Screencasting on iPad (a followup)

Recently, Technology for the Classical Singer posted an article on how she handles screencasts from her iPad (which are coming out great, by the way!).  I wanted to share a slightly different approach that I came across, mostly because the audiophile in me doesn’t like the idea of feeding the iPad headphones back into the mic.

The solution posted by Tech4Singers wins in terms of simplicity; the screen recording app takes care of the uploading and all for you.  You don’t need a computer at all to use it.  My solutions do require a Mac computer.

Disclaimer: I have two potential solutions, and both are more complex than the one that Tech4Singers suggests.  But I’m assuming that those of you who want to record iPad screencasts are fairly tech-savvy anyway…so you’ll be able to hack it.

  1. The setup begins with an iPad with Touchposé, being projected via AirPlay onto a Mac by way of Reflection
  2. Hook up a microphone to your Mac (or use built-in).  Personally, I have a cheap set of MXL 990/991 mics that I feed into my machine using an M-Audio Profire 610, and I use a pop filter to boot.  I’m a bit more hardcore, I guess.
  3. Download and install SoundFlower (by Cycling 74), an audio rerouting application.  You may need to restart your computer after this (I honestly don’t remember).
  4. Open Audacity, set output device to SoundFlower, turn on monitoring (passes input directly to output without need to record), and make sure your input is coming from your microphone, whether internal or external.  This step will allow us to record our voice during the screencast, and send it to SoundFlower.
  5. Open System Prefs, and set system output device to SoundFlower.  The iPad sound is sent to Reflection during mirroring, and Reflection sends its audio to the default audio device (it doesn’t have its own audio options).  Now we have our voice via Audacity, and the iPad sound via Reflection both being fed to SoundFlower.
  6. Use Quicktime to do a Screen Recording (Lion or later required), selecting SoundFlower as the audio input device, and selecting the area of the screen that Reflection is running in rather than doing a full-screen broadcast.  Now, the audio that we’re feeding to SoundFlower is routed to the input on Quicktime during our screen recording.

The only real downside here is that you are not able to monitor the iPad audio, but neither can you really with the sound coming out of the headphones as in Tech4Singers’ solution.

The second iteration of this setup involves skipping the SoundFlower setup, but involves some post-production merging.

  1. Same as previous – iPad w/ Touchposé –> Reflection on Mac
  2. This time, you’re recording the iPad on Reflection, including sounds.
  3. Set up a microphone as above, and feed it into a new track in Audacity.
  4. Record on both Reflection and Audacity – you’ll end up with a video (with audio) from Reflection, and you’ll get an audio track in Audacity that can be spit out as a WAV or MP3 file.
  5. Merge these two in an application like iMovie, and fine-tune your audio sync as necessary.
  6. Export from your video app.

This second solution is a bit simpler overall, but what I love about my first solution with SoundFlower is that it produces a video instantaneously that can be uploaded right then and there.  The second solution requires less messing around at first, but you add the post-production step, which is not only not really ideal, but takes a lot more time as iMovie (or your app of choice) to bring in, and then re-render the video.  And again, no audio monitoring of the iPad here either.

Regardless, I think Touchposé and Reflection have a lot of use for me in other settings, as I do workshops and training at UNCG on the iPad.  I could see that coming in handy, since half the battle on the iPad is knowing where and when to tap!

That’s it for me.  Hope this has been educational, at the very least.

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