The iPad as a Video Studio

The past two years, I’ve helped one of my friends, who is a principal at an area high school, to make a short welcome video for his school’s webpage.

Although I could have used the iPad to create the entire video (filming, editing, and export), the gear I brought along could fit into a very small bag:

  • iPhone 4
  • Apple iPad Camera Kit (USB adapter)
  • Stock iPad/iPhone charging cable
  • Tripod (ultra-compact)
  • Glif (to hold iPhone 4)
  • iPad

One of the problems we’ve had the past two years is how to hold the cue cards (printed sheets, actually) while we’re filming.  I had an idea this year, and looked up “teleprompter” on the spot.  There are a number of teleprompter apps for the iPad, and most of the them are paid apps.  i-Prompt Pro was a free app, so I downloaded and used it for the video…it worked great!

After filming a good take, I connected the iPhone 4 to the iPad using the iPad Camera Kit USB Adapter, and imported the “good take” from the iPhone to the iPad.  Then I opened iMovie, performed a couple of short edits, added some pictures that I had placed on my camera roll to use in the video, and added some text.  Less than ten minutes later, the video was done.  iMovie on the iPad doesn’t have the options of iMovie for the Mac or Final Cut Pro–but for most consumers, iMovie on the iPad has just enough options.  I did use iMovie’s help file to quickly find answers to problems, such as how to add a split in a video clip.

The biggest challenge was getting the video off the iPad and to the school.  You can export a movie to the camera roll or a number of online video services–but you can’t export to Dropbox.  When I came home, I saved the edited movie to the camera roll, plugged the iPad into my MacBook, opened photos, and imported the movie in iPhoto (Videos and the iPad have a strange relationship based around iPhoto, as evidenced in this interaction with iMovie and my previous interaction with placing videos into Keynote for the iPad). From iPhoto, I could drag the file to the desktop.  Just in case, I used QuickTime Pro to convert the video from its native .mov format to .avi, so the school could use the video any way they wanted to.  I couldn’t e-mail the movie from the camera roll on the iPad because the video was too large (Although it was less than two minutes long, edited).  I used the public folder of Dropbox to store the files until they get chance to download the videos and then upload them to the service of their choice (I think they use SchoolTube, which is NOT HTML 5 friendly).

The longest parts of this process were the actual filming of the video, and uploading the files to Dropbox.  With so much portable video editing capability, just imagine the creative tasks your students could undertake with iMovie and the iPad.

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