Shooting iPad video in the tropics
March 3, 2014 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm tagging along on a research trip to a biological field station in the Bahamas. While I'm there, I'd like to use my iPad to shoot some video of the researchers doing their respective things. How would you turn an iPad 2 into a lean, mean, field-video-recording machine?

Probable conditions include boat trips and hikes in rain, wind, sand and scorching sun. At the very least, I gather I need a protective, possibly waterproof case and a decent external microphone. I have the standard Apple Camera Connector for hooking up a USB mic, but I've never tried it with a hefty enclosing case like an Otterbox.

I've been looking at reviews of cases and microphones, but I'd love to hear any suggestions for specific products or general setups.
posted by ann_disaster to Technology (6 answers total)
Can you afford Go Pro Hero 3?. It syncs up with an app on your ipad, you can store/edit the video there, but you get a better, smaller, tougher, waterproof camera to actually shoot with.
posted by Oktober at 12:29 PM on March 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Agreed with Oktober. iPad's good for on-the-go editing and such, but it's an unwieldy camera (especially an iPad 2).

A lesser Go Pro would work, as well. Or even an iPhone (5/5c/5s for sure, but even a 4s would probably work better than ipad).
posted by Quisp Lover at 12:32 PM on March 3, 2014

The GoPro is the right tool for the job.
posted by stenseng at 1:36 PM on March 3, 2014

In addition to what people have said about the ipad 2 being clunky for this, the camera just really isn't good and produces disappointing results. It's worse than the camera on the iphone 3GS and android phones from 2010-11.

If you buy a decent otterbox type case at ~$70-80 and a USB mic you're already more than halfway to the price of a gopro.
posted by emptythought at 3:44 PM on March 3, 2014

I also have the Apple Camera Connector and have had zero luck getting non-"camera running on its own power" things to work on my iPad 2. Various USB flash drives, a MXL 990 USB mic, various USB keyboards... nothing. Also, as others have said, the iPad 2's camera is crap... Handy as it would be to have that nice big screen for monitoring your video shoot, the Go Pro is going to give you much, much better results.
posted by xedrik at 8:54 PM on March 3, 2014

Best answer: Hi! I've done this!

Well, I mean, I went to a biological field station in the Bahamas last year. With boat trips and hiking in weird conditions. Everything gets gross quickly, and you can't rely on delicate, unwieldy equipment like iPads.

GoPros are perfect for this. They are made for this. One of the kids on the same trip had one, and he was able to take video quickly and with no fuss.

I used a DSLR and a point-and-shoot while I was there. DSLRs are fine, but you worry about them. When I was on boats and stuff, I used a point-and-shoot in this waterproof case. I even took it snorkeling and kayaking. It really worked. If you go with that, get a floating wrist strap, because it's easy to lose cameras in the water or when you're on a boat.

Also, bring bug spray, or you'll get eaten alive. I hope you really enjoy your trip!
posted by topoisomerase at 8:56 PM on March 3, 2014

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