The first day with a shiny new gizmo in my video production kit is usually a mixed bag, and the iPad was no exception. Since I have never had an iPad before I decided to start simple and give it only a couple tasks to accomplish.
One thing that has always driven me nutty is the excessive use of paper in video production. Scripts, storyboards, release forms, it’s a never ending tree massacre. I never understood why we can put microchips in our pets and help the blind see again but we still store information on dead trees? The iPad seems to be the device that may change this, and I found an inexpensive app to get me on my way to a paper free production.
Form Tools PDF is a fantastic, simple application, that lets you take PDF files and turn them into data capturing forms. Setting up my video release form was dead simple and I was capturing digital signature in minutes. Once a form is filled out and signed, I can also add a photo with the iPad’s built-in camera and then email it off to anyone who needs the completed PDF. This is not only a paper saver, but a time saver and easy way to manage my growing pile of forms.
Here is what my filled out form looks like after having our new intern Taylor sign away the rights to her image and voice recordings:
On most video shoots I capture HD 1080i60 video with a Sony camera. Even though these video files are large and beautiful looking, most modern computers have no problem playing back the video. Although the iPad’s built-in video player doesn’t understand this format, (even though Quicktime on the Mac does?) the free VLC Player for the iPad will play it.
I was hoping to be able to dump video straight onto the iPad for review in the field or on the go but despite it’s dual core processing power, the iPad 2 can’t reliably play back 1080i60 HDV video. I have played back HD video before with VLC but not the HDV format, which must be too robust for the iPad’s video processor.
Day one of using the iPad 2 is a very sad double failure because Apple has removed the incredibly useful and popular VLC application from the app store. I downloaded it when it first came out for the iPhone so luckily I was still able to install it on my iPad.
I’ve got loads of shoots coming up so check back soon for more posts on using the iPad 2 in video production. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!