Creating iPad & Tablet Videos

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I recently made the switch and am conducting my filming and video production exclusively on my iPad. Part of my motivation for this shift was out of necessity; I am currently working on a pro bono education development project for an NGO in India and didn’t bring my laptop along with me, which has forced me to maximize the functionality of my tablet. I am currently working on several video projects for the NGO, and throughout this process I have uncovered several key elements I wanted to share.

There are a few reasons that now make tablet-exclusive video production possible:

Frame Rate Improvements
With recent tablet releases, such as the iPad Air, the film frame rate is comparable to many point-and-shoot video camera devices. Several years ago shooting on tablets and phones meant significantly reduced video quality. The differences are now negligible, especially if your goal is to upload the video for online streaming (where you want to strike a balance between good quality with a file size that isn’t too large).

Video App Capabilities
In the last few years a number of companies have produced video editing & production apps with enough features that allow you to edit clips
and create videos directly on the tablet.

Several Video Editing & Production Apps I recommend are:
iMovie for iPad
Videon
Reel Director

Benefits of producing videos exclusively on the tablet include:

Eliminates Video File Transfer
When shooting directly on the iPad you avoid the video file transfer process, saving a significant amount of time. The video files are already on the tablet and can be imported straight into the video editing app.

Video Playback & Review
During video filming sessions, using the iPad allows you to be able to instantly replay your video on a larger screen (to check shot layout, sound quality, etc), rather than having to review the footage on a very small camera LCD screen and tiny speaker.

One and Done
No one can argue with the drawbacks of carting around a laptop, camera, phone and a tablet. For me, traveling in a developing country with all of these expensive devices is a liability. I now need just my iPad and I can create a video project start to finish. One (device) and done.

Apps = User-Friendly
Oftentimes the full computer version of video editing software is overkill. There are way more features available than one needs to create a good video, so it can be overwhelming to wade through all the elements to learn and use the program effectively. By nature, tablet apps have limited functionality, featuring the most essential components, which is usually all you need to edit and produce a video.

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There are obviously a few drawbacks moving exclusively to producing video content on the iPad or tablet, so in some cases I still recommend filming clips on a camera.
Several drawbacks include:

Limited Editing Functionality
The video production apps for tablets have limited functionality, so detailed editing is still best on the computer with a full video editing program. Yet my recommendations in the past have been to gear towards keeping your filming sections short (~30 seconds each) and “edit as you film” so that you don’t have much editing to do once you transfer the video clips into the computer video editing software program.

Finite Storage Space
Most tablets have 16/32/64 GB memory, which isn’t very much space when you start working with video. Both the video clips themselves and the video app project files can become large quite quickly.
As soon as you’re finished with a project I recommend loading the video to the video streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) for external viewing, and also loading a copy to iCloud or Dropbox as a back-up for your records. Then promptly delete the files from your device to create more free space. *Remember to save and then delete both the video project file from the video editing app as well as the final video file you most likely saved in your camera/video roll.

An important note: In all of my presentations on video creation I stress the importance of using a tripod. We have all tried watching too many shaky handheld videos that force us to abort due to motion sickness.
Shooting video on a tablet is no exception.
I always travel with my tripod, and have a mount built for tablets and phones that connect right into the existing tripod unit. This is an essential $4 item that is key for successful (and steady) video projects.
It is still a speciality item so I have found it difficult to purchase off the shelf in-store, but there are a variety of options available through online retailers. You can search for “iPad/tablet tripod mount.”
This is the mount I use and recommend:

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I’ll be sharing some of the video projects I create in the coming months and I welcome your comments and feedback on how this process goes for you.

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