Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This is the Padcaster

This is the Padcaster (above).  It was unveiled at NAB 2011  It is an aluminum frame with what looks to be a number of 1/4" holes.  Within the frame is a resin that is molded to fit the iPad (3rd Generation).  The resin can be removed, and the frame can double as a DSLR cage.  Josh Apter of Manhattan Edit Workshop, which developed the device indicated different resins for different phones and tablets could be substituted if needed.  It appears the Padcaster will cost around $200.

I am a little disappointed in the size and simplicity of the Padcaster.  I was hoping for a device more like the mCAM from Action Life Media (below).  The mCam is very purpose built, and ticks all the right boxes for things you would want in a device that makes your iPhone a better video acquisition tool.  The Padcaster offers the flexibility of eventually being able to accomodate different form factors, but then you will just have to carry around multiple resin inserts.  Not very mobile.  It looks to be the size of a laptop.

I was hoping the Padcaster would be a more robust type of device like the Makayama Movie Mount (below).  This device is not available for iPad 3rd generation yet, but their site claims it will be in the near future. It is plastic, and will most likely be about half the cost of the Padcaster.  At the moment, the Movie Mount looks like a better option for myself, especially with the wide angle lens attachment and cold shoe that can hold a light or microphone.  The Movie Mount is also smaller.

I already own an ALM mCam for my iPhone, and I really enjoy it.  It would be great if ALM created an aluminum iPad sized mCAM.  Again that mCam just hits all the right boxes for me in terms of features, and I don't have to buy adapters for every piece of equipment I have.

The Padcaster on the other hand, is most likely very strong and and can be equipped with SLR lenses.  One could say The Padcaster is a more professional piece of equipment that can be outfitted like a huge DSLR rig.  On the other hand, it's my view that iPhone and iPad video production devices should enable easy and mobile video acquisition.  If you can set up an iPad just like a DSLR, maybe you should just use a DSLR.  However, one final advantage of the Padcaster is that it is almost future proof.  When Apple redesigns the iPad, you just have to get a new resin insert.  Other products will need a full redesign.

I think all these products are great new entries in the iPad video world.  Through competition, different companies will be offering different products with different designs for lower prices, which is good for consumers.  Keep up the good work.

Friday, April 6, 2012

What is The Padcaster?

On March 26, 2012 I saw a story on talking about an upcoming device called "The Padcaster".  A teaser video of the device's capabilities was released, but not a shot of the product.  That was a great idea for a tease, however, the the reveal was listed as April 16.  That is quite a long way out for a tease.

The improved quality of the iPad display and camera make The Padcaster quite desirable.  A device called the Makayama MovieMount is available for the iPad 2.  It received little buzz online, and reviews focused on the cheap construction.  When the iPhone 4 was released, I purchased an OWLE Bubo from Action Life Media.  This device was released shortly after the iPhone 4, and was able to hold your iPhone, mount on a tripod, and hold lights and microphones.  I really enjoy my OWLE Bubo, and it gets a lot of attention when you take it out to shoot.  It is constructed of very thick and strong aluminum.  The Bubo came with an iPhone case, and a microphone adaptor.  Not bad for $160.

A number of iPhone 4 recording devices appeared on the market that were inferior to the OWLE Bubo, and cost much more.  I hope "The Padcaster" turns out to be like the OWLE in terms of quality and execution.  The device will need to be pretty big, but the size of the iPad screen makes everything easier to see, like a monitor.  A cheap plastic snap case with few accessories and a high price would be unfortunate.

I'm not sure what to expect from "The Padcaster", but I think the device may be pretty sturdy, because it appears to be able to hold DSLR lenses.  If the price can be held under $200 for something metal, and under $100 for plastic, that would be nice.  A nice touch to The Padcaster would be the ability to have it attached to your iPad all the time as a form of protection, with an Apple smart cover on the front.  I'm not sure how you could execute that, but it would be another piece of gear you didn't have to haul around.  We will all just have to wait until April 16 to see the final product.