No matter what anyone tries telling you, there is nothing wrong with using your iPad to record videos — especially if it means getting the right shot. The cameras in Apple’s popular tablet line have certainly come a long way. Pair them with an extra large viewfinder and you’ve discovered a creator’s paradise.
Of course, recording videos on your iPad may be useful and convenient, but that doesn’t mean the process is as simple as tapping the record button. Okay, for most people it is, but wouldn’t it be nice to stand out?
Below are five tips that I’ve picked up on over the years. They will not only help you dramatically improve the quality of your shots, but you’ll also save some time in the process.
1. Get a steady shot
Recording stabilized video on an iPad is not always easy, but it’s certainly possible. While not all iPads feature cinematic video stabilization (exclusive to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro), you can still achieve similar results if done right.
Firstly, let’s get the most obvious method out of the way. When recording videos on your iPad, you need to hold your hands as steady as you possibly can. The slightest shift in motion will be noticeable, thus risking ruining your presentation.
It’s important to keep calm and focus on getting the shot. If it helps, try propping yourself up against a wall. Doing so can dramatically cut down on the amount of camera shake that is present.
And secondly, it doesn’t hurt to look into getting a tripod. Yes, that’s correct. You can actually find a variety of tripods that are built specifically for iPad use. It may seem silly, but to serious creators, going this route could be the right choice.
After searching around on Amazon for a bit, I can recommend the following tripods, mounts and adapters : Kross 41-inch Lightweight Tripod | ChargerCity Vibration Free 360° Tripod Mount | Accmor Tripod Adapter
2. Lock the exposure and focus
A fantastic way of capturing video that appears consistent is to lock the camera’s exposure and focus. This method works wonders and is incredibly easy to pull off on the iPad, as well as most iOS devices that feature a camera.
To do this, open the default Camera app and switch to the video recording mode. Tap and hold your finger on the subject you want to record. Holding for about two seconds will display a yellow box that enlarges and flashes. This confirms that you have successfully locked your camera’s auto exposure and auto focus. You will also see “AE/AF LOCK” at the top of the screen.
Now that the exposure and focus are both locked, this means you can record a video without having to constantly adjust your camera’s settings. This is especially useful if you are looking to record a time-lapse where getting a consistent shot is important.
3. Use an external microphone
Recording quality audio can often be overlooked when creating videos on an iPad. While it may not be as exciting as visually capturing what’s in front of you, it’s still critical that you put some thought into how you plan on recording your audio.
Because iPads don’t feature a dedicated USB port, it’s easy to assume that you cannot connect microphones of any kind. This could not be further from the truth, as Apple allows all kinds of accessories for users to experiment with.
Let’s begin with the standard 3.5mm headphones jack. While this isn’t my preferred method, this jack can be used to connect a variety of adapters to work with different types of microphones. For example, this adapter from Griffin enables the use of XLR microphones, which could prove to be quite useful for a specific demographic.
And then there is Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. This is probably the best option for most iPad users. Simply plug in the adapter to your iPad, connect any microphone that uses USB, and you’re set. It’s that easy.
Finally, let’s talk about microphones that are designed specifically to make use of the Lightning port and nothing else. These are microphones that plug directly into the iPad and don’t require any kind of extra adapters or cables. And let me just say, this is the route to take.
Look no further than the Shure MV88. Having recently purchased it for myself, I can say with confidence that this is my new go-to microphone for podcasting and recording audio in general. Not only is the quality incredible, but the compatible ShurePlus MOTIV app for iOS makes the recording experience a breeze.
Once the Shure MV88 is connected, you are presented with a variety of options to customize to your liking. From adjusting mic gain to enabling wind reduction, everything you will ever need is right there. And of course, exporting your recordings is just as easy.
The Shure MV88 is currently available on Amazon for $150.
4. Record time-lapses
If you are looking to improve the overall style of your videos, then you might want to record a time-lapse or two. This can be a nice way of further engaging your audience and creating something to be proud of.
Recording a time-lapse on your iPad is easy. Open the default Camera app and scroll through the different capture modes until you see “TIME-LAPSE” in the list. Once selected, be sure to lock your camera’s exposure and focus. This ensures that the final video will remain consistent from beginning to end.
When everything is set up and ready to go, simply tap the record button. Your iPad will then begin to capture sequences of time for as long as you prefer. Assuming your iPad is okay to be left alone, this is your chance to walk away and attend to something else.
Once your iPad has had at least 10 minutes to capture its time-lapse, feel free to stop the recording and take a look at what was captured. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. And if not, then try again. Mix up your scenery and try new ideas.
5. Edit in post-production
Once you are finished recording your video, you will want to import it into your favorite video editing application. If you’re working on a Mac, I recommend using Final Cut Pro X. For iOS users, definitely check out iMovie. And finally, for any Windows uses reading this, I’ve heard good things about both Premier Pro and Vegas Pro.
Aside from the obvious splitting of clips and joining them together, your top priority for any video project should be adjusting its color grading and applying any kind of filters that work. How you go about this is completely up to you, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different looks and see what works best.
Going back to a previous tip, it’s important to not forget about audio. Some adjustments may be required, such as tinkering around with audio levels and adding noise cancellation — especially if any scenes were recorded in a noisy environment.
And finally, adding a soundtrack may help improve the style of your video. Of course, this can vary depending on what kind of video you are producing.
While these tips apply to iPad users who are looking to create better videos, they can certainly help iPhone users as well. That’s one of the many reasons why I enjoy Apple products so much. The creative experience is typically the same across the board.