Festival season is on the horizon and this year there are more events catering to electronic music fans than ever before. This is going to be “Summer of Love” big for many of you, so don’t blow it with a bunch of lame iPhone videos and half baked snap shots that will just end up sitting on your hard drives, lonely and forgotten.
We’ve all seen or been that person sadly holding up our smart phone trying to grab that epic clip or snap from our favorite DJ only to be disappointed at the distorted sound and crappy image the next day.
The point here is if you are going to go big, then document it with the right gear. Here are some of our favorite low cost / low profile picks to record your festival memories without breaking the bank or weighing you down along with some ear filters to make it sound better while you are there.
The GoPro Hero 3+
Yes, there is a Hero 4 out but if you are low on funds you can easily pick up a 3 or 3+ on eBay for a couple hundred bucks or even less. There is also a new entry level camera called the HERO for $129.00, not bad but it’s a bit stripped down compared to the HERO 3+. This little camera is not only great for video but for still shots as well. The extreme wide lens is great for crowd shots, shooting up at the DJ, landscapes, etc. and can easily slide in your pocket if you are not using the protective case, which you don’t really need at a festival. If you can only roll with one camera, the GoPro is a great choice for day time shooting that will leave you with epic shots for your blurb.com coffee table book - The EPIC Summer of 2015 (working title, feel free to rip it off).
The iRig Field Mic
For those of you that want not only great images/video but great sound as well, the team at IK Multimedia has just introduced the amazing and affordable (and small) iRig Mic Field stereo microphone for iPhone. This is the ultimate weapon against terrible audio on your iPhone videos, and when you are at an EDM festival or club it’s really easy to capture crappy audio that will end up getting deleted. The iRig Field Mic changes up the game with this small and incredibly powerful mic that slots right into your lighting bolt slot and right into your pocket. What’s even better about the quality and the size is the price, this bad boy is only $99.00. So if you want great sound with your iPhone videos, this is a sure fire bet.
If you really need both a video and a powerhouse audio combo, the Zoom Q4 is going to be your best bet. This is by no means the best video camera solution but the fact that it can shoot 1080p HD in low light and record high quality stereo audio is hard to beat. The range of the camera is not awesome but you can easily make do if you are shooting artists on stage and your friends going bonkers, etc. The high resolution sound on the Zoom is just amazing and for those that know Zoom audio recorders, well you know what we mean. Another feature that you will appreciate is the small LCD screen that can be flipped around so you can see what’s going on when you are recording yourself or removed all together to save battery power. This bad boy is also small enough to fit in the front pocket of your jeans. Go stealth.
So with both of the high quality audio options comes the ability to actually monitor your audio as you are recording it. Huh? This means you can listen to what the mic is recording as (or before) you start recording it. In keeping with the spirit of rolling light weight, we use the Monster Turbine Pros which have unfortunately been discontinued. There are plenty of great options out there, the most important thing is that the ear buds will really seal off the outside sound enough for you to monitor in a loud environment, this will help you position yourself to get the best audio quality possible.
Yes, the dreaded “selfie stick” is on the loose but you don’t have to be that “guy/girl.” The pole is no doubt obtrusive but CAN be used subtly and sparingly to capture some amazing GoPro video that will completely blow you away when you see it. It’s like having a miniature crane at your disposal that will fit your backpack. Just don’t stand around in one place too long with all your friends huddling around you making stupid faces, you might get trampled or punched. In other words, avoid calling too much attention to yourself and you will get some great candid footage.
Olloclip For iPhone 6/6+ (4-In-1 Lens)
So if you are going to go the mobile phone route and you just happen to have an iPhone 6/6+ then the Olloclip system is a really great option. They also make lenses for the 4/4S, 5/5s/5c, iPad and Galaxy S. This handy snap on lens will give your camera three new modes (Wide Angle, Fisheye and Macro 10x/15x) to give you some more enhanced perspectives with incredible optical quality. The wide angle and fisheye are really going to be your best bets for capturing images at a festival, unless you are crawling around looking for some kind of extreme close-up - gross, don't do that, it's a festival. The olloclip works win both photo and video mode, so you can flip between both with no problem. The only bummer is that the system for the iPhone 6/6+ only works if there is no case on your phone, so be extra careful when in more intense situations. The system for the 5/5s has an available case that integrates with the system, which is pretty awesome if you still have a 5.
DUBS Acoustic Filters
If you are just out to capture awesome images then it might be wise to protect your ears from the high decibels that will be pummeling them repeatedly for hours on end. Doppler Labs has introduced DUBS the high quality acoustic filter that will help reduce the decibels that will not only protect your hearing but also enhance the sound making loud music more pleasant for your ear drums. So spend the $25 and save your drums from the thumps.