This post is part of the series: HDSLR Videographer’s Virtual Gear Bag.
Blue FiRe (free) by Blue Microphones is a field recorder app. You may not know this, but the iPhone is a very capable audio recorder. I’ve not performed any scientific testing to compare it to a dedicated field recorder like the Zoom HN4, but I have recorded very good voice audio and decent single instrument audio with the iPhone. I use two apps for this, depending on the situation, but Blue FiRe is definitely my favorite of the two. More after the break.
If you are going to use the iPhone for field recording, I suggest you check out my monitoring rig. This rig enables me to attach both an XLR mic and separate headphones to the iPhone’s single 1/8″ jack, so that I can monitor as I record. Spiffy!
Alternately, if you are fine with using the iPhone’s built-in microphone, you can plug in a standard set of headphones (without a mic) so that you can monitor while recording.
Using Blue FiRe is incredibly easy.
The initial screen is a listing of your recording sessions. If you select one of the rows, you can play it back. If you hit the blue arrow, you get access to one of the best things about this app: the ability to append to a previous recording sessions. Pressing the “+” button allows you to add a new recording session.
Another nice feature is the built-in web server for offloading your recordings. You access this by pressing the globe button on the main screen.
Here’s what it looks like in a browser. You can download in either AIFF, WAVE or CAF formats.
The capture screen (transport) is straightforward. You have a time readout, a level meter, a waveform window, and record/play buttons. One thing you may not have noticed, is that you can add markers as you record. You do this by simply tapping on the (moveable) reticule on the waveform view. It will add a green vertical line at the point you marked.
Pressing the “Markers” button brings up a listing of all your markers. If you press the little grey arrow, you get a screen where you can name the marker. Additionally you’ll be able to jump directly to that marker point for playback.
Another great feature is the ability to adjust the gain while recording. I know, I know, you ought to do a level check before-hand and get this setup before rolling. But, sometimes conditions change and you need to be able to react without stopping the recording session. You access this by selecting the little white knob at the top-right of the capture screen. You’ll be presented with a level slider that temporarily overlays the record/play buttons.
The app also has a robust settings panel as well as the ability to connect to an FTP server.
If you haven’t tried Blue Fire, I urge you to do so. Make a few test recordings – get real familiar with it. You never know when your primary sound capture device my get damaged. With Blue FiRe, you’ll have a backup plan.