Best Sound Setup for Short Film w/Movi Freefly on a budget

Discussion in 'Movi Technical' started by Larry V Santana, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi Frank,

    I agree completely. This thread is about making a film in which the need is to record dialogue spoken by actors.

    There are some issues doing this with the Instamic:

    You would need an Instamic for each actor talking in a scene.

    It would be next to impossible to hide the mikes, a point also made by Andy above in connection with the Memory Mic.

    The promoter of the Instamic, at the tail end of a recent video (it sure isn’t on their web site), reveals that audio streamed to an iPhone uses the Bluetooth HFP protocol and is compressed. He advises against using this audio if one wants what he calls “best quality”. Instead, he suggests using the audio that each Instamic records internally, which is uncompressed .WAV.

    What that means is that you have to import these .WAV files to your computer from each Instamic and manually synchronise them to your video. Realising this, one might be forgiven for asking “what is the point of this product?”. People usually record to a single recorder, recording however many tracks one needs. The Instamic “solution” makes no sense if one is recording more than one track.

    It appears that even audio streamed via Bluetooth is not synchronised, by which I mean that the Instamic web site does not claim that it is coded to the video.

    The Instamic web site is silent on whether it is possible to record from more than one Instamic to an iPhone at once. If that can’t be done, the wireless capability is useless for making a video with more than one person speaking in a scene. Note that in addition to the Instamic Bluetooth connections, you would also need an active Bluetooth connection to headphones to monitor the audio.

    Given the current state of Bluetooth adoption, I am doubtful whether this can be done. Personally, I have had zero success getting an iPhone to pair with two Bluetooth audio devices at once. This is a very different matter from something that Instamic promotes on its web site; namely, using the Instamic Remote app to remotely tell more than one Instamic to record to its internal storage.

    Re your comment about the Glen Mulcahy video and DPA... The reason that I linked to the Mulcahy video (two posts above) is that he explains the issue of recording separate audio streams, with independent level control, to a smartphone. The fact that he is talking about a DPA product is incidental and not why I provided the link.

    Given the subject of this thread, it seems to me that it’s more sensible and easier to put a full size microphone on a boom pole. Obviously, that would also result in better audio. Watching the interview with Danny Michael, ten posts up, is a great way to get grounded in common sense recording.

    More generally, I think that the Instamic is a product in search of a problem. It is clear from their own videos, and also clear as a matter of physics, that it is designed for close miking and not for ambient recording. As a close miking solution for voice, I don’t see any advantage over other solutions, some of them less expensive. There are also clear disadvantages, such as the size of an Instamic as a body-worn mike and the fact that using a Bluetooth connection, according to the promoter, results in degraded, compressed audio.

    Finally, I’m really unimpressed with how little hard data Instamic offers about its product on its web site. Finding out how this product works, or doesn’t work, is like pulling teeth. Indeed, it’s why I’ve written this post. I think that people should research this product very carefully before purchasing it.

    To date, not a single serious internet sound site, nor a single serious YouTube sound channel, has reviewed the Instamic, and I don’t think that that is an accident. Maybe that will change with the new Bluetooth capability that you are promoting. However, if the YouTube comments on the video that you posted are any indication, Instamic is unlikely to be happy with the reviews.

    It’s perhaps worth mentioning that while looking into the Instamic, I came across the wireless MikMe. I don’t know anything about it, except that it has apparently been developed by people who worked for AKG. It sells for US$500. Info here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1338439-REG
     
    #21 Rorick Edge, Jul 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  2. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Three questions for Frank about the Instamic, given that he owns and uses one and has written three posts recommending it to the rest of us:

    First, when you stream the audio to your iPhone via Bluetooth, what file format, sample rate and bitrate are you getting?

    Secondly, can you stream the audio to your iPhone and monitor the sound via earbuds or headphones at the same time?

    Thirdly, when you edit Instamic Bluetooth audio, is there any code on your video file to synchronise the audio and video?

    The answers to these questions would be really helpful in evaluating the Instamic, but there is no answer to any of these questions on Instamic’s web site or in its videos.

    The only thing that we know for sure on these questions, due to a statement at the end of the latest Instamic video, is that using Instamic Bluetooth results in subpar sound quality that Instamic’s promoter doesn’t recommend.

