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Entries in iPad 2 (44)

iPad 2 + GarageBand + Talent = Amazing

The new GarageBand for iPad is an amazing app and we feel it is not overstating to call it a real 'portable studio'. This is evidenced in the video below by the very talented Jhameel. He has recorded one of his own original songs 'Cafe Du Monde' entirely on GarageBand within a few hours of getting his iPad 2.

We think it is impressive both for the short time it took Jhameel to turn this song and video around and the musical talent he demonstrates in using GarageBand. It illustrates perfectly what can be done with a $5 app in the right hands.

If you like Jhameel's music you can download his new album The Human Condition from his site on a donation basis and his debut album is still available for purchase on iTunes.

Ars Technia iPad 2 Review

Ars Technica is quite possibly the most respected technology website there is. Their exhaustive review of the iPad 2 is a must read for anyone who is technically minded, and for those that have yet to hold an iPad 2 for themselves. Here's a small sample to give you a flavour of the level of detail that Ars always bring to their hardware reviews.

As we saw in the previous benchmarks, the iPad 2 has a significant increase in floating point performance vs. its predecessor. This was really pounded home by the LINPACK tests which showed the iPad 2 besting its predecessor with a 292% (~3x) improvement. We ran this rest on the Motorola Xoom running Android 3.0 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab running 2.2. The iPad 2 shows a surprising 336% improvement over the Motorola Xoom on its NIVIDIA Tegra 2 platform and a 724% increase over the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s 1GHz “Hummingbird ARM” processor.

This substantial speed increase is wonderful news for iPad artists and musicians. It should lead to more fluid simulation of real instruments and physical media.

It's well worth reading all 7 pages.

How to take better photos with your iPad 2

Despite having relatively capable HD video capture, the iPad 2 is a very poor stills camera. At just 960 x 720 pixels it's poor enough to ignore. A much better option for iPad 2 owners looking to get a good quality image from the device is to invest in a copy of VideoPix. VideoPix is a simple application that pulls individual frames from a standard iPad video source. We reviewed VideoPix some time ago and found it to be most capable. In fact, we recently used an iPhone 4 video grab (grabbed using VideoPix on an iPad 1) as part of a professional print design to great success, such is the quality of Apple's H.264 based frame compression.

There are two advantages in using VideoPix over the default photo option

1) You can to pick the best frame from possibly hundreds of candidates, meaning that you no longer have to worry about capturing the perfect moment. Simply shoot a small segment of video and pick the best frame later.

2) The VideoPix frame grab contains more raw information than Apple's default still photo option. A default still image is 960 x 720 pixels (see image above) but a single frame from the standard video capture is 1280 x 720 pixels. More pixels gives you more flexibility.

We are not suggesting that VideoPix will give the iPhone 4 a run for its money, or any other dedicated camera for that matter, but it's probably the best option for iPad 2 owners looking to capture the best stills that they can with Apple's newest tablet computer.

App Store Link: VideoPix

First Ever Music Video Shot on iPad 2

Within just 24 hours of its launch the first ever Music Video shot entirely on an iPad 2 (actually 4 of them) had been released, and we've been in contact with the Artist and Video Producers to get the inside track on this unique video.

Remedy Films created the video for NEED a song by independent artist Eddy from her EP Start An Uproar [iTunes store link]. Remedy Films and Eddy have worked together before on videos for several of Eddy's songs using DSLRs for video recording.

You can watch the video below, but first a few words from Chase Andrews at Remedy Films about the video shoot, using the iPad 2 to shoot and edit professional video and a few photos courtesy of Eddy herself. 

iPad Creative (iPC): Why did you decide to use the iPad 2?

Remedy Films (RF)We always try to do fun and creative things using the newest tools in different ways. We were at another music video premier for a video we had just finished the week before. We were just talking about how awesome the new iPad was looking... I mentioned that it would be funny to film another music video with Eddy using only the iPad 2. Eddy left that night then called me later and said that they wanted to go ahead and do it. 

iPC: How did you plan the shoot having never seen or used the iPad 2 beforehand?

