I am willing to make an educational guidance video. And since I want to make it using an iPad, what things should I keep in mind?

And which specific camera app will be better over the inbuilt camera app? With that how could I improve audio quality of my video?


4 Answers 4


Trade in the iPad and buy a desktop or laptop that you can edit on. You will not produce professional results entirely on an iPad. I am not aware of any good video editing options for iPad, certainly none of the big names have a product available. There simply isn't enough horsepower on a tablet to perform the hard, complex operations involved in video editing in a smooth and timely manner.

(Minor correction: There is a version of iMovie available and Pinnacle does have a video editor available as well. These are both makers of some of the better consumer focused stuff and could be considered big names, particularly since Pinnacle was previously held by Avid for a while, but I would still consider these cumbersome and limiting. It probably IS possible to produce a professional quality result, but you'd have to work really hard at it.)

You could use the iPad for shooting the video and get decent results with proper usage, but you will still need a lot of other equipment to compensate for the iPad's camera short comings.

Lighting will be super important. You will need lots of light, placed well so that there is sufficient light for the sensor and no shadows that the camera's dynamic range can't deal with. This is also more than just having lamps, but also the stands to position them where you need them and modifiers to adjust the way the light falls on the scene to make good, even lighting.

Sound will also be another issue. You will want an external mic. People have reported being able to use USB mics with the iPad Camera Connection Kit, but I couldn't find anything verifying if it would work with professional audio interfaces or a microphone more designed for video situations. Another option (which is what you will commonly see in more professional productions) is to use a separate audio recorder, such as a Zoom h4n to record audio and sync it up in post production. Even if you really wanted to stick with your plan to use the iPad for the editing, you could transfer the files off the SD card using the previously mentioned camera connection kit.

You will also need a stand and tripod that can hold the iPad securely. There are numerous options available and I don't have any particular experience with any particular model, but being able to shoot stable smooth video is an absolutely critical aspect of any high quality video shoot. If you shot is purely static, you might be able to prop it up like Jason suggested, though it also then runs the risk of slipping or more easily getting jostled, and as he points out, you won't be able to do a shot with any movement, so I'd highly recommend a tripod.

If you can handle those three things, that should allow for decent quality footage to be shot on the iPad, but you are probably looking at between $450 ($200 dirt cheap lighting, $50 tripod adapter, $50 dirt cheap tripod, $100 - $150 relatively cheap usb consumer audio mic) and $1300+ ($500 ok lighting, $250 basic pro audio recorder, $150-$200 decent video mic, $50 tripod adapter, $250-$350 ok tripod) of gear to supplement it.

I want to emphasis that the $450 is about the cheapest you could possibly go while still calling it "professional video". You can make something that looks ok for a consumer project for less, but really pulling off professional video is unfortunately not particularly cheap even if costs have dropped like a rock in the last 10 to 15 years. (You can now do for $15,000 what used to cost $150,000+.)

Finally, practice and experience is key. There is more to producing professional results than the right equipment, you also need to know how to use it properly. There is far too much to doing this to summarize in a single QA post, but pre-planning is really key. If you know your shots and plan the video out before you shoot, you can make sure you get all the shots you need and make sure that they flow well from one to the next. You can plan the angles to shoot from and what you want the end product to look for. Even with hundreds of thousands of dollars of high end professional gear, the result will look like someone's home movies without planning and organization to accomplish a consistent vision for the video.

  • So i guess i will get a pretty decent slr camera by investing little more which will give me a better video than ipad. But what i was thinking is to make a video using ipad which would have been a quite off track video making. like in my country few people have experimented things like making a video using mobile phone and those were pretty decent videos. btw thank you very much. i will think over it again
    – dking
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:53
  • @dking - yeah, I would not recommend it. There are probably some apps available that can do a marginal consumer focused job of clipping some video clips together, but I don't know that I would consider them professional tools. They are more designed to let people post youtube clips of their vacation than allowing careful planning and organization of a video.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:55
  • And basically i wanted to do it for an experimental purpose. And educational video will need clear sound quality if usb mics really works then i will go for it.
    – dking
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:56
  • @dking - see my update. I did some more fact checking and found a couple decent consumer focused video editing apps, but I'd still recommend against it since I think the headaches it will induce are likely not worth the effort. For example, both require rendering for previews during editing. It basically sets editing software back to the mid to late 90s.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:01
  • thank you very much. yeah you are right about rendering. That will become a headache. But as i said i wanted to do it for experimentation purpose only. If in any case i would make the video i will let you know. And i dont want to lose reputation just for doing experiment. btw if i opt for ipad can editing on my computer will make it little better?
    – dking
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:10

