My Travel Recording Setup
I was watching Friends last night (something I often do) and started thinking about the recording technology of the mid to late 90s. It occurred to me that my iPhone is more powerful than at least some of the cameras featured in the show. It also got me thinking about my new travel recording gear. Since WordCamp US is just a few days away, now’s as good a time as any to outline what I’ll be bringing with me!
My primary camera will be my iPhone 11 Pro Max. With 4K 60fps recording on both the back and front cameras, it’s easily the best camera I own. I’m also considering picking up FiLMiC Pro, the incredible video app that was demoed at WWDC:
Mic: Shure MV88
The Shure MV88 is a fantastic multi-directional mic that has a lightning connector. A tiny mic that plugs right into my iPhone – perfect. Plus the sound quality is leaps and bounds better than the built-in mic.
It also had an app where you can adjust the pattern and gain, so you can control the environment sounds. I use it for my Instagram Stories quite a bit. I’m excited to try it on a conference floor.
I’ve really upped my tripod game recently. With night mode on the 11 Pro Max, and doing more videos where I’m in front of the camera, I wanted a good tripod setup. Here’s what I’ve got.
When I heard about the Switchpod from Pat Flynn, I was pretty much instantly sold. Now that I have it, I absolutely love it. it’s lightweight yet sturdy, versatile, and very portable. I even picked up a carabiner so I can easily hook it to a belt loop or backpack.
It also has 2 other tripod mounts.
Tripod Head: Glif by Studio Neat
The Glif by Studio Neat (like all thing by Studio Neat) is a nice little piece of gear. What really sold me on it was the multiple tripod mounts. Between the 2 on the Switchpod and the 2 extras here, I have lots of options.
That lets me switch orientation if I want, or add accessories, like a light cube.
Secondary Tripod: Manfrotto 055
Truth be told, I’m not 100 sure if this will be part of my regular travel setup, just because it’s so heavy. But coming from $20 Amazon Basics tripod, I couldn’t go without mentioning this bad boy.
It’s tall, sturdy, has a built-in level, and a neck that bends so I can do overhead shots. The main reason I’d bring this with me is to get nice scenic photos or night shots that require a long exposure.
Currently, it’s set up in my office, surrounded by light boxes. My primary intention for it videos away from my desk, and product unboxings, thanks to that neck.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention my travel recording setup for podcasting here:
- Mics: Rode Reporter and ATR2100. Both of these support XLR, and the ATR has USB as well. So if I’m recording a podcast, or want higher quality audio, these are my go to mics.
- Recorder: Zoom H5. Zoom makes incredible recording equipment, and this reliable device accepts up to 4 mic inputs, records to an SD card, and can double as an audio interface.
There are a couple of improvements I’d like to make to this setup.
The first is lighting. The Luma Cube looks like a fantastic solution to that. It’s a small cube that fits in my bag, and has a tripod mount on it, so I can attach it to my Glif, or directly to the Switchpod.
The second is the Rode i-XLR. This bad boy is an XLR to Lightning converter, so I can plug an XLR mic, like the Rode Reporter, directly into my iPhone. Between 4K video and an XLR mic, I can make incredible videos right from my iPhone.
This wouldn’t replace my Zoom H5, but it would make it more convenient for travel. If I’m doing video and audio, the Rode i-XLR would be good. If I’m recording a podcast, the Zoom H5 would probably work a little better.
I’d love to hear from you about this particular setup! If you have questions or recommendations, leave them in the comments!