The iPad 2 was the first iPad with a camera — um, two cameras, to be more precise. The rear camera can record video up to the high-definition techie standard of 720p and at 30 frames per second (fps), or as full-motion video. Come again? That’s a fancy way to say that the video ought to play back smoothly.
The front camera can also perform at 30 fps, but the VGA (video graphics array) quality isn’t quite as good.
Apple equipped the later iPads with even better cameras. The 5-megapixel iSight camera takes terrific stills and lets you capture 1080p video, or the highest of the high-definition specifications. Another bonus is that it has built-in video stabilization, which helps compensate for a slightly jittery videographer.
Here’s how to shoot video on the iPad:
Tap the Camera icon on the Home screen.
Drag along the right edge of the screen until the Video mode is selected.
A dot will appear next to the word Video, which is highlighted in yellow. If either of your other options, Photo or Square, is selected, one of those will appear in yellow with a dot next to it instead.
You can’t switch from the front to the rear camera (or vice versa) while you’re capturing a scene. So before shooting anything, think about which camera you want to use, and then tap the front/rear camera button in the top-right corner of the screen when you’ve made your choice.
Tap the red Record button on the middle-right side of the screen to begin shooting a scene.
When you choose a non-videos shooting format — Photo or Square — the round shutter button will be white. In any case, while you’re shooting a scene, the counter will tick off the seconds.
Tap the red Record button again to stop recording.
Your video is automatically saved to the Camera Roll (represented by the small thumbnail below the camera modes) alongside any other saved videos and digital stills.
Editing what you shot
If you shot some stuff that belongs on the cutting room floor, you can perform simple edits right on your iPad. Tap the Camera Roll at the lower-right corner of the Camera app to find your recordings. Then:
Tap a video recording to display the onscreen controls.
Drag the start and end points along the frame viewer at the top of the screen to select only the video you want to keep.
Hold your finger over the section to expand the frame viewer to make it easier to apply your edits. Tap the Play button to preview your surgery.
Choose what to do with your trimmed clip. Tap Trim and then:
Tap Trim Original to permanently remove scenes from the original clip.
Tap Save as New Clip to create a newly trimmed video clip; the original video remains intact, and the new clip is stored in the Camera Roll.
Tap Cancel to start over.
This method will only let you edit footage captured on an iOS device, not video from a digital camcorder or camera, even if you sync it to the iPad.
For more ambitious editing on the iPad, consider iMovie for iPad, a $4.99 app (free to purchasers of new iOS 7 devices) that resembles a bare-bones version of iMovie for Mac computers. Through iMovie, you can export your finished video to YouTube, Vimeo, CNN iReport, and Facebook. And iMovie for iPad lets you produce Hollywood-style movie trailers, just like on a Mac.
Any video edited with the iOS version of iMovie has to have originated on an iOS device. You can’t mix in footage shot with a digital camera or obtained elsewhere.
You can play back what you’ve just shot in portrait or landscape mode. And if the video is any good, you’ll likely want to share it with a wider audience.
To do so, open the Camera Roll and tap the thumbnail for the video in question. Tap the Action button, and you can e-mail the video (if the video file isn’t too large) or send it as a Message.
And there are many more options: You can save it to iCloud or share it in numerous other places, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, and (if a Chinese keyboard was enabled) the Chinese services Youku and Tudou. You can also view your video as part of a slideshow or, if you have an Apple TV box, dispatch it to a big-screen television via AirPlay.