RF: Since we couldn't get our hands on one early, we just assumed the video would be similar to the iPhone 4's video. We did some practice shots using the iPhone and some test edits in iMovie on the iPhone.

iPC: We there any issues with the cameras on the iPads or using the devices as your production cameras?

RF: There weren't any issues while using the iPads. I was super impressed with the battery. Shooting video is probably one of the things that would use up the battery but it lasted the whole time on one charge right out of the box. We actually had 50-60% battery left on each iPad after filming for a few hours. 

I knew it wasn't designed as a professional video camera in the slightest, so we would be stuck with whatever results we got. We probably shouldn't have filmed in a dark setting, but it actually worked well in a "party" environment, plus it fit the song perfectly! We still treated the cameras as "professional cameras." we had one mounted to a steadicam rig, one was on a Kessler Crane Cineslider, and the other one was on a DIY hand held rig. The fourth iPad was held by Eddy for a few shots of her singing and dancing.

iPC: Was any of the video edited on the iPads?

RF: We started the edit on the iPad. We synced all the iPads to a Mac Pro, then organized the videos into one folder and then synced that folder back to one iPad so we had all the footage on one iPad. Remedy films had two editors going, one on the mac pro and FCP, and the other, myself, on the iPad 2.

I was able to get the into done on the iPad, but once it came to syncing the vocals up to the song it became very hard to be so precise and creative. We wanted to be quick with this edit so we ended up bailing on the iPad iMovie edit. If we had a longer turn around time it could have been done. It wasn't bad for a 5$ video editing app though. So in the long run we ended up only editing in FCP. 

iPC: Is there anything else about this project that you would like to comment on?

RF: After being in line for 8 hours, buying 3 iPads, filming for 5 hours, and editing for 12 hours, we were exhausted. Looking back at the whole project, I am very glad that we did it. It was a great experience, and fun doing something first, that was history making. Thanks goes out to everyone who made this happen and helped along the way.

Thank you to Chase Andrews - President of Remedy Films for letting us know more about this landmark video and to Eddy for supplying all the images in this post. Congratulations to you both on a really fun video which we think captures the feeling of the song really well.

It is certainly an impressive demonstration of the iPad 2's new video capabilities using a creative approach.

Finally, here is the end result, Remedy Films' video for Eddy's song NEED and if, like us, you like the song you can download a free copy directly from Eddy's website:

 

10 top tips for shooting iPad 2 video

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.

Friday Fun: Steve Jobs iPad 2 Song

In honour of all our US friends who will be picking up an iPad 2 today, this one's for you!

The Magnetic Attraction of the iPad 2 Smart Cover

Ahead of tomorrow's iPad 2 official launch we take a quick look at one of the most touted innovations from the Announcement, Apple's Smart Cover, plus we note some of our observations and concerns about it.

You've seen Apple's new Smart Cover and you're thinking to yourself, "Yeah that's cool, but it is a lot of money for a few magnets and a bit of plastic, even if it is the stuff they make space suits out of." [or more expensive leather]. To be honest, it is a lot of money. We think that $10-$15 could reasonably be knocked off of each version of Smart Cover and they would sell a lot more of them, although maybe with marginal profit.

Ipad2 smartcoverflowBut we found it interesting that Apple seems to be going to great lengths to ensure you don't cover up the back of your iPad 2. Surely this is why we love our Apple products isn't it? They appeal to our aesthetic senses? Here's what occurred to us after the Smart Cover announcement:

  • Apple did what no-one else was able to do with iPad 2, they changed the internal structure by adding perfectly placed magnets. Despite this iPad 2 is lighter and thinner than its predecessor.
  • Apple really want their customers to benefit from the aesthetics of their devices, whether this is about their love of their design as seen in the final product or showing off their logo, we don't know.
  • Their attention to detail in design goes as far as how the Smart Cover sounds when it is being attached, watch the video again and turn the sound up, notice how much emphasis is put on the VW-door-style clunk as the hinge attaches and the cover is laid down. What does that solid VW clunk indicate to the customer? Quality!

  • As innovative as the cover is, the roll-up stand design is strikingly similar to the Incase Convertible Magazine Jacket. The difference, of course, is that the Incase original iPad design needs and uses an external case, covering the back of the iPad.
  • We are curious to know how strong the magnetic attraction is on the far right edge, i.e. if you turn the iPad 2 face down and give it a shake, does it flap open? And if it is in your bag as it is, will it be easy to inadvertently lift the Smart Cover, turning the iPad screen on (this being one of the touted features)?

