11 Oct Apple iOS Video Pipeline Experiment- Part 1

With my new fourth generation iPod touch I now have a 720p video camera. I also have an iPad, and I wondered what I could do with them together.  As I have said in earlier blogs, one way I stay on top of today’s technology is to “stretch it” or make it do things it really wasn’t intended to do. This gives me a context for how technology may be used in the future. In this three part series, I want to share with you my experiences using the iPod 4, the iPad, and video editing software to capture, edit and view HD video during a recent horse show.

As I have shared in previous blogs, my family and I are involved with horses, specifically “hunters”. Shows last all weekend and there are rounds all day long that are each as short as one minute long. Scoring has nothing to do with time, but with movement, form, and attitude. Since there’s a lot to learn about your riding by taking a video and watching it afterward, that’s exactly what I did during a show last weekend. Here is what I used:

 

Video Capture on the iPod touch

Taking 720p videos on the iPod couldn’t be any easier. Aim it toward the target and press the red button. When you are done, press the red button again. That’s it. It will take videos portrait or landscape. I recommend landscape if you ever want to connect to your TV, which is of course landscape.  If you take it in portrait it only displays at 480p.

There is a price for using the iPod to record your video.  With no zoom, when the horses rode to the opposite side of the ring I couldn’t see them.  Also, without image stabilization, hand holding the camera resulted in shaky video capture.

The iPod captured video at 1280×720 (720p), 30fps, at 10.53Mbps, H.264, in a .mov container.  In comparison, a Kodak Zi6 HD palmcorder captures video at 1280×720 (720p), 60fps, at 12.22 Mbps, H.264, in a .mov container.

Pros:

  • Simple one button operation
  • 720p video at 30fps in good sunlight looks good on a small display.
  • Light and small form factor makes it easy to carry.

Cons:

  • No zoom, digital or optical.
  • Video won’t look great on larger, hi res displays, driven primarily by low bit rate capture.
  • No image stabilization feature.
  • Poor capture in low light conditions like shadows, heavy clouds or during sunrise and sunset.
  • Expensive at $299 if you’re just looking at the camera function.

Video Transfer from iPod touch to iPad

Moving the video from the iPod to the iPad is equally simple. Connect the iPod to the iPad with the cable and adapter dongle. The iPad will ask you which videos you want to import, just select with your finger and transfer. Choose whether you want to delete the videos off of the iPod. The videos are now in the iPad’s Photo Roll.

Pros:

  • Simple and fast. Prompt-driven
  • Cables and adapter very thin and light.
  • iPad extremely portable and light.

Cons:

  • Proprietary and optional $29 adapter.
  • No way to create or dump into a specific folder.
  • No way to make file names.
  • Only accepts those videos supported by Apple iPad and iPod.  Will not accept HD videos straight from a Flip Video or Kodak Zi6.

There are some trade-offs in quality, yet recording video and getting it to your iPad is a quick and intuitive process.  In my next blog, I will look into how the iPad handles the video now that you have the content, followed by how the final video looks and a wrap up of the good, the bad and the ugly in part three.