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12-20-2016, 12:56 AM   #1
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Better alternative to GoPro for low-light video recording with iPhone camera control?

My girlfriend is a therapist, and she's wanting to record some of her sessions with her clients for training purposes. I did a bunch of research and snagged a GoPro Hero 4 Session camera... and we tried it out today. It was terrible. There were two huge problems: #1 is that the microphone gain was horrendously low. With playback volume maxed out the voices can be heard, but the hiss level is very distracting, and some words just disappear. #2 is that the video quality is total crap, even in the higher resolution modes. The f/2 lens can't get enough light in an office lit by lamps (no overhead lighting). Subjects are dark, and the video is smudged and facial expressions are all blurred with artifacts.

Her iPhone 6 Plus absolutely blows the GoPro out of the water for both video and sound quality. (Even though it's an f/2.2 lens). Unfortunately the iPhone doesn't have a wide angle lens, and wall-mounting it so it can easily take in the entire room means it's no longer really useful as a phone. So that's not an option.

What would be an option? The GoPro was chosen for the ease of use - one button turns it on and starts recording, and her iPhone connects to it directly and can manipulate recorded videos or start and stop the recording from her phone. This is the preferred use case, because ideally the camera would be mounted up out of the way on the wall.

Does anyone have ideas as to an alternative? Budget is sub-$400. Priorities are 1) Ease of Use. 2) Audio Quality. 3) Video quality, in that order. The GoPro has #1 but fails on #2 and #3. Are there better options?

Thanks!

Charles.

12-20-2016, 01:20 AM   #2
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What drew you to the GoPro, are the therapy sessions out on the ski slopes?

It's going to be hard to beat the iPhone 6+ with a camera that's cheaper than the iPhone. The 'budget' options I've considered for video include the Panasonic GH4 (which should drop in price when the GH5 comes out soon). That's of course way too expensive for your needs ($1200), but that means no 4K video. By the time you've crunched down to 'sub-400', I honestly think you've eliminated every benefit over your cell phone's video.

Why not a tripod for the cell phone? You could even get one of those fancy flash drives that connects to the iPhone, if videos end up taking up too much space?
12-20-2016, 01:33 AM   #3
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Tripod and Manfrotto M Clamp or Joby GripTight and a wide angle lens attachment.
There's a choice listed here:
Best wide angle lenses for iPhone photography | iMore
12-20-2016, 04:56 AM   #4
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Sony A7s except for budget...

12-20-2016, 05:09 AM   #5
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You could get a proper GoPro. The session is waterproof so no exposed microphone and bad audio. Get a silver or black 3 or 4 second hand, with an open case. I've heard the sony action cam is good. But I think low light might be a problem for all action cams.
12-20-2016, 06:41 AM   #6
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Your signature mentiones a k01. Why not use that with your tamron 28-75? Or add a da 15, or some other WA or UWA. Attach an external mic.. voila. Maybe a remote release will allow stop start as well.
12-20-2016, 08:21 AM   #7
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I got the GoPro because on paper, the specs were good. Low light performance seemed good when I looked at videos that had been made with it, and none of the reviews I read mentioned poor microphone levels. I wanted something with the iPhone control, which is mountable up and out of the way, which will record when plugged into a USB charger, so it would never have to be moved. It was also important that the camera be unobtrusive, so clients aren't intimidated by it. Ease of use and user interface is a strong priority, and GoPro had that down. It was a known player in a sea of unknown quality, so i went with it hoping it would suit our needs.

The K-01 does not. It's a huge camera, and I'd have to set that up on a dedicated tripod with a Rokinon fisheye (28mm doesn't cut it), and it's big and obtrusive and doesn't have the ability to be controlled by an iPhone.

Charles.

---------- Post added 12-20-2016 at 10:35 AM ----------

Also, I don't need 4K video. 720p is enough.

Charles.
12-20-2016, 10:49 AM   #8
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Maybe try something like the Nest Cam: Nest Cam ? Install & Explore | Nest

12-20-2016, 10:56 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
Maybe try something like the Nest Cam: Nest Cam ? Install & Explore | Nest
Yeah. If you need a set-it-and-forget-it ultra-wide-angle camera with only 720p (no interest in cropping), then I'd look into something like this. It appears to have a microphone/speaker set up that they consider good enough for recording conversations, which sounds like just what you need.
12-20-2016, 11:00 AM   #10
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While it won't solve the low-light video quality, you could try an external microphone. We have one for our GoPro(s) and it improves the sound quality considerably.
12-20-2016, 11:32 AM - 1 Like   #11
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GoPro Hero 4 Session doesn't support external microphones.

The Nest camera looks awesome, but it records continuously and everything is uploaded to the cloud. We would have to manually split the videos for the sessions we wanted to save, and that's a lot of extra work. What's more, the servers at nest are not HIPAA compliant, so that's removes it as an option entirely.

Charles.

Last edited by ChopperCharles; 12-20-2016 at 03:38 PM.
12-20-2016, 11:40 AM   #12
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Oops. Sorry. I just assumed since the other GoPros support them. Good luck.
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