New kit for the roving reporter

Trying to keep up with technology is never easy. Just when you thought you understood the ins and outs of the latest flash recorder or editing software something else arrives on the market.

Two things happened to me this week which got me looking into equipment and software for reporting and carrying out interviews.

Firstly, I've been playing with an amazing iPhone app called VC Audio Pro.  It's from Vericorder which specialises in mobile recording kit. The app puts a mixing desk and editor in your phone. You can record, edit, mix, top and tail, all with taps, pinches and finger-swipes. For just £3.49.

Vcaudiopro-screenshot

I'm still in the experimental stages, but it feels very intuitive. I particularly like the way it slips straight into record mode when you tap the main screen. No messing around while your interviewee escapes or your actuality gets missed.

Vericorder sells an XLR adaptor which not only allows you to use a professional mic with your smart phone, but also lets you monitor what's going into the phone via headphones.

I thought that was a major advantage until I read this review by a radio reporter at WTOP in the Washington DC. It appears the quality of the iPhone mic is so high you may be better off recording straight from that.

I'll be playing with all this for a while, and let you know how I get on.

The second thing to come my way this week was a phone call from one of my charity clients, asking about kit for down the line interviews. They have an old "ISDN room", but are moving to new premises and want to upgrade, possibly adding video as well as audio.

Here's another area where things are on the move. ISDN (essentially high quality phone lines) have been the way of getting audio from remote or ad hoc studios for decades.

Not any more, as this article by Sam Upton at the BBC College of Journalism explains. The BBC is trying out LuciLive, another app which gets you on air in studio quality.  At £250 it's not exactly dirt cheap, but it's still a fraction of the price of installing ISDN. 

I'm interested in any experiences you have of using kit like this in the field. Meanwhile I'm off to play with my new mixing desk. (*now – where did I leave my phone?*)

Posted on 26 November 2010

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