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Are you aware of any tiny USB-stick sized audio recorders? I'm considering that given a few of these might be very handy for miking people up for video recording without all the fuss of wireless lavaliers and a real recording device.

In other words, I wonder if there are some (even cheap consumer-grade) audio “memo” recorders or an MP3 “player” with a recording function that each person in the scene could affix to their clothing close to the mouth and get decent audio.

Then just “sync” the various audio recordings with video by aligning a “clap” in the NLE.

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At consumer grade, the audio is going to be next to worthless. The smallest thing I can think of that would get reasonable audio (without going with something like a lav mic to a larger recorder) would be something like one of Zoom's smaller recorders, but they are still a fair bit larger than even large thumb drive size.

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The Sansa Clip+ might work well for your situation.

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It has a voice recorder with surprisingly great quality for such an inexpensive ($35), tiny (1.36 × 2.16 × .60 in), and lightweight (.85 oz = 32 g) device. I have used it to record a person speaking from across the room and found it quite adequate. The microphone is very sensitive and not adjustable, so you will need to be careful to avoid clipping.

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If we're doing recommendations, the RODE GO 2 wireless (recording) mic system is very good. Quite unobtrusive and works with lavaliers if required.

https://rode.com/en/microphones/wireless/wirelessgoii

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You may be surprised to hear this, but I have had very good results using the audio record function of an iPhone and the microphone built in to the earbuds. Admittedly this was a one-person interview, but this works really well for me. I can point you to Youtube videos that show the results.

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  • Sony TX660 Digital Voice Recorder might fit the bill (albeit it is quite expensive).

  • You can still find on Ebay much cheaper old models of Sony Walkman (from Sony Walkman NWZ B103 to Sony Walkman NWZ B173) could record audio at a very decent quality, were simply used as a thumbdrive to access the audio files, and could have been used for that. Unfortunately, since the "Upgrade" of Sony Walkman NWZ B183 (until at least Sony Walkman NWZ E005F), it does not support recording audio anymore.

  • But I think that you could use any cheap spy recording devices for the purpose you describe?

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