Video: Rode smartLav quick review

By technical editor Matt Allard:

RODE SMARTLAV REVIEW from Matthew Allard on Vimeo.

Poor interview audio is really inexcusable these days – even for shooters on limited budgets. If you can’t afford a high quality wireless mic or need to mic up multiple people on set then here is an elegant and inexpensive solution from Rode.

The Rode smartLav is an omni-directional lavalier microphone that when combined with an iOS device and the Rode Rec app creates a pocketable audio recorder. It uses a standard TRRS connection, which plugs directly into your iPad, iPod touch or iPhone, in addition to a wide range of other TRRS devices. Simply clip the mic onto your subject, start the app, set the level and pop it into your subject’s pocket.

As the audio is recorded separately to your camera’s audio you will need to synchronize it later using your editing software or Pluraleyes.

One other thing to bear in mind when using this setup is that there is no way to monitor the audio when it is on your subject. Make sure your levels are set correctly and that there is no clothing rustle or excess wind noise before you start recording.

Also remember is to turn off the radio transmitter of your iPhone. You don’t want the recording interrupted with interference or a call from your friends!

So the smartLav is a great solution both for budget minded shooters and also for shooters on bigger budgets who want the ability to quickly mic up additional subjects.

A small correction to the video: The windsock does not actually screw on as I stated. I was accidentally taking off the whole mic capsule when unscrewing it. Apologies for the mistake.

For more information on the smartLav check out rodemic.com.

About Matthew Allard, Aljazeera Team Leader Cameras, Kuala Lumpur:
Matt has been a Camera/Editor in TV news for more 22 years, previously working for both Channel 9 and Channel 10 in Australia. Twice Network Ten Australia’s cameraman of the year as well as being a Walkley Finalist for outstanding camerawork in 2006 (for coverage of the Cronulla Race Riots) and a Logie Finalist for outstanding news coverage 2006 (Bali 9). He has won 14 ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) awards. His Sword Maker story that was shot on a 7D won the prestigious Neil Davis International News Golden Tripod at the 2011 ACS Awards. He has covered news events in more than 35 countries, from major sporting events to terrorist bombings. Based out of the Kuala Lumpur broadcast centre in Malaysia he is an avid user and follower of new technology, shooting stories on HD broadcast cameras, the Sony FS700 and F3 as well as Canon DSLRs.

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