Hacks: Use your iPad to make high-quality videos

It’s easy to forget that you can do more on iPads then play games, browse the web and watch videos. It’s also a great device for recording and editing videos at close-to-professional standards.

What sets it apart from its rivals – we’re looking at you, Android and Windows tablets – is the software available. iMovie is the star of the show here. It assembles clips from your Gallery app effortlessly and makes cutting a video into shape and creating a narrative very easy.

I spoked to expert filmmaker Dan Rubin and YouTube star Jack Harries (AKA JacksGap) at an iMovie workshop in Paris, and they agree too. However, they explain it’s not just a case of point and shoot. In fact, they say laziness is the reason behind most poor-quality videos. With the latest generation iPad and a small dose of foresight, you too can create a great iPad movie.

Use your iPad to make high-quality videos

How? Good question. Let’s break it down into two sections. First, you want to equip yourself with apps that are going to make life as easy as possible. Next, you need to learn a couple of basic framing and recording techniques. Follow these tips and you’ll be impressing your friends and family in no time.

How to make great iPad videos: filming tips

If you’re thinking about making a video to capture a special day or event, then you don’t need to plan every little detail you’re going to film. However, there are a few things you should consider.

Think about your beginning and ending

Having well-framed opening and closing shots is imperative. Obviously, these shots can be captured at any point during your time filming, but spending a couple of minutes thinking about what you want to achieve before you start filming is highly recommended. Panning, time lapse and wide-angle and slow-motion clips are all effective techniques for opening and closing a movie.



Your video doesn’t have to compete with Game of Thrones in terms of its plot, but adding a little meaning to a movie never hurts. This can be as big or as small as you like. Something as simple as documenting a pigeon around Paris, could be all you need to engage your audience. It’s not going to win any awards, but it brings a nice bit of meaning to an otherwise unextraordinary stroll around France’s capital.


Vary your shots

It’s important you don’t use the same shot over and over again. A movie that was full of close-ups, for example, would get repetitive very quickly. Consider techniques such as panning and slow motion (using the SloPro app), as well as speeding up your footage (using Hyperlapse) and using wide angles. Finally, a well-placed static shot can be an effective way of changing the pace.


Adjust your focus

You can change the focus of your iPad with a simple tap of the screen. As such, you can create great depth-of-field shots in seconds. A technique used by a lot of filmmakers is focusing on the talent and slowly switching focus to the background. You can reverse this technique, too.


Use natural surrounds

Set the scene of your video in one beautiful shot. Landmarks are a great way to establish location, but consider using street signs or other objects that are unique to your location – a double-decker red bus in London, for example.


Keep your shots short

If there’s one thing that’s certain to bore your audience, its lingering on the same shot for too long. A great way to keep your audience engaged it to change shots often. As a general rule of thumb, try not to keep the same shot on screen for more than five to eight seconds.

The rest is all down to keeping an active mind when shooting, and thinking about how you can frame what’s in front of you. Follow as many of these rules as you can and you’ll be well equipped to make your own high-quality iPad video.

5 iPad apps you need to make great videos


This app offers two main benefits when making videos on your iPad. The first is image stabilisation: use Hyperlapse when walking or panning without a tripod and the app will render your footage and autocorrect any handshake. The second is that it allows you to speed up recorded footage by a factor of up to 12. It’s perfect for shooting in busy cities.


If you don’t have the latest iPad Air 2, then you have limited slow motion options. SloPro is a good workaround – simply use the app to slow your footage as little or as much as you like.

FiLMiC Pro

The lines between amateur videographer and professional filmmaker become very blurred with this app. FiLMiC Pro lets you capture video at 2k and gives you control over exposure, ISO balance, frame rate, tints, microphone direction and even your recording ratio. This is an app for those of you who want total control over what you shoot.

8mm Vintage Camera

Remember the Super 8 camera? Well, that’s what you get with this app – plus audio and many retro effects. The late Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul used the app to complete work on his Oscar-winning 2012 film Searching for Sugar Man after running out of money during production.


The iMovie app is a fast, powerful video editor that makes it possible to create brilliant videos on your iPad. Edit videos, still images and audio from anywhere on your iPad and use them to produce a polished movie – all in a matter of minutes.

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