I have been making some movies of my iPad for promotional videos and they all range from bad to worse in terms of video quality. I have used compact cameras and camcorders with pretty similar results.

Most of the stuff I shoot is AVCHD 1920x1080 at 30fps. The camera is positioned to take in the whole screen of the iPad and little (or nothing) else.

The other day I borrowed a Canon REBEL T2i, thinking that the results were going to be fantastic. They were not. There is a weird strobey effect (NO idea why that would appear more with this camera shooting 30fps than with any other one), and the clarity is not great. In fact, it may look better with a $250 Sony pocket camera I have.

Which got me to thinking: I really haven't the slightest idea what I'm doing.

  • Should the room be dark or light? Or should there be light coming from some specific direction?
  • Should the iPad's brightness be high, medium or low?
  • Should the camera be as close to the iPad as possible, while still being able to get focus, or a few feet away?
  • Since the DSLR has SO many manual settings, what adjustments should I be trying to make?
  • Since the DSLR has interchangeable lenses, what kind of lens is really appropriate for this sort of thing?

I could go on, but I really don't even know the questions to ask. A bit of guidance or orientation or some links to read (that are not 400-page books, unless they are titled "How to Make a Video of a Tablet") would be appreciated.


2 Answers 2


From what I recall

  • The room should be dark, so the tablet is the light source.
  • Experiment with the brightness, but usually low is the way to go.
  • Camera doesn't need to be extremely close, but the more zoom you use the more obvious vibrations will be.
  • Put the DSLR in manual focus and adjust it so the tablet is just slightly out of focus - this will remove the moire effect.
  • You want a short depth of field. This is achieved with a lower F-Stop (larger aperture opening).

I attended a session by Hendrik Kueck (creator of Color Splash) at 360iDev on this topic specifically. It was called "Effectively using videos to explain and market your app". You can buy that video online for $3.50. It goes into a lot more detail and explains everything really well (and may even correct me on a couple points.) It is a deal at 10x that price.

  • Wow, great stuff, thanks! I will definitely check out the video and go through all of your advice carefully. Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 19:11
  • Also I just added a link as a comment to my question a friend sent me... Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 19:18
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    @Yar: I was just reading that article. Looks to have some good information too. I am going to be shooting similar video here soon, so am researching this again too. Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 19:20
  • a friend has also suggested I try a "softening filter" and "UV filter", i.e., hardware. Thoughts? Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 19:47
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    @Yar: I haven't tried. Get that video by Hendrik and I bet he has his email address in it and you could email him. He does a fabulous job on his videos. Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 20:05

Even better is to use a HDMI capture device like a Blackmagic Intensity. Plug the iPad (or any tablet with HDMI output) into it and away you go. Perfect screen capture.

  • Yeah, the problem is that you lose the finger (um, that doesn't sound right). It's a reasonable suggestion, though, but the units are $200... Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 1:49
  • The finger isn't that important, is it? If anything, the finger/hand gets in the way of seeing what's on the screen. Plus the quality of a capture via HDMI will look perfect, 1:1 copy - where as you've found with a video camera, there's so many variables that can change the quality. Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 5:13
  • the finger is pretty important for demoing, otherwise I'd use the iPad Simulator, which is beyond perfect (though hard to pinch and zoom) Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 0:18

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