Filmmaker Smartphone Audio Recording Devices

Low Budget Filmmaking

It is important to get a great filmmaker smartphone audio recording device as an accessory for your iPhone when using it in the place of a traditional camera. Your iPhone has the ability to record sound, because it does function as a phone after all! However, the stock microphone picks up all of the noise around you. This is not ideal for filming purposes, as you will want to focus your audio on the dialogue of your characters. Sure, you could get an audio person to work on your project, but if your budget is super tight, try out one of the below recording devices, compatible with smartphones.

Filmmaker Smartphone Audio Recording Devices

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Filmmaker Smartphone Audio Recording Devices

A Basic Lav

Lav is a nickname for a “lavalier” microphone, or in this case a Lavalier Lapel microphone with an omnidirectional condenser mic. The PoP voice lav mic for your smartphone is one of the most cost effective ways to record high quality audio straight to your phone. This smartphone audio recording device sells on Amazon for less than $15. Simply plug it into your headphone jack and you are good to go! The clip-on lapel enables your actors to put the mic on in a hidden, portable fashion. This PoP voice mic comes with an extra long 59 inch cable, meaning there is plenty of slack to tuck the wires into your actors clothes.

On-Camera Mic

If you want to step it up a notch, then the VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone by Rode is a great option. Just under $60 and you can record top quality audio with this smartphone attachment. An “Amazon's Choice” item, this microphone records beautiful quality audio without all of the wires, so your actors do not need to worry about hiding cables. A Rycote Lyre shock mount is included with this microphone, as well as a windshield to record great sound in less than ideal conditions.

This microphone works with both smartphones and DSLR cameras, but one caveat is that to use this with a smartphone, you need to buy a Patch cable. The Rode SC7 3.5mm TRS to TRRS Patch Cable is sold on Amazon for less than $20. This enables you to link up Rode’s high quality smartphone audio recording device to your smartphone.

For Voiceover

Using narration in your film can be a strong way to get the plot moving. It can also save you a lot of money when filming. You just have to get broll shots, and do not need to have an entire crew out there as you get lots of takes of actors running through their lines. To get great audio from your voiceover artist, simply use Archeer's recording shotgun microphone with a foldable tripod stand.

Sold on Amazon for just under $50, this mic and stand combo has noise reduction technology, and can be rotated 360 degrees to fit any situation. It is highly compatible, with a universal audio jack that works with most smartphones. This mic could also be used in the field; just point it in the direction of the audio you wish to record. However, given the tripod and size of the mic, the strongest application of this device is in the voiceover booth.

Pro Tip

If you do not have access to a recording booth, there are a few homemade alternatives you can try. One of them is to record in a closet. The padding of the clothes provides sound dampening, mimicking the soundproofing of a real voiceover booth. Another alternative: hang thick blankets on all of the walls in the room that you are using to record in. Just like the closet, it will soften the sound by ensuring noise is not bouncing off the walls. 

Any of the above options will make the audio quality of your project infinitely better than just relying on your smartphone’s built-in microphone. Whether you start small with a simple clip-on lav or go all out with a high-end mic, you will be happy with the clean sound captured with a smartphone audio recording device.

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About the Author

Sam Klein is a writer, producer, and director based in Los Angeles, CA. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America, has written and directed shorts that have been in festivals around the country, wrote the ‘Hipsters” series for Youtube star Anna Akana, directed internationally distributed commercials for Dunlop, and is a staff producer for Tennis Channel’s original content department.

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