Very insightful article from Wired Magazine. Makes me want to get a new iPad (or is it just a poor excuse to upgrade?)
While we still don’t condone using your iPad to record video at concerts, we do think the tablet is, in general, a great tool for shooting, editing, and sharing videos. The larger screens, the plethora of apps, and the built-in cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity make iPads ideal for seasoned videographers and newbies alike. But ultimately, tapping into the tablet’s true video-shooting potential means using the right combination of tricks, apps, and hardware.
First, there are a couple of tools built into the iOS camera app you should know: auto exposure and auto focus. If you want to focus on something, just tap onscreen in the camera app, and it’ll focus there. If you want to lock in that focus, tap and hold, and the AEAF lock notification will appear at the top of the screen. The latter is particularly useful if you’re recording an interview, and you want your subject in focus for the entirety of a video. This can also add depth of field to a shot.
As for sharing video, you can always upload to YouTube or Vimeo, but if other iOS users are nearby, Airdrop is really convenient to use. If you’ve got a couple folks shooting video at the same event, you can even all Airdrop your videos to a single person, who can then compile your various shots into a single movie.
Now for some apps. If you constantly find yourself accidentally shooting in portrait mode (nooo!) use the Horizon app ($2) to automatically correct that. The app crops what the camera actually sees so that no matter which way you hold the tablet, it’s shooting in landscape. It offers some filters if, say, you want to bump up the saturation, and has added image stabilization features, which are useful if you’ve got extra shaky hands.
Want to try your hand at video editing, but feel intimidated by more robust apps? Spark Camera ($2) is a great option. This app has a unique, intuitive, visual interface and records videos up to 45 seconds long. Like Vine or Instagram video, you tap and hold to record a clip. Each separate clip you record is represented by a different colored arc in a circular status bar. You can edit your videos by rearranging the order of clips, trimming their length, muting sound, inserting music, and of course, adding filters.
Filmic Pro ($5) is another app that helps give your videos a more professional look. It lets you split the exposure and focus point so you can track a subject as it moves across a wide field of view with your finger (rather than needing to move the entire iPad). It also gives you pro-level tools like audio meters, aspect ratio overlays, and 30 different options for recording frame rate.
For more in depth video editing, iMovie ($5) is a good option. You can create more advanced film elements, like split screens or picture-in-picture, to show multiple angles of the same shot (useful if you’re doing an instructional, how-to-type video). Within those shots, you can zoom in to focus on a particular aspect of the video. You can also make a shot slow-mo or fast motion. iMovie comes with some fool-proof tools for making a well-rounded video, including eight movie themes and 14 movie trailer templates.
The quickest way to upgrade the quality of your videos is to use a good lens. So if you want to get a bit more serious about this craft, you can add hardware to your setup. Schneider Optics offers professional-grade lenses for your iDevice (namely, iPhones and the iPad mini). Lenses range from $40 for a macro lens model to $100 for a 2x telephoto lens.
A video rig like The Padcaster will give you a more stable way to shoot video. For $150 to $160 (depending on your iPad or tablet model), you get everything you need to easily affix lenses, lights, stands, or a tripod to your slate. And there are a variety of tripod mounts out there to choose from, including these options from iShot designed for the iPad Air.
And of course, if you do find yourself shooting video at a concert or large public gathering with your iPad, at least turn the brightness down low so the screen is less of a distraction to those behind you.