direct monitoring the audio signal while shooting the video is not possible with a smartphone, but before you start recording you can check the sound. In between the shooting you need a headphone by hand and connected to have a quick check on the quality of the sound. I use a Marshall headphone for no other reason than that I like the brand.

I use Cinema FV-5. It give you all sorts of controls and settings and allows you to control light (metering), the focus, white balance and I like the sound bar. It is my control the sound is working yes or no. There is a free version. But that restricts the recording data size to 3 GB. Pay some small money and you have unlimited recording.

I use a simple nylon cord to keep everything steady. I connect the cord with the grip, drop the rest on the ground and put one of my my feet on the other end. I pull it up and it stabilizes the grip and camera. You have freedom to move around (slowly, very slowly with a smartphone) and you can make nice movements by pulling the cord gently to you. I call it the ‘SteadyCord’.

All the equipment is lightweight and easy to carry around in small bag. The total investment on new equipment (ex the Samsung Smartphone) is around 200 Euro.

Interview with Bare Conductive - London

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