There are plenty of camera apps in the app store that will let you lock of the exposure and focus of the iPad's camera. These are the features that I'd consider most important. Locking focus and exposure keeps the camera's settings from "breathing". This forces you to think about focus and exposure before you start shooting. This forethought is the single most important ingredient for producing quality video.

Improving the quality of your lighting will probably give you the highest Return on Investment. Again, good lighting depends on pre-planning and forethought, but no one can tell you which kit is going to give you the magic results, especially without details about what you're shooting. If you plan to shoot outdoors, you're going to need an entirely different setup than what you'd use indoors. For outdoor lighting, look into scrims, diffusers, flags, bounce cards, and reflectors. If you're shooting ENG style, you'd probably want a light attached to the camera. If you're doing indoor interviews, you'll probably want to research "three point lighting". Whatever the case, it's likely that a nice soft light source should be one of your early investments.

Sound is the next area you can improve to make better quality video. The first item on the sound chain is a microphone, and -- like choosing a light -- choosing the right mic for the job depends entirely on the job. Professional recording environments usually have a huge selection of microphones just to get the right sound. You'll probably want to invest in a lavalier or shotgun microphone early on. Once you have room for more kit, consider mixers, preamps, and recorders.

Camera stabilization is also very important for professional quality video. Again, a little pre-planning will go a long way here. Is your shot going to be static? Propping your iPad on something stationary will eliminate the hand-held look. Are you going to pan? You're probably going to need a tripod or monopod for that. Is the camera going to move? You're going to want to increase the camera's rotational inertia somehow. This can be as complicated and expensive as buying a stedicam or gimbal rig, or as simple as duct-taping your iPad to something more massive, like a heavy dictionary.

Anyway, the best thing you can do is to research yourself into these areas and find which solutions work best for your situation.

Oh, but here's a gadget that you might find useful. padcaster

  • Dang, talk about close timing. +1 for the points about locking focus and exposure and the forethought thing that I completely forgot to mention at first.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:47
  • Yeah my video will be static. Since we are going to shoot in a classroom . But basically i want to cover a lot of area for movements so that it will become a more appealing video.
    – dking
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:00
  • BTW is that gadget padcaster available in india? and how much it will cost?
    – dking
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:01
  • No idea. I'm not affiliated with that company in any way. That's just a link my boss sent me to something he thought I might find interesting. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:12
  • This is actually the original link he sent me, if it helps. tuaw.com/2014/05/30/tuaw-takes-a-second-look-at-the-padcaster Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:14

There are already 2 great answers, I just wanted to add some input that would be too much as a comment.

Firstly it highly depends on which iPad you own, the camera in the first 2 generations were "garbage". I think that changed a bit with the iPad 3 and iPad Air.

If the quality of your iPad camera doesn't produce suitable material you can stop right there, a different app won't make it look any better.

If we look at smartphone/tablet cameras in general, they have developed tremendously in the last 3 years and you can shoot very high quality videos with some extra equipment like a tripod and an external mic (usb or for the mic jack, doesn't matter really) plus some lightning equipment.

If you happen to have a rather recent "high-end" phone from last 2 years you might want to opt for that instead of the iPad and then only cut the footage on the iPad if you don't want to do that on a full fledged computer. Generally the camera built into modern phones are quite a bit better than what gets built into tablets as most people don't really use their tablet for making photos or videos, they mostly just use it for the occasional snapshot when they happen to have their tablet in their hands. My totally not fact based guess would be that about 70-80% of all photos today are made with a smartphone, just because we have them on our hands nearly all the time.