    Thanks
     
    #22 Rorick Edge, Jul 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  3. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    Hi Rorick,

    actually I cannot answer your questions cause my Instamic is still shipping from HongKong But I forewarded it to the CEO Michele.

    It’s good to see open/unanswered questions so he can either add it to his website or make a video for potential customers.

    As soon as I have feedback I‘ll come back to you...
     
  4. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    Hi Rorick,

    here is the feedback from Michele:

    First, when you stream the audio to your iPhone via Bluetooth, what file format, sample rate and bitrate are you getting?

    The HFP is 16kHz 16bit.

    Our HQ customized streaming solution 48kHz 16bit (SDK)


    Secondly, can you stream the audio to your iPhone and monitor the sound via earbuds or headphones at the same time?

    With our customized streaming feature yes, with HFP no.


    Thirdly, when you edit Instamic Bluetooth audio, is there any code on your video file to synchronise the audio and video?

    Not yet. I suggest to use Pluraleyes or any auto sync feature on Premiere / Final Cut
     
  5. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi Frank,

    Re his answer to the first question, it sounds like the file format is probably AAC, which is the successor to .MP3. Recording at 16kHz, 16 Bit is OK unless you want to edit the audio. His own recommendation, at the tail end of his latest video, amounts to telling users not to record via Bluetooth if they want high quality audio.

    I have no idea what his “customised streaming solution” is, except that it seems to depend on others (e.g. Filmic Pro, Movi App) using his SDK. I would not hold my breath on that happening.

    Re the second question ...

    The answer is what I expected. The iPhone will not recognise two Bluetooth audio devices at once. This is possible under Bluetooth 4.0, but has not been implemented yet, including I think for Android devices.

    This is a fundamental problem with using Bluetooth to record audio to an iPhone. The audio can’t be monitored because it would require a second Bluetooth connection.

    It follows that you also can’t record from two Instamics via Bluetooth at the same time, let alone do that and also monitor via a third Bluetooth connection.

    Again, I have no idea what the “customised streaming feature” is, nor how it would fix this limitation.

    His answer to the third question is what I expected. There is no synchronisation.

    Personally, I am unimpressed with the fact that there aren’t answers to questions this basic on the Instamic web site.

    I don’t know enough about the MikMe, which I refer to four posts up at the end, to know whether, and the degree to which, it addresses these issues.
     
    #25 Rorick Edge, Jul 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  6. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    What is your intention? For my matters it does what I was looking for and I’m happy to finally have a wireless solution when filming with MOVI. No more trouble with cables, especially when using the counterweights on top.

    I am not a pro so maybe my demand is low. But compared to options at similar price range I have to say: there is no option - no wireless option you easily can put in your pocket and get great sound for about 170€

    You can add up to 10 Instamics via BT to record simultaneously. I think that’s more than enough https://instamic.io/pages/instamic-support-product

    Regarding to SDK we will see more when it’s released.
     
  7. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Frank,

    The only reason to record wirelessly is to avoid the need to synchronise in post. If Instamic won’t synchronise, you might as well record to a separate recorder. For one thing, you’ll get better sound for less money.

    You are right that the Instamic web site says that its remote app will control up to 10 Instamics. You appear to think that this means that you can record up to 10 Instamics to up to 10 tracks on an iPhone via Bluetooth. I’m not surprised if you think that. But it isn’t true. See my earlier posts and the Instamic promoter’s own email to you. The fact that the web site leaves that impression is one of the problems that I have with this product and the way that it is being marketed.

    Given that you have written a number of posts recommending this product, it’s helpful to learn that you have not yet received yours and therefore have not had a chance to see how it performs in use. I’ll admit that I have trouble getting my head around the idea that someone would purchase a sound recorder for wireless use, and recommend it to others, without knowing such things as what file format, sample rate and bit depth it records at, how many tracks can be recorded, whether the recording can be monitored and whether the audio is synchronised to the video. One reason that you didn’t know the answers to these basic questions is that none of the answers is on the Instamic web site.

