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Entries in CES (2)

How the iPad 2 was used for professional level video coverage of CES 2012

Shortly after we discussed the possibility of the next iPad getting a significant boost in camera quality, Ricky Cadden got in contact to tell us about an exciting project that he and his team recently completed.

Ricky Cadden is a mobile technology expert and currently manages RadioShack’s presence on various social media outlets. Knowing Ricky as we do, we were not too surprised to find out that he had made the decision to capture video coverage of CES 2012 using the iPad 2, aided by the Movie Mount from Makayama, iRig Mic from IK Multimedia and various other accessories. It's not that Ricky's default position is reaching for Apple kit, far from it in fact, but rather that Ricky is quick to spot advantages in using new mobile technology.

So what advantages did shooting footage with the iPad 2 bring? Ricky states:

"...we used the Apple iPad 2 to shoot every second of our videos. That’s right, the iPad 2. Of course, we also had some additional gadgets helping out, including a unique sound setup that allowed us to use a total of 3 different microphones and a custom-made tripod mount for our iPads from Makayama.

Aside from some post-production that included adding graphics and soundtrack, the footage you saw in all of our CES coverage is pretty much exactly as it came through the iPad 2. The iPhone 4S’s 1080p video capture might have been slightly better, but the iPad 2 allowed us a larger display on which to preview footage and line up the shot on the show floor.

The results, as I’m sure you’ll agree, were impressive. All of our videos were posted in full 720p, and the sound turned out great, considering there were 150,000+ people milling around us and booths blasting their own sounds. The iPad 2 had plenty of storage and the connectivity options to upload straight from the floor – in many cases, we had the final cut of one video before we even finished shooting the next."

Ricky mentions that their iPad 2 rig caused quite a stir, with attendees often taking photos of their rig rather than the exhibit that the iPad 2 was filming! It seems that Ricky and his team were the only ones using the iPad 2 to provide professional level video coverage. That surprises us a little as the iPad 2's extended depth of field camera, large display and capacious battery life, combined with iMovie and the obvious connectivity advantages, make it a great choice for covering just such an event.

We watched some of the CES footage a few days before we were informed that it had been shot with an iPad 2, and as a testament to the quality of the footage, we didn't notice anything unusual about it. It's not the highest quality footage by any means, but it certainly seems good enough for 90% of the shots.

You can watch all the RadioShack CES footage here. Ricky has also posted his thoughts on the experience on his own personal blog.

If you want to dip your toes in the iPad video production waters, we can wholeheartedly recommend that you pick up a copy of the free video capture app that Makayama provide for use with the Movie Mount, it offers a level of control that is not present in the default camera app. iMovie is an essential purchase too. You might remember that we considered the Handstand iPad 2 case to be a pretty good substitute for a full-on rig in these situations.

App Store Link: Movie Mount and iMovie

iPad Case That Thinks It's A Guitar

As expected, the iPad is featuring heavily at CES, or rather, accessories for the iPad are popping up everywhere. SlashGear and Engadget both reported this morning on the soon-to-be-released Guitar Apprentice from ION Audio (the people that brought us the iCade and Piano Apprentice for iPad).

The idea is that keys on the $99 fretboard light up, teaching you how to play guitar and perhaps also enabling guitar games. The potential is there for this accessory to be used by iPad musicians with CoreMIDI compatible apps to play an iPad synth app for example in an iBand.

We think it is a fun and creative idea for those who already have an iPad, but if you are really looking to learn guitar, we think you should get a starter electric or acoustic guitar and, if you have an iPad, get the brilliant WildChords app by Ovelin. You'll do a much better job of learning to play real guitar that way.