Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shooting and Editing on an iPad without using iTunes

An interesting question was posted the other day on this post.

Basically, the question is if there is a way to shoot footage and edit it on an iPad without having to use iTunes to sync or in fact, any computer at all: just cameras and an iPad with iMovie.

Now, I don't have all the stuff on-hand to test this but this is what I would try first:

1. Set up your iPad with iMovie.
2. Buy the Camera Connection Kit from Apple.

"The iPad Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera: using your camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card. iPad and the Camera Connection Kit support standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, along with SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4."

3. Buy or find a camera that shoots H.264 or MPEG-4 to SD cards. Something like the Kodak Zi8 perhaps (just guessing here)?

4. Shoot, then pop the SD card out of the camera and into the Camera Connection Kit that's plugged into your iPad.

I don't know for sure but you may have to reduce the quality (bit rate) or size of the video you shoot so the iPad can handle it. Again, I can't test this at the moment.

5. Ingest with iMovie? (I don't have the stuff here to test this, just thinking aloud)
6. Edit in iMovie

As for output I just don't know if the Camera Connection Kit is something iMovie can export to. The new iPad2 can easily plug into a TV, monitors and projectors via an HDMI cable apparently so there is a way to show videos to groups.

And there are some App Store apps that let you monkey around with video, meaning copy it to SD cards and the like but I've never tried them.

Another option would be to use AirPlay but I that requires an AppleTV or display that supports AirPlay.

Or you could use DropBox, perhaps, to upload your videos to where ever you need them. DropBox needs to be installed on the iPad at least.

Apple has a Knowledge Base article on iPad file sharing here.

And some clever people have noticed that the new version of iMovie can run on the iPad1.

Unfortunately I don't have the hardware here to test this out. Let me know how far off I am :)


Apparently file names need to be formatted in a certain way (to import images and video clips into iMovie in some cases) and in a certain folder in most cases. More info is here.

Changing the Capture Scratch Folder's Name in FCP After Ingesting

When you're in a hurry and are loading in footage into FCP you may have forgotten to save the project before ingesting footage.

If you do, the folder in your Capture Scratch Folder will be called something like "Untitled Project" and if you keep loading in footage like this -saving after the fact- you'll end up with a pile of folders called "Untitled Project 1", "Untitled Project 2", etc…

The key is to remember to name and save your project BEFORE you ingest footage.

But what can you do if you've ingested footage, then saved the project but haven't quit Final Cut Pro yet?

You can -while at this point- go into the Finder and drill down to your Capture Scratch Folder and rename the folder containing the project's footage without the problem of FCP making you reconnect footage later on when you reopen the project, nor will it suddenly loose all connections to the footage.

Final Cut seems to get confused sometimes though; sometimes if you change the name of the footage's folder after quitting and reopening the project it'll find the footage, but sometimes it won't.

What I've noticed is that if you have saved the project after you ingested footage, but haven't quit Final Cut yet, it generally won't "loose" the footage when you return to it from the Finder.

Re-save the project and you should be go to go.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Uploading to Vimeo

I use Vimeo a lot for client previews since videos can be password protected.

The problem is knowing how to export your video so it displays properly on Vimeo. Files like native 1280x720 DVCPRO HD won't always work. I was having trouble with one particular which kept (after uploading and encoding at Vimeo) was VERY choppy and squeezed.

The most reliable way I've found to upload something to Vimeo is to convert it to H.264 first. Specifically I'll either use Export Using Quicktime Conversion… right in FCP or just Export as Quicktime Movie from FCP and then encode that to H.264 using QuickTime (since Compressor is kinda slow).

If you need to do this a lot, go ahead and make a droplet for H.264 conversion via Compressor.

Vimeo really seems to like H.264 as it's upload format. Make sure the aspect ratio is correct and you should be okay. If I get a chance I'll post some more detailed instructions when I (finally) get back home.

Unfortunately you may notice a Gamma Shift with your uploaded videos. That's mostly like caused by the compression tool you used. You'll never get it exactly right but you can get closer using something like x264Encoder from here. Test test and test again, that's becoming my motto it seems.

QuickTime has (and has had) an Gamma Issue for years now. It will force a Gamma of 1.8 on videos and fixing it is a mess and probably good fodder for another long post.

Bottom line for Vimeo, if you have an issue with your uploaded file, try H.264 and re-upload. Keep in mind that if it's not in HD when you upload it, it won't be in HD (or have the toggle option) when you play it on Vimeo.