iOgrapher: An inexpensive hand-held mount for iPad moviemaking
TUAW has previously reviewed the Padcaster (US$149 or $189 with lens), a tremendously useful tool for mounting an iPad in a sturdy aluminum frame that includes multiple tripod mounts as well as cold shoes for mounting lights and microphones. It's such an iPad moviemaking powerhouse that it recently appeared in one of Apple's "Verse" advertisements. At present, there's no Padcaster for the iPad mini with Retina display, although Padcaster boss Josh Apter currently has a Kickstarter project underway to fund manufacturing of one. For those who have the mini and might not want to spend the bucks for the high-quality professional Padcaster, there's the iOgrapher (US$65).
The major difference between the Padcaster and iOgrapher is in the material used for the frame. The iOgrapher uses black polycarbonate to encase the tablet rather than aluminum. Instead of multiple threaded mounts and cold shoes around the exterior as on the Padcaster, the iOgrapher has three cold shoes for popping on those lights and mics. On the bottom is a single brass-lined threaded tripod mount.
Another difference is that the iOgrapher is designed for easy hand-held videography. On either side of the landscape-oriented iPad mini is a handle that makes carrying and handholding the device a snap. The mini is light enough that you'll be able to use a single hand to grip the iOgrapher while using your free hand for controlling your video or photography app.
Inserting the iPad mini into the iOgrapher is a literal snap, and while it holds the tablet securely, there's no problem removing it quickly for other uses.
In practice, I found the iOgrapher nicely suited for tripod-mounting an iPad mini and attaching several accessories that I had on hand -- a shotgun mic and an LED light, both of which use standard hot/cold shoe mounts. That being said, I'm certain that it would not be as useful to a professional videographer or photographer as the Padcaster.
The Padcaster is incredibly sturdy and can be tripod-mounted in a number of orientations thanks to the numerous tapped holes. If you somehow run out of space for an accessory, there's probably space to clamp it or even tape it on with gaffer's tape. Not so with the iOgrapher -- I wanted to use a Samson mic with a spring clip with my iPad mini. While it clips easily onto a naked mini, I couldn't find a spot on the iOgrapher that would hold it without it getting either in the way of my hand or moving unexpectedly.
For the amateur iPad mini moviemaker, the iOgrapher is perfect. On the other hand, professionals should throw their support behind the Padcaster Mini Kickstarter. You may have to wait a while, but you'll have a much more versatile mount for your videography.
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