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Recording Video on a Budget by Chase Banks

Dec 21, 2020, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Whether you’re a university professor, freelance musician, high school band director, or a college student, you’ve likely had to record a video at some point in your career. (If you haven’t, you’ll probably have to soon!) So, where do you begin? Are you planning on buying a bunch of high-end gear to produce your video? The good news is, you don’t have to!

Banks iPhone Recording SettingsAs technology has advanced, it has lowered the learning curve and the skills needed to create a great looking and better sounding video recording. Most smart phones even allow you to adjust your video recording settings. For example, an iPhone 8 can record video up a 4K resolution at 60fps! If you navigate through your smartphone settings, you should find a section on video recording where you can adjust the resolution and frame rate.

That sounds impressive, but what do those numbers mean? If you look at a resolution chart, you’ll notice some familiar numbers: 4K, 1080p, 720p, etc. These numbers refer to the resolution or “quality” of video you’re recording.  The higher you set your resolution, the larger the file size of your video. “FPS” stands for frames-per-second and, just like resolution, the higher you set your frame rate settings, the larger the file size of your video.

The standard settings for broadcast TV & Film are 1080p at 30fps. While this is the standard, I have found that filming at 1080p/60fps gives the footage a much smoother look, thanks to the extra frames. This is especially helpful when it comes to filming percussion repertoire!

While video quality on smartphones has greatly improved, audio has not. The audio quality is the biggest setback to recording with a smartphone. To get high-quality audio you can invest in an audio interface, microphones, cables, and stands. 

Banks Resolution GraphicThere is another option, though. Many microphone companies have started to create mics that plug directly into your smartphone! The Shure MV88 is one of many smartphone microphones available that will help you capture better quality audio than what is possible with just the phone itself. You can use the Shure MV88 for recording as well as live streaming with your smartphone. 

Shure MV88 MicrophoneKeep in mind that while technology has been improving, you won’t get the same quality of recording that you will with an expensive camera and microphones. But, for a quick solution with a decent end product, this approach is pretty hard to beat.

What You’ll Need:

  • Smartphone with video recording capabilities 
  • Smartphone charger
  • Tripod
  • Universal Smartphone Tripod Mount • Shure MV88 – External iPhone Microphone
  • Optional: Wide Angle Lens and Smartphone Case

While these are just a few recommendations, there are numerous options and brands for all of these items. When gathering or purchasing gear, ensure that all components are compatible with your specific smartphone!

Chase BanksChase Banks is an American percussionist who has performed and taught clinics in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. Chase is the co-founder of the Green Vibes Project, an organization dedicated to advocating for environmental sustainability within classical music, and he is also the co-founder of GreenHaus Productions, a mobile audio/video recording company with the mission of making professional recordings available to classical musicians at an affordable rate. Chase is a doctoral candidate at Florida State University and holds a Performance Certificate and master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. Chase earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University.

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