Thoughts on the Apple iPad

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the January, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

The iPad had been announced less than 60 minutes, when I got the following email from George:

I am in the desert but in range of internet and a 3G connection. I only have a new Apple iPad. I have taken some footage and a few jpg stills. How would i get it onto the iPad…..or not?

My first instinct was to point out that the iPad wasn’t even shipping yet, so how could he find himself in this position….

Then, I realized that this was a rhetorical question that spoke to a much larger issue: “I’m a video professional, what do I use the iPad for?”

And that is a great question – because the iPad isn’t for us. Its for the people that consume the media we create. The best analogy that I’ve come up with is that the iPad is like a TV set. Owning a TV set does not make you a videographer. But, if it wasn’t for the millions of TV sets out there, videographers would not have an audience to show their work.

(OK, this is an analogy. I know that today we can watch video on everything from flat panel displays to Bic pens, but that’s not the point. The point is that iPad is for consuming the media that we create, not in originating it.)

Now, I’m sure enterprising folks will figure out how to use cameras along with current and future versions of the iPad to originate content. After all, CNN has broadcast videos from iPhones.

But the reason you bought an iPhone was not to be a videographer. It just happens to be a device with a lot of really useful stuff, that also takes pictures.

This same thought applies to the iPad. People will buy it because it provides a fast, easy way to view high-quality images and video that you can then share with others.

The process, and gear, for creating movies remains pretty much the same as it was before Apple’s announcement. But the way we distribute, view, share, and store our videos is about to undergo a major shift.

It reminds me of my grandmother’s house with a touch of Harry Potter. When our family got together, we would all sit around in the living room, passing around photo albums and telling stories about the people in the pictures. The iPad does the same thing, except – as in Harry Potter – today the pictures move.

UPDATE – FEB. 3, 2010

Gerry Fraiberg adds:

After reading your thoughts on the Apple iPad, I thought you’d be interested in a couple of video related apps I’ve come accross.


First is ProPrompter by Bodelin Technologies:
The app itself if $9.99. But they’re also producing a package for the iPad with beam splitter glass with on the lens hood:


Our award winning ProPrompter HD is ready to hold the revolutionary iPad, safe and secure while you ProPrompt anywhere your camera goes. We created mobile teleprompting in 2002 and were the first to create a professional teleprompting App for the iPhone/iPod touch along with hardware released at NAB 2009. Now with the new Apple iPad our base of ProPrompter App users can simply continue to use the software and have direct in lens mobile teleprompting at a low cost. The ProPrompter HD with iPad bracket will retail for $995 and begin shipping near the end of February. Email us if you would like to be notified when we start taking orders:


Then there is Movie*Slate, another $9.99 app:


Movie*Slate is a digital slate, clapper board, shot log, and shot notepad— designed for use with film, television, documentaries, interviews, and home movies. Movie*Slate provides an easy way to log footage and take notes as you shoot— saving you time later when you capture and edit the footage on your computer.


The apps run on the iPhone/iTouch, but would look so much better on the iPad’s 9.7″ screen. Will I get one? Maybe with the spare change after I upgrade my G5 running FCP5.

Larry replies: Thanks, Gerry. It is fascinating watching what other people can do with the platform.

UPDATE – Feb. 6, 2010

Matt Davis writes:

– I’ll be getting one to act as simple prompter for presenters, slate for interviewees (“type your name here, your job title here, doesn’t it fit? You need to simplify it to fit…”), display device (previous shots, demo sequences (“we’ll be putting this where the green screen is”). All that stuff where a laptop is’t quite easy or light enough. Heck, I’ll even use it as an impromptu lamp if necessary (I’ve done that with my iPhone).


Of course, a video input so it can act as a client monitor would be good (USB in from your camera?), or a USB adaptor so we can browse SxS or P2 and perhaps label up shots and browse/edit/clean up metadata. But that’s getting rather more clever than Apple may allow.


It IS a big iphone, but then again how many times have you thought ‘if only the iPhone or iPod touch were a little bit BIGGER, or run something more useful, or last a little longer than a day without power’.


Yes, got my iPad on order. 🙂

Larry replies: Clearly, these comments reflect a third option which I had not considered. The iPad can also be very helpful in production. However, I still believe that the true market for the iPad are people who need to display content, not create it. As always, I’m grateful for everyone’s thoughts.


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