Video on the iPad and iPhone

22 Jun

Film, and a technology, has only been around for about one hundred years, it is still relatively young.  Conversely, story telling, has been around for thousands of years and been the backbone of society and culture throughout that time.  Film takes story telling to another level and gives people a medium to share their interests, ideas and passions.  I recently had a chance to do a lot of work on my iPad as well as my iPhone to record and process video on a mobile platform.  My goal is to find what I can use personally and what I can teach my students to make them better story tellers using film.

 Super 8 is a great app that turns your phone or iPad into an 8mm camera.  As part of a promotion for the new film, it was free for a bit, it now sells for .99 cents in iTunes.  You can adjust your lenses from color, to black & white, infrared or even photo negative.  It also puts a fun little  header/lead in to your video as well.  Think back to your days in 4th grade or middle school science class when your teacher pulled out the projector and showed the grainy films of the day detailing some lesson or concept you had to learn.  A fun way to have your students capture video and give it that old-time quality.  The movies export as quick time and are easily uploaded into iMovie on your computer or on your iPad if you have the mobile version.

My sample storyboard

Storyboard is a great – and free – app that you can use with or without video.  Granted, if you pay for the app, you get more features.  However, the free version offers a lot.  I can create basic stories and transitions with text, characters and setting.  I can take pictures and use those pictures as the background images for on site notations in my meetings.  I can even see kids creating stories here with a little bit more depth than on paper or with stick figures.  As you can see on the right in my sample story board, I have a selection from a story – and this is a great point to share ideas, talk about catching a reader’s interest and adding layers to a story.  This is also great when planning out shoots for some of the longer videos of my students. In this day and age of graphic novels this will be very fun to use with the curriculum.

  iMotion HD is a great app for time laps or stop motion filming.  Granted, you can do this with taking multiple pictures, but that can be time-consuming and take a lot of time for students new to film.  This way you can use it on your iPhone or iPad to create time-lapse videos of experiments, solving math problems, do it yourself projects or creating directions.  Might even be fun at sporting event or setting up dances/rallies to show progression and set-up/take down.

 By far my favorite new video app is Collabracam, $4.99 iTunes.  Collabracoma puts a $10,000 piece of equipment into the palm of your hands.  There are two functions on this app, director and camera.  The director has control of up to four remote cameras which are also iPhone’s, iTouch’s, or iPad’s with cameras.  Over a wifi network – not internet, but wifi – the other cameras sync with the director.

director's view in Collabracam

Once there, I can choose which view I want, I can cue up my next video, I can even tell the videographer where to go by giving them non-verbal direction through the push of a button from my director’s control panel. This is an indispensable resource when teaching my students camera angles and how to react in live situations.  At the same time, while the recording is live, the broadcast is not.  I can export the finished product into iMovie or Final Cut for editing and revamping as part of the final product.

One note on this app, the audio you capture comes from whichever camera you have cued up.  I still don’t know how to resolve the audio issue to get better quality audio than the iPad/iPhone mic can offer.  My thought is I can put a receiver on each device and sync the boom mic with those devices.  That is a work in progress.

Last note, on mics, the iPad is not optimized to receive stereo mic signals, so you need to get a converter that goes from 2.5 mm female end to a 3.5 mm end – also known as a 3 ring connector.  You can get them on Amazon for about $5.00 – so if I can stress anything when producing video, go for good sound quality.

Video is a great way to teach and instruct your students, or to have your students teach and instruct you and your students.  Give them a framework and the tools to create and see what your students can do to demonstrate their understanding.

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