Recording Narrated Screencasts from the iPad 2 & iPhone 4s

David Wilson, University of North Florida
Jacksonville, Florida USA 32224

 

Purpose

To develop a method for creating instructional videos to record narrated screencasts from Apple iOS devices.

Problems

Recording the screen of an iPad is difficult. In past experiments a camcorder was used to record the screen. Finding a good angle on the screen that is not obscured by the user is the biggest challenge and lighting is also problematic. In early versions of iOS devices this was the only method because they only output to VGA with specific apps. The  Apple Composite AV Cable has the same problem on all devices including the most recent models. It only outputs a signal when specific apps are active.

Solution

Starting with the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s, Apple iOS devices mirror the screen through the Apple VGA Adapter. A Lenking LKV200 PC to TV Converter-Composite & S-Video & VGA Loopthrough is used to convert the VGA signal to composite with an RCA Video connector. The composite video goes to an analog video capture device. In this demo, an Elgato Video Capture device is used, but any analog capture device could be used. The narration is captured using a Zoom H2 Handy Recorder microphone connected to the RCA audio inputs of the Elgato Video Capture. The Elgato Video Capture device is connected to a computer using a USB connection. On the computer, the Elgato capture app is used to capture, save, and trim the video. The video is then exported to iMovie where all editing and publishing is performed. This setup allows for standard definition video recording in the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Alternate Solutions

All of the components can be swapped out for equivalents. For example, for HD video capture the Apple VGA Adapter can be replaced with an Apple Digital AV Adapter and the Elgato Video Capture device can be replaced with an HD capture device, like the Elgato Game Capture HD, and the video converter can be skipped all together. Although using those devices does not provide an easy method for real-time narration recording, the narration could be recorded on a separate device and synced to the video in post-production.

Since developing the method used in this demonstration, apps that mirror an Apple iOS device’s screen on a computer have been discovered including Reflection and AirServer. These apps can be used with screen capture software to create screencasts without any specialized hardware.  

Figure of Setup

List of Components and Apps

 

Presented at the NMC Summer Conference - June 15, 2012, Boston, Massachusetts