Making videos with the iPad

Each spring the National Association of Broadcasters holds their annual meeting and trade show in Las Vegas NV. This year almost 100,000 people attended the show in the 10 days that it ran. Because my husband is on one of the NAB technical committees, we attend the show every few years.
It was a great week! Broadcast personalities, producers, editors, cameramen and product vendors spend the week learning and sharing the latest tools of their crafts.
I attended the 2010 conference. Going back after a two year absence was amazing. In 2010 convention goers and vendors were talking about digital recording but the show floor still contained lots of big broadcast rigs. There were a few DSLR cameras with video capabilities being shown. However, the rigs for steadying these cameras had yet to be invented.
This setup caught my eye this year. I was a shoulder mount with places to anchor mice and lights. I was not as impressed with the bar that extended beyond the wearer’s shoulder. It looked to be a great way to snare bystanders!

The most frequently used video rigs in 2010 cost up to $100,000. They were huge, heavy and required weighty batteries. Many cameramen were using external charging devices which further hampered their mobility. The camera in this photo is about half the size of a 2010 broadcast rig and costs 1/5 of their price.

The exciting equipment of the 2010 NAB was the RED camera. The camera was still in the prototype stage, but there were many sessions devoted to it. These were still going to be expensive, but they would be capable of producing very high quality images with a camera one quarter the size of the typical broadcast camera. This is a photo of a RED in use at the 2013 NAB show.


While some daring cameramen were using prosumer cameras that could easily be carried, the pros were still dubious. In 2010 I don’t think I saw anyone acting as their own cameraman while recording an interview. This sight was quite common at this years show.


This year, not only had the equipment being used to produce interviews changed, the show floor contained a surprising amount of equipment for iPads and even iPhones. There were lights, lens and adapters, sound rigs and software solutions. Several companies were showing rigs to turn the iPad (or iPhone) into a virtual video camera.
This rig is
iOgrapher mini. It has been funded through a Kickstarter campaign and is about to go into production. It is a molded plastic frame that holds an iPad mini. There are places to attach a light, a microphone and even a lens adapter and a place to attach it to a tripod or monopod. It also has handles. The cost will be about $60.00. Since they received such a good response at NAB, they are working on models for the iPad and iPhone.

Another rig is called The Padcaster. It is an aluminum frame with numerous 1/4 and 3/8 threaded holes around the edges. These can be used to attach external microphones, lights and other camera accessories. It can be attached to a tripod or monopod and there is an adapter that can be attached to accommodate 72mm and 58mm lens mounts. A flexible urethane insert pops into the frame. The insert can securely hold the iPad 2, 3 or 4. I asked Josh Apter, the device’s maker what would happen if the iPad 5 wouldn’t fit in the Padcaster. He assured me they would then make a new urethane insert and sell it as an upgrade.

Another use for the Padcaster is to remove the insert and attach a DSLR camera. My Nikon D3100 will shoot video and I am faced with the problem of adding a mic for good sound pickup, so this is very interesting.
Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 4.12.48 PM
Although they could not sell the Padcaster at NAB, they were taking orders for shipment in a few days. Since I have a full-size iPad, it appealed to me and I ordered one. It has arrived and I am planning to do some experimenting soon!
-- Pat