An audience will rarely forgive bad audio. Microphones can be expensive though and the choice on the market can become quite overwhelming. Spending a lot of money on a mic isn't necessarily going to ensure you instantly get better audio either. Many mics need special adaptors to make them function with phones. Some will just never work with your phone for various frustrating reasons usually relating to software issues.
There is an amazing solution though and it's free! Remember those headphones that came with your smartphone? Most of these sets (certainly all iPhone earbuds) ship with a built in mic. These mics were originally designed for handsfree phone conversations but they also make excellent mics for video work. The real secret to getting great audio is to get your microphone as close to the audio source as possible.
Here's an example of a video I recently made with my iPhone and earbuds. I was holding the phone and I got the interviewees to hold the wire of earbuds mic just out of shot. Pro tip: I had them hold the wire rather than the headset controller / mic module so as to ensure that they didn't cover the actual mic itself. This trick will also help you get much better audio when shooting Facebook or Instagram Lives or even when shooting Instagram stories and Snapchat Snaps.
If you have an older set of earbuds with a broken earpiece then you could also consider cutting them down so that you just end up with the microphone element! So there you have it - the potential to massively improve your video production values without spending any money. Over the next few weeks I'll be writing about some of my favourite external mics for smartphones. I'll also be offering some tips for getting the best out of these devices.
If you have any questions about video making kit, apps, workflows, or if you have suggestions for apps or kit that you'd like me to review, then please feel welcome to message me directly here!