We really want to see one of these in the flesh before deciding on a purchase, but being in the UK, we won't be able to do this for a few weeks yet.

So, if you are in the US and are planning to get a Smart Cover with your iPad 2, be sure to let us know. We would also like to hear what you think of the Smart Cover whether you intend to buy or not, good or bad, just leave your comment below.

The Gadget Show's Jon Bentley gets hands-on with the iPad 2

We are big fans of Channel 5's The Gadget Show. Every Monday night Jason, Suzi, Jon, Ortis and Pollyanna have entertained gadget fans across the UK. Jason and the team are a friendly bunch, they'll often converse with their viewers and fellow technology fans on Twitter. Jason recently tweeted some very kind words about iPad Creative.

As a complement to the weekly TV show, the team run a nice website. They have recently updated the site with a hands-on iPad 2 video from Jon Bentley. It's defiantly well worth a look. We look forward to the full review on the show sometime in March.

iPad 2 and Video Makers

With the announcement yesterday of the two cameras on iPad 2 all sorts of creative possibilities have opened up for iPad users. From the obvious ones like FaceTime and messing around with Photo Booth, to guerilla film makers using the HD video recording and iMovie app to create on the spot films, documentaries and short pieces that are published 'from the field' directly to YouTube, Vimeo, etc. It is the latter that has us most excited.

The Back Story

It might take a while for you (and others observing you) to get used to waving around what is essentially a big screen with a camera on the back when shooting video, but many video producers currently use a screen around the size of the iPad to monitor video feeds 'in the field', they are usually not attached to the camera though.

Instead of screwing up one eye and looking through an EVF type viewfinder or an iPhone sized video monitor (perhaps even smaller) on many cameras, iPad 2 gives you both a decent sized monitor and HD capture in one device.

Now consider the addition of iMovie on your iPad 2 with its precision editing, 3 track audio displaying waveforms, audio fades, effects, titling and other controls previously only found in the desktop version. This one device now becomes a serviceable editing suite complete with onboard video rendering and export to multiple destinations.

No (traditional) computer involved, it is a mobile Video Studio, that is thinner than an iPhone and it only cost you the iPad you were going to buy anyway (let's face it) plus another $4.99!

Scene One - Video Podcasting

Let's pretend for a minute that someone like the makers of OWLE have produced an iPad sized device to stablise it when used to shoot video and mount an external mic. You are attending a trade show and you want to shoot as much video as possible, edit it and upload it to your Podcast Feed / YouTube / Vimeo asap to get the news out there to your readers (or perhaps we should say viewers).

This has been possible for a while with the iPhone, especially iPhone 4 with its HD video recording. But to be honest, depsite some stellar programming from Apple engineers, it is still difficult to see the detail clearly and editing in iMovie on the iPhone is decidedly fiddly when you are in a hurry.

Imagine the 9.7" screen of iPad 2 filled with your video image, using it as one of the larger monitors available for a portable video recorder to see the detail when shooting. Editing becomes a joy with all the extra screen space, dual core processor plus '9x' Graphics processing power chomping through your effects, transitions and theme rendering in no time.

You could probably do most of your editing on the way back to your hotel, set the movie(s) rendering and exporting in the background, ready to upload your mini-masterpiece as soon as you unlock your hotel room door. Truly portable video making, for the price of an iPad and a $4.99 app.

That's why we are excited about iPad 2, and this is only one example.

Over to You

We have other ideas in mind, but we are sure you can do much better, so what do you think? Have you got any other ways the iPad 2 will impact Video Makers (amateur or professional)? How do you think the new video capabilities could be used creatively? Let us know in the comments.

Apple's iPad 2 Keynote Video

Just in case you missed it and are wondering what all the fuss is about, Apple have kindly posted the whole of the iPad 2 Keynote for you to watch/re-watch. Make sure you look out for the FaceTime, iMovie and amazing GarageBand demos. We can't wait to get our hands on these. Enjoy!