    Also, I hope that people who consider this recorder fully understand that it is not for ambient recording. On the Instamic web site, that issue, like too many others, is thoroughly fudged. This raises the question of how you intend to use the Instamic. Are you planning to use it for vlogging and don’t mind, in your vlogs, if you have what looks like a brick on your chest? Or do you have some other close miking use for an Instamic?
     
    #27 Rorick Edge, Jul 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
  8. Michel Ulmann

    Michel Ulmann New Member

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    I'd just like to let you know, that there is also something fishy going on with Instamic. I've orderer one to test the quality myself on July 13 without any shipping notification until July 20, when suddenly the CEO wrote me directly, telling me that he cancelled the order because there is an issue with a company in my country and they want to prevent them from getting their hands on an Instamic. I asked for further clarification but this is all I got:
    For me this sounds like Instamic infringes on patents of another company and desperately tries to prevent them from proving this in order to sue Instamic. I guess I'll stay with the bulletproof Sennheiser AVX setup then, btw. I just testet a setup with four Sennheiser AVX receiver mounted on the Movi Hoodie in order to do live streams with four lapel mics (or three lapel mics and a handheld mic), which works perfectly fine (no cable issues).
     
  9. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    Hi Michael,

    puhhh, sounds strange. That they aren't the fastest ones I can confirm. I thought it's more a reason cause they are still a little startup. And which Kickstarter/Indiegogo is fast :D

    To what extend of infringement on patents I don't know. But "... a Swiss company that wants to try to get their hands on Instamic..."? As long as we don't exactly know we shouldn't speculate but when you add everything together... I hope to get mine beginning of next week and tell more.

    Ah by the way, @Rorick: I only made a recommendation - not more not less. For me it's exactly what I was looking for. If someone else like for example you has different requirement feel free to check out what is important for personally you.

    - "...only reason to record wirelessly is to avoid the need to synchronise in post..." - no, not for me.
    - "...what file format, sample rate and bit depth it records at, how many tracks can be recorded, whether the recording can be monitored..." - individual thing for you, not for me. I am fine with the infos given here https://instamic.io/products/instamic-pro?variant=6972272377904

    I also found more specs here, if it helps https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/instamic-the-smartest-microphone-ready-to-record#/
     
    #29 Frank Algermissen, Jul 23, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  10. Neil McCarthy

    Neil McCarthy New Member

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    My view on Instamic is that it's an alluring and useful device, that looks like a good alternative to my, where to I stick it when moving around, Zoom H1. I'm very tempted.

    This is simply on size - it's a tiny solution and would easily fit in my large Moment lens case (that I already carry around), and I can clip it to me (or someone else), so I don't have to lash it to the Movi using the hi-tech hoodie accessory.

    This frees up my hoodie for a small "hobby" Manfrotto Lumimuse to shed light after sundown, when I still want to capture images and so light is exponentially a higher priority than sound. Before I get the suggestion, I'm not interested in building a scaffolding structure on the hoodie.

    This is just a hobby for me, I do it for fun and don't want to attract the wrong sort of attention at tourist hotspots. ONE of the (minor) reasons I prefer the Movi over the OSMO Mobile 2 for example, is that other than the "why did they do that" bright orange notice-me on the Movi, it's all about the same size, and is as discrete, as a normal SLR, with a casual glance. The Instamic hits the same low profile and storage profile.

    If it's better than the iPhone sound, and it's smaller and more convenient than the Zoom H1, then for me it's a winner.
     
    Frank Algermissen likes this.
  11. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    Hi Neil, great point of view and great summed up :D Especially the last sentence is a good reason why I also decided to purchase it. And when I see the results, also when using more than 1 Instamic, I am totally fine. Simply check out this review here



    or this typical example here



    (you can see 2 Instamics, 1 fixed at the strings of the guitar and 1 for her voice)

    All other usefull informations and tech specs can be found here (although it also should be added on the regular homepage as well) https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/instamic-the-smartest-microphone-ready-to-record#/
     
    Neil McCarthy likes this.
  12. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    I’ve said all I’ve got to say about this product substantively, but I believe that there are some issues going on with the videos above that need to be pointed out.

    The first video is from a channel that has uploaded precisely two videos to YouTube in its entire history, both of them about Instamic. Unsurprisingly, the Instamic promoter comments on how helpful the video is. There are several YouTube channels known for legitimate reviews of recorders and microphones, and not one of them has reviewed this product.