I own a Galaxy S4 for example and the videos I make with it during daylight have a quality of some 200-300€ FullHD camcorder from 3-4 years ago, even better I'd say. So I'd definitely say that professional video with smartphone technology is possible today, definitely not on a high-end level but definitely for low cost productions, granting some experience with video and some extra equipment as mentioned before.

And my phone is really just an example from my personal experience, it's not extraordinary, a lot of other phones from other manufactures like Apple or HTC have a very similar quality level. Especially the higher-end Nokia phones feature an absolutely impressive camera nowadays.

  • +1 for the details about cameras in the various generations of iPad. I knew it had an improved but wasn't sure when it had.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:24
  • Yeah i have iphone 4s and it has pretty decent camera. Before few days i tried photographing few pictures with my brothers galaxy grand 2 and they were really very good pictures. But i am not sure about video quality. so which option will be a better using ipad or some camera mobile. I just have iphone 4s with me.
    – dking
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:28
  • Just try it out. Make a video of the same scene with both devices and see which device makes the video with the least noise/best sharpness/color etc. and make sure not to use any of those software camera filters to boost color or anything, get a "raw" video of both cameras.
    – timonsku
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:43
  • Ok i will try. but since both devices have cameras with different megapixels will that matter?. will it be better in day light? or artificial light? (i mean will it really matter?)
    – dking
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:58
  • 1
    The type of light does matter. Sunlight is full spectrum. If you're going to use indoor lighting, you want your lights to have a high CRI (color rendition index). Essentially sunlight is %100 CRI and good indoor lights are around %95. Typical fluorescents can range anywhere from %65-%85. In order to have good color accuracy, you need good lights. Often, it's easier and cheaper to use sunlight. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 15:31

Wanted to chime in,

Did you know that Bentley Motors ad, was filmed using an iphone. Using an iphone 5s to sell their $300,000 car. You heard right. I was quite surprised. Below are the details.

Here is the commercial (after 3:15 mark you see behind the scenes footage)

"the filmmakers used an iPad Air to assemble all of the footage, and edited the entire thing in the backseat." The software they used was iMovie. A quit and dirty edit tool.

They used the beastgrip universal lens adapter for the iphone, costs around $75 beastgrip lens adapter

To that they added a $37.50 fisheye lens fisheye lens

They added a Thunderbolt/HDMI split cable to add a field monitor to their iPhone rigs in order to monitor their shots.

Also added a $4.99 iOS video app that helps turn your mobile device into more of a video camera "FilmIC Pro" ... “We used 24fps, 50mbs setting,” he says. “We always lock white balance and focus on every shot.”

The big expense was the steadicam rig, by freefly Movi M5, $5000 steadicam

Reza (the director) did reveal that they used Final Cut Pro for finessing, adding titles and color timing. (So they did not just use iMovie).

So, yeah. Much to my surprise, it looks like you can use your ipad/iphone to shoot commercial quality footage. If you have the right gear attachments.





  • I wonder how much Apple paid them to do it. :) It certainly shows the limits of what is and isn't possible. I'm curious about how they handled audio and would love to see higher quality copy of the footage (if it exists). Noticed a lot of artifacts in the video, but some of that may be Youtube garbling.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 4:01
  • 1
    Oh, hey, minor corrections from doing a bit more digging. They didn't do the full edit on the iPad, only the rough cut and production reviews. They finished it up later on a full system with FCPX. More details available on the actual production company's site here. The big thing seems to be the camera app they used that enabled 50mbps video encoding and more direct sensor control.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 4:11
  • 1
    Another article with some more detail. Apparently they also hooked up field monitors to the iPhone for monitoring as they shot. Not that it makes the project any less impressive, but a lot of the publicity is slightly less than honest.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 4:15
  • Those are good finds! :) Let me add them to the article, I think the one on apple is too much of a puff piece promoting their hardware.
    – eLouai
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 4:23
  • 1
    @dking, let us know how your shoot goes, and show us a video sample as well. I am curious as well.
    – eLouai
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 15:02

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