Use what you've got - fix it in Post
Last week I was shooting video of the Shawnee Mission Area Wind Ensemble Festival. In the rush to get out of the house, I grabbed the Canon T3i, Tascam Mic, Tripod and my Note 9 phone -- but forgot to grab the AC Adaptor for the Canon. It was a 90 minute show, featuring five separate ensembles playing 2 to 3 songs each - easily 10 minutes or more per ensemble. So, of course, before the final ensemble made it to the stage, the Canon ran out of battery.
No worries - the Note to the Rescue! Using the kickstand on the Spigen Case and a bit of a wedge, I was able to get the stage in view and hoped the microphones on the Samsung Note 9 were up to the task. I've recorded concerts before on several LG V-series phones and been exceptionally pleased, but they have quad-DAC ultra-high-fi sound as a big selling point. I wasn't even sure if the Note 9 had stereo microphones!
Problem 1: Without using digital zoom, the video looked like this, as I was in the back of the house shooting from the sound booth:
Solution: Fix it in post. Using Final Cut Pro, I cropped, transformed, centered and (with a bit of black bar top and bottom) made a usable video out of it. Also went in and put a bit of punch back in the colors, as the Note sets the exposure and colors based on the average of the whole shot, not center weighted.
End Result? Quite usable video, and surprisingly good binaural stereo audio. The video is a touch soft - it's digitally cropped nearly 50% - and you just won't get as sharp a video from the tiny lenses and sensor on a cell phone. But it's quite usable and I'm pleased with the results from the Note 9. Lesson? Have your kit pre-packed and ready to go; and if you don't, use what you have and fix it in post!
The final result? Take a look:
-- Will England, Lensman