From Padcaster to iOgrapher: María’s migration story

iPad videojournalism flourishes, and its technology evolves.

Padcaster was the first truly complete device to attach an iPad to a tripod, with cold-shoes for accessories and a lens mount. I first covered Padcaster at NAB 2012, and in 2013, I mentioned it within several articles. In December 2013, Jeff Foster published a review on a competing device called iOgrapher. This article will cover the unusual set of circumstances that followed Jeff’s review, and led to an unexpected migration.

Back in 2012…

Almost two years ago, I published several articles about this topic, including iPad video journalism comes of age at NAB 2012 (which covered The Padcaster mount among other things). Originally, the key photo in that article was of a gentleman who was using a Padcaster to shoot video at NAB, including his face. Even though at NAB 2012, he was happy to be photographed, he later became embarrassed to be seen using an iPad to shoot video, and he wrote to ProVideo Coalition’s editor shortly thereafter and requested that the photo be taken down, which it was, as a courtesy. His name will remain anonymous until further notice. As iPad videojournalism continues to flourish, I wouldn’t be surprised if he contacts us in the near future and asks us to put his photo back up, and be listed as one of the pioneers.

In 2013…

Much more recently, I published an article about the first dual-balanced audio input interface I became aware of for iPad, the Duo-Capture EX from Roland and a microphone comparison test via that same interface, both done using my friend María’s Padcaster using her 4th generation iPad. In December 2013, Jeff Foster published his review on the iOgrapher, and I became intrigued about it, in general and because it was already available for the iPad Mini (and iPad Mini Retina). I mentioned the iOgrapher to a few friends. I was also intrigued when I saw an interview with David Basulto, the iOgrapher’s inventor, since David is a high school media teacher who reminded me so much of the one that —back in the 1980s— taught me how to edit 1/2“ open-reel EIAJ–1 format video ”linearly” using Sony AV–3650 recorders in my high-school’s Media Center. I knew that there had been a Kickstarter to create a Padcaster Mini, but unfortunately it did not reach its goal on time, since it got US$7,068 of its US$30,000 goal. However, ThePadcaster.com is already taking pre-orders for the new Padcaster for iPad Air (i.e. the 5th generation of the full-sized iPad, launched by Apple on October 22, 2013), which uses the same frame with a different rubber insert.

I had no idea about it at the time, but as it turns out, while I was mentioning the iOgrapher to friends in December after discovering it in Jeff Foster’s review, David Basulto was suffering from the same exact technical problem as professional editor Manuela Santana:

Footage shot with FilMiC Pro was giving both of them terrible lip sync problems when edited with Premiere Pro CS6, which I covered in Why Manuela returned to FCP after loving Premiere Pro CS6? in November 2013. Back then, I didn’t know David Basulto, and he didn’t know me or my articles. Frustrated by the lip sync issues, David asked an Apple Engineer friend he knows how he could solve this problem. The Apple Engineer sent David a link to my Manuela article; David then tried Final Cut Pro X for the first time, and his lip sync issues from FiLMiC Pro footage disappeared immediately. David was so happy that he contacted me; we exchanged a few emails, and he graciously sent me two iOgraphers: one Mini (since he knew that I am on the verge of acquiring an iPad Mini Retina in order to review other products), and one large one for María’s 4th generation iPad, which he had seen in a picture in the Manuela article.

The photo of María with her 4th generation iPad mounted in a Padcaster, first published in my Manuela article

María’s comparison and migration

Just after the two iOgraphers landed in Miami, María and I got together at one of our favorite cafés, and she compared the iOgrapher with the Padcaster she had been using earlier. Her response (translated to English) was:

The empty