The Wow Factor – Listening for Sound Quality

Following this week’s posts of phone photos from Fforest and the issues that go along with the processing of them for use in a StillWalks video, I have now reviewed the sounds recorded on my phone from the same walk and for me, this too leaves something to be desired. Below is a sample clip – towards the end of it there is some lovely birdsong!

I used the free RODE app for the recording but not the mic they make to go with it. Much as I would like to have one of these, the main purpose of my trials with phone photography and recording is to assess the quality that can be produced at the basic (free) level and compare it to using StillWalks’ higher end equipment.

I have finished going through the images for a StillWalks video and based on them alone, I would suggest that the finished product will be best viewed on a phone or tablet. The sound, however, may be more of a problem. It is likely that most people would not be aware that the sound quality is not up to scratch and that is understandable and no fault of anyone’s.

It comes down to what I call the “Wow Factor”. It is easy to accept lower quality in something  if you have nothing to compare it with. However, the better the quality, the greater the impact or Wow Factor – whether it is recognized as such or not.

It is probably the sound that does most to take you to the location of a StillWalk and so it is important to me to do what I can to ensure this is as good as I can get it. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding! I will post the finished video on the blog when it is completed and you can judge for yourselves.

Fforest Fungi

Phone Photography Close-Up

Still working with the iPhone without any add-on gadgets (see previous posts). Without a clip on macro lens for the iPhone camera, there is a limit, as with any lens, as to how close you can get to a subject before the subject blurs. Whilst you can get pretty close with the phone camera, with a subject like this, it can be difficult to tell what is going to be within the depth of field and what is not.

This first shot is the best I could do with the phone and yes, there have been adjustments made in adobe Lightroom. The second shot is a close crop of the third image shown here. The heavy cropping was necessary because I didn’t get the camera focused on the right area of the subject. The third shot is unedited in any way.

The last shot is of the same plant in another location earlier in the year at 6.00AM but the photo was taken on my DSLR camera with my zoom lens . . . say no more!

Fforest Forest Close-up 1

Fforest Forest Close-up 2

Fforest Forest Close-up 3Troserch DSLR Close-up

White Balance in Phone Photography

Continuing with the idea of producing a StillWalks video entirely from photos and sound recorded on my iPhone, one of the difficulties with doing this is the lack of control you have of white balance with the phone camera.

It is possible to get some degree of balance of  light by trying different angles for a shot and avoiding, where possible, extreme differences of light. Other than that, you have to take pretty much what you get and do what you can in post processing. Zooming can help in some circumstances but I try not to use this much as it loses what crispness there is in a shot as the zoom is digital rather than optical.

You can buy all sorts of add-ons for phone cameras these days, such as zoom or macro lenses, tripods, etc., but my aim is to find out how, if at all practical it is to produce a StillWalks video with the basic iPhone and free apps.

Having said that, I am using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to make the adjustments necessary for video production. The images below are the same shot but with  different adjustments made but I am not going to go into the details of this now – I am keeping that for another day (or blog).

Suffice it to say that there is more work involved in the post processing of images taken on my phone than there is for those taken on my camera, so what I have saved in not having to lug heavy kit around with me, I have lost in the time needed afterwards in preparing the images for use. Hopefully this may be less the case with the sound recording!

Forest Walk, Fforest

Forest Walk, Fforest

Fungi Challenge

Walking in the woods the other day revealed a range of fungi, but I am no expert in the identification of the various species. Can anyone name all these fungi?

All photos taken on my iPhone 4S.

IMG_5847 IMG_5863 IMG_5865IMG_5871 IMG_5873IMG_5877 IMG_5883 IMG_5885 IMG_5887

Evening in the Park

By the time I took these photos on my iPhone on my way back home from Coedbach Park the Blackbirds had stopped singing to each other.

Unique circumstances – I am sorry I didn’t record them – there are so many of them in the park and the breeze was blowing the sound of motorway traffic out to sea so it could hardly be heard at all – like I always say, “the circumstances of what we see and here are always unique to the time and place!”

Coedbach Park

Coedbach Park

Impromptu StillWalk

This short walk was made in to parts on the spur of the moment with my old iPhone 3!

StillWalks – iPhone Walk 1

StillWalks – iPhone Walk 2

The blurred movement in the images reflects something of the feeling I had whilst out on an evening walk and finding myself in need of something to eat due to a low blood sugar level. As a diabetic of many years, I am familiar with the symptoms and using my phone in this way this seemed like a good idea to show something of the effect a low blood sugar can have –  a bit like being drunk and having the munchies at the same time. Symptoms can vary quite a lot for individual diabetics and I am lucky always to have been able to recognize the onset of a “hypo” (hypoglaecemic reation).