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The Trouble with 1080p Video Recording on an iPad

Recently, we have been using the iPads as video recording devices. They work great. We even have some nice Makayama iPad cases that can go on Tripods. The problem we run into, however, is that the iPads take great video, in fact, it is too good. With 1080p HD video recording, our file sizes are huge for short video clips. I really like nice high-quality video when I work with it, but our computers struggle to play that video, and it is a pain to share files that are that large! One 10 minute video today was 1.67 GB, and the 20 minute was almost 4 GB!

So, I found a workaround. Instead of using the built-in camera app, I found an app called Top Camera (Lite Version) which has a lot of really great features. The lite version is free, and so that is great. But the light version also has a restriction: it records video in 480x360, which is much lower than 1920x1080, which also results in a smaller file size. So their "limitation" in the lite version is actually a feature that I am very excited about! How cool is that?

Now, to record video on the iPad at a lower resolution, we can use this free app and save some space.

When we want to record video to highlight the great things teachers are doing or for a purpose where we want a higher quality, we can still get that by recording through the regular camera app.

A ten-minute recording at 480x360 weighs in at about 60MB compared to about 1.6 GB at 1080p resolution

A picture at the lower resolution is less than 10% the size of the standard resolution (105k vs. 1.6MB).

Another side benefit of using this app is that the video in the Top Camera app captures the same amount of video as the photo app would. As you can see in the picture I took of a table, the higher resolution one is from the iPad camera app (higher resolution, lower viewable area, note how the edge of the table is barely visible). And the Top Camera video of the table shows part of the chair as well.

Higher resolution video, smaller visible area. 

Higher resolution video, smaller visible area. 

Smaller resolution, yet larger viewable area. Note that you can see the chair in this picture. 

Smaller resolution, yet larger viewable area. Note that you can see the chair in this picture.