How I Record Programming Talks

I usually record the talks at the Portland Ruby Brigade's monthly meetings. In part this is because it feels like a shame to have the knowledge contained in the talks not be available to the wider world. But also it's because it's just not that much work to make the recordings and get them up on Youtube (it usually takes me about an hour and a half per meeting).

So far I've been happy with how this has turned out. For very little work on my part (and with some help from others), our YouTube channel now has 70 videos, 69 subscribers, and ~4,800 views. Considering that we typically get 70-80 attendees at each meeting, this has greatly expanded the reach of our merry little band of Ruby programmers.

In this post I'm going to run through the gear and software I use to make these recordings.


I use an iPhone 6+. Any recent model will do, though. I recommend having at least 10gb of free space on whatever iPhone you use. If you plan on using your personal phone, this will probably mean having at least a 32gb model.


Any cheap tripod will do. I'm using an Amazon Basics 60" Lightweight Tripod w/ Bag ($24).

iPhone Tripod Mount

There are a bazillion iPhone tripod mounts out there. I'm using the Glif Adjustable Tripod Mount for Smartphones ($30). It works well enough, but there are probably better and/or less expensive options.

Wireless Microphone

You can spend a lot of money on microphones. And it can be tempting to do so, since having a wireless lavalier microphone is critical to capturing high-quality audio of the speaker. But, as far as I can tell, the "pro" options all cost at least $600, which is way outside of my price range.

Thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Chuck Lauer Vose, I learned that there is a segment of the microphone market that is oriented toward teachers, instead of audio/video professionals. And since teachers and schools are not typically flush with cash, these options tend to be much more affordable. The wireless microphone that I settled on is the Movo WMIC50 2.4GHz Wireless Lavalier Microphone System ($115).

Technically speaking, there is a tiny bit of lag with this microphone. In practice, though, you can't tell unless you're looking for it. They operate on AAA batteries and there is essentially zero setup; they just work.

Microphone Mount

You'll need a way to mount the wireless mic receiver to your tripod, since it needs to plug into your phone and, thus, be near it. I'm using a generic clip on mount ($10). I actually don't know what the trade name is for these things, but they're essentially a clip with a 1/4" threaded mount where you can screw on the mic receiver (or other gear, from what I gather).

Microphone Adapter

I have no idea why, but the output from battery powered microphones, including the one I linked to above, is not compatible with the iPhone's microphone jack. So, you'll need an adapter, like this one from kVconnection ($25) that I found after Googling about this for a while. You can probably find this elsewhere, but I just cargo-culted this product from somebody else's blog post and it works, which is far enough down the rabbit hole for my tastes.

Batteries & Power

You'll need AAA batteries for the wireless microphone system. I like Sanyo's Eneloop rechargeables. Here's an 8-pack of AAA Eneloops ($16) and the Eneloop charger ($21).

You'll also want to bring an extension cord, power strip, and the power adapter for your phone. Just trust me on this. Your mic batteries will run out. Your phone battery will run out. It's better to just be prepared for this eventuality.

Telephoto Lens (if you need it)

I'm lucky enough to be able to set my phone & tripod up nice and close to the speakers at the Portland Ruby Brigade monthly meetings, but distance to the speaker is largely dictated by the venue. You may run into a situation where you need some sort of optical zoom (you don't want to use digital zoom). There are a bunch of iPhone compatible telephoto lenses. I bought the Olloclip Telephoto Lens ($100), but can't recommend it, per se, since I haven't actually needed to use it.


I originally used the built-in camera app on the iPhone, but videos made with that app get automatically synced to Apple's photo cloud service if you have syncing turned on (I do), and that syncing process takes forever and destroys my home Internet connection while it's happening. So I recently switched to using Apple's iMovie app ($5). This keeps the videos from being synced to the cloud and provides some useful editing options (and, for videos under a certain length, you can upload directly to YouTube from within the app). My videos are usually too large to upload directly to YouTube, though, so I Airdrop the finished videos to my Mac, then upload to YouTube from there.