Video Needs Good Audio
What constitutes a video journalist or a video personality or a vlogger or YouTubber or filmmaker has been changed because of smartphones. It’s easy enough to shoot whatever wherever because the camera is always right there. But while a phone’s camera keeps increasing in resolution and quality, the same can’t be said for the audio that the phone records at the same time as the video. So say you want to shoot video from an angle or overhead or in any other way. You take out your phone, activate the camera and set it to video and off you go. So you can maneuver the video in any fashion you want; but with the audio not so much. The microphone can’t be maneuvered around without physically moving the camera, so what if you want to “pull” in sound closer to a person while keeping the person talking from a distance? Or record in stereo but know that having two mics on a phone means the “sound field” is pretty much nonexistent? And how can you eliminate any surface noises from where the phone is when the mic is right up against the camera lens? The answer is by having an external microphone that you can use for the audio. That’s what you would do if you had a separate video camera and wanted to control the sound just as well as the video. So that’s the same answer for using your video camera on a phone, (or if using a DSLR as a video camera). But don’t just go out and get hold of any microphone that will plug into a smartphone — go get the Traxshot Transformable All-In-One Shotgun Microphone because it gives the option for controlling the audio in a professional manner that will result in better sound because you take back audio control.
What The Microphone Is
The Traxshot is a super cardioid transformable all-in-on shotgun mic. That’s a lot to talk through so lets take a few small bites. First, when it comes to a microphone, a cardioid type means that sounds coming from the rear aren’t going to be impacting on what’s recorded.This kind of mic has good sound isolation from the get-go and provides a sense of “nearness” of what it’s recording. Add “super” and obviously you’re getting more of what a cardioid type mic provides. Plus it’s made of metal and not some cheap-o plastic. Built into the design is wind-proofing, because that kind of noise is death for recording. But when wind really becomes a hassle, it’s time to pop on the wind muff to muffle that howling. Shock absorbing is also built in, and is designed to moderate real-world movements from affecting that being recorded by the mics.
“Shotgun” here refers to where the sound is coming from that is going into the mic — a shotgun mic is highly directional. As to transformable, this means you can switch from one to another and in this case refers to the abilities of the mic to gather in sound. There are four modes so you can record in monophonic or stereo — with two separation positions of 30 degrees and 90 degrees when it comes to stereo. This is helpful because the greater the distance between the left and right recording channels, the wider the stereo sound field. Of course this also means that you can pick up unwanted sounds (ambient, specific) as well — so that is why the two microphones are not locked in at an angle, but allow for the 30/90 choice. When in mono, the mics can be bidirectional, which can come in handy when doing an interview or example, or where the one filming is providing narration for what is being seen.
Powered For Impressive Audio
There is a visual display, albeit small, for seeing the sound pickup choices, controlling the gain and monitoring in real time the battery charge. It’s a USB-C rechargeable battery which holds about 20 hours on a charge for standby. What this means in real-world terms is that the 3 hours of charging needed for a full charge should last many hours easily; a few tests in stereo that lasted over a half hour didn’t faze it one bit.
And in this one case, while much of its use is intuitive, it’s important to read through the manual in order to get a few important tidbits regarding phone: also one being that adjusting the mics while its recording is NOT to be done.
Comica’s Traxshot Transformable All-In-One Shotgun Microphone is designed for use with cameras (DSLRs) and smartphones. To use it with a DSLR you’d mount it on the camera’s “hot shoe”. In the case of a smartphone (iPhone, etc) you’d have to use an accessory that attaches to the phone and provides a hot shoe-like mount. Of course nothing prohibits you from holding onto it separately or having it mounted on a stand, etc — just remember that there does have to be a cable running from the Traxshot to the DSLR/phone.
It’s not heavy (under a pound) or unusually big (4.33 x 3.54 x 6.89”), and points to a level of professionalism that otherwise wouldn’t be noticed by anyone being filmed by a smartphone (almost forgot to mention that low cut filter switch). It comes with the necessary cables for using it (including an earplug for directly monitoring the sound), and includes a case for carrying all that with you. It retails for under $200.00.