At this year's php[tek] conference, I decided to record my own sessions (one on a cluster of Raspberry Pis, and another on tips for successfully working from home). Over the years, I've tried a bunch of different methods of recording my own presentations, and I've settled on a pretty good method to get very clear audio and visuals, so I figured I'd document my method here in case you want to do the same.
tl;dr: Offers little more than the built-in iPhone microphone, but it's a good mic for the price, and is very useful in certain situations.
Since adding my comprehensive overview of audio input and microphone options for iPhones a couple years ago, there have been many purpose-built microphones that are made particularly for smartphones. IK Multimedia's iRig Mic Cast microphone is one of these purpose-built devices.
tl;dr: The iPhone microphone I've been waiting for, just a little more expensive than I'd hoped!
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I've gotten this question enough times via email that I thought I'd create a quick blog post mentioning what I think is a good deal for a video camera setup for recording short videos, ideally with one person speaking.
In such a situation, since you probably won't see a major difference in picture quality in anything under $500, I'd skimp a little on the camera itself and just make sure the video camera you buy has an external microphone input, then buy a microphone like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 to clip onto the person being recorded.
A microphone goes a long way towards making quality video—many people think the camera's the most important part of a video recording setup, but it really isn't (unless you're doing a top-notch production!). That's how I can use the tiny iPhone camera as my primary video camera and record good videos, since the iPhone accepts external microphones so easily.
tl;dr: A solid value for a reliable wireless mic solution. Perfect for most uses up to 35', and usually good even further away.
The Audio Technica Pro-88W lavaliere microphone system is a very good wireless lavaliere microphone system for a very low price (in comparison to most quality UHF systems). I've been able to use a wide variety of wireless gear, costing from tens to thousands of dollars, and for my money and my projects, I'm quite happy with the Pro-88W.
tl;dr: Likely the best interface for the iPhone headset jack, especially when considering the price. Hardware could use some improvement, but it works pretty well.
Elizabeth Westhoff, the Archdiocese of St. Louis' Director of Marketing, wrote an excellent article summarizing the many ways she and others in St. Louis are using iPhones and a shoestring budget to promote the faith through video, pictures, social media, etc.
I love this section:
The production of each of these videos is something unseen in most other archdioceses across the country and for those of us who have been involved in their production; it has been a complete labor of love with an understanding that it is yet another way of getting out the messages of Christ.
One of the most amazing things we have been able to do is to use our iPhones as recording equipment.
When one or two of us go out on these “simple” video shoots, I’m always afraid the people on the other side of the “camera” are thinking we’re not prepared, or professionals, or something else along those lines. We show up with a tripod, lights from Home Depot, a battery-operated microphone, an iPhone and nothing else. We have everything we need, really.
tl;dr: Five stars for the capabilities, four for the fit and finish. It's a great tool, but not without a few rough edges. (See note about iPhone 4S compatibility).
[UPDATE on iPhone 4S compatibility: I've heard many reports of people having trouble with the AR-4i and the iPhone 4S; my own usage indicates that there is one quirk with this combo: the wireless signals on my phone go away while plugged into the AR-4i. Example recordings with various firmwares below:
[Update: I received a demo unit and put it through its paces: read my review of the Fostex AR-4i here. (Works with both iPhone 4 and 4S).]
Just found out about this new product through the YouTube grapevine:
The Fostex AR-4i is said to allow for multiple microphone input, and works with the iPhone 4's dock connector. It looks like a rather klunky device, meant more for handheld use than any existing tripod mount (unless the device has a tripod mount on it, which would be handy).
tl;dr: Great-sounding, reasonably-priced microphone, purpose-built for the smartphones and tablets, with few downsides.
The iRig mic was introduced in 2011, and promised to be one of the best ways to get sound from your mouth or instrument into the iPhone 4, iPod Touch or iPad/iPad 2. Since then, it has been tested to work with newer iOS devices like the iPhone 5, and many Android phones. I've updated this review (in 2013) to reflect my more extensive testing since I originally reviewed the microphone in 2011.