Friday, February 7, 2014

Miking and Multi-Cameras with Mobile Devices

When people first discover Google's Hangouts on Air (the ability to broadcast to large audiences), many try to use this to broadcast a speaker in front of a group (example: instructor in front of a class). Unfortunately, the quality is often poor, the audio is faint, and the video is shot at a distance.

An easy solution available to all of us is to use mobile devices (for audio and video). Although not broadcast quality by television standards, you can do some real exciting stuff:

  • improve audio from speaker by using an iPod/iPhone as a wireless microphone (this is great if all you're showing is a slide presentation)
  • use iPod/iPhone/iPad as secondary cameras that you can switch to
Although the quality of the sample video below is not the greatest, keep in mind that users who can't make it to the presentation would be happy just being able to hear it clearly. I didn't spend anytime on getting proper lighting, so with a little effort, your results will be better.

Thanks to +Michael Daniels for doing the switching.


  • Turn your system volume completely off. Mobile versions of hangouts won't let you completely mute the sound. If necessary, you can insert earbuds (or 1/8"jacks) into all mobile devices. 
  • Record video with a proper HD camera. With a video editor, you can sync the HD footage to the higher quality audio
  • The faster/newer the hardware, the better your results are
  • When miking your speaker (earbuds work great!), they don't have to have the earbud in their ear - just pin/clip it to them
  • If you can, start the HOA from your laptop, then go to the Hangout app on your mobile device and join the conversation. 
Where do you see yourself using this?