The amount of content created on the iPad is about to go through the roof. The inclusion of a 720p HD video camera has us drooling. We have spent the last few hours looking at example videos (some of which we have included here) to see what we can expect from the iPad 2 when it makes its way to the UK on the 24th.
It would seem that the iPad 2's HD camera is broadly similar in specification and quality to the latest iPod touch camera. If you intend to use your new iPad 2 to capture some decent video you'll do well to consider the following 10 tips.
1) The camera unit is not capable of auto-focus. It does have a rather large focal range, but be careful when shooting close-up shots. It appears that 25 to 35cm is the distance at which things start to get blurry.
2) It may not have touch focus controls, but it does have touch exposure controls, use these wisely. Making sure that you have captured a full dynamic range should be quite straightforward when shooting video with a monitor that large and touch exposure controls.
3) Like many rolling shutter based video cameras the iPad 2 suffers from considerable motion distortion. Try to keep iPad movement to a minimum and when panning remember to pan slowly. It's also worth noting that iMovie for the Mac has a powerful filter for reducing motion distortion. We would love to see this feature in the iOS version of iMovie. How about it Apple?
4) If you have to capture video content in a low light situation look for ways to bring some extra light to the scene. Unlike the iPhone 4, the iPad 2 has no LED video light. Expect a big increase of image noise and motion trails as the available light is reduced.
5) Use the bulk of the iPad to your advantage. Hold the iPad with both hands and push your elbows into your abdomen for extra stability when shooting video. Your iPad 2 footage should be considerable less shaky than anything shot on the iPhone, or any other smartphone for that matter.
6) The iPad 2 camera takes quite a while to adjust to a new scene with different light levels. Give the iPad time to readjust before you begin your shot. Don't move from one lighting situation to another in one continuous shot unless you have no other option.
7) Be mindful of the position of the microphone. We have already watched quite a few iPad 2 clips with poor sound quality precisely because the microphone is being covered by the owners hand.
8) Shoot and edit on the fly. With that capacious battery life, large screen and iMovie app, why not shoot and edit in near realtime? That way you'll get a feel for how your production is flowing whilst still having time to shoot extra footage as required.
9) Make use of the front facing camera. Though clearly not as good as the HD rear facing camera, the front camera is nicely colour balanced and is certainly good enough for the occasional commentary or reaction shot.
10) Mix and match. Both the iPhone 4, iPod touch and now iPad 2 produce very similar video footage, meaning that you can easily combined footage from all three devices without the viewer noticing. If you like the quality of the iPad footage but find it too big as a general purpose video camera why not consider an iPod touch as a companion device.
We can't wait to start playing with video capture on the iPad 2, as we have already mentioned we can think of plenty of uses for a fully combined HD video capture and editing device like the iPad 2. If you have some video capture tips, please feel free to leave let us know in a comment below.
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