    The second video is in fact not “typical” in the usual English sense of being the product of an ordinary user, but is in fact an Instamic promotional video.

    Meanwhile, Michel says four posts above that Instamic refused to deliver an Instamic to him in Switzerland because it wants to prevent a Swiss company from getting its hands on the product. Right.

    Finally, I think that it is important to understand that Frank keeps plugging this product, but doesn’t actually have one in his possession, and has not in fact tested it. One thing that’s clear is that he did not understand until this discussion the limitations of the Instamic when used wirelessly to record to a smartphone, which was originally his principal use case.

    This will be my last comment on this product.
     
    #32 Rorick Edge, Jul 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  13. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    Puhhh... exhausting... but seems to be finished now.
     
  14. Neil McCarthy

    Neil McCarthy New Member

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    My instamic arrived today. Just charging it up. :)
     
  15. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    You lucky one!!! Mine is at customers duty since 2 days :mad: Hopefully will get it beginning of next week. So in the meantime let us know your experiences :)
     
  16. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    Hey, how about your first impressions? Mine is still not there but stays at TNT Euro Hub in Liege/Belgium - since more than 1 week now :mad:
     
  17. Neil McCarthy

    Neil McCarthy New Member

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    I've had a quick play, not yet used it in anger. First impressions are good. There is a slight buzz on the mics that might be down to me not really setting them up before hitting record. One small issue with the app (that I've seen on other devices) is that they never show 100% battery after fully charging. For me, they are easily a much better solution than the v1 Zoom H1. :)
     
  18. Frank Algermissen

    Frank Algermissen Active Member

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    Sounds good. It will be interesting to see. Cannot wait to get mine - finally - to test, too
     
  19. Michele Baggio

    Michele Baggio New Member

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    Hi @Michel Ulmann,
    I saw several views coming from this forum and I found this topic.
    I would like to reply to your post regarding shipments to Switzerland.
    - It was a personal message I sent to you, not publicly. It is sensitive info. I won't be open with customers anymore. Lesson learned. I have been naive.
    - There are any relations with patent infringement. Our patent has been filed and we know if we are stepping into someone else feet since it is part of the examinator's process. I was trying to protect my product in a very honest and simple way. Nothing fishy as you said.
    - I am not gonna say anything more about Switzerland but I was right on my decision in that very specific and critical moment. Confidential.
    - It makes me sad to see some bad speculations about our business without having the entire scenario in hand.
    I hope you can understand my frustration.
    Happy to discuss further around the product and potential features to implement.
    Regards,
    Michele Baggio
    Instamic CEO
     
  20. Michele Baggio

    Michele Baggio New Member

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    Dear @Rorick Edge,
    I read with a lot of interest your comments about Instamic.
    I would just add my feedback about the two videos shared by @Frank Algermissen above.
    - The first video from Adam Surplice, an early backer during our Indiego campaign. I will add the email he sent me when he received the mics after 2 years of waiting. No other things to say.

    - Second video. The singer. She is a talent from Mauritius. His boyfriend is not a videographer and he was trying to create videos for her on his own to save some money. He is a super early backer on Indiegogo and once he started using it, he found Instamic useful to record her on the go, outdoor, without a crazy audio knowledge and expensive equipment. He put together this video for her and I found it very well done. I asked him to share it on our social media channel for two reasons. I am alone doing all videos for Instamic (I have been a freelance videographer for 15 years) and I didn't have the time and the chance to record a talent in those settings and conditions. I think it was highlighting what a musician could have done with the mic and, most important, I was happy to share Yvette's talent with our community. Very transparent way to support a backer who supported us and for me a way to showcase a potential use of Instamic. No marketing strategies, nothing. I am videographer, not a business guy.

    You don't know me personally, but the only thing that drove me to design and burn all my life savings and much more to this project, was for me to have an easier way to record audio and allow others to create meaningful content. Nothing more. Pure honest love for content creation and creativity.

    I am open to talk about the product, how to improve it, get feedback, grow together.
    I would step out from any speculation.

    Kind regards
    Michele Baggio
    Instamic CEO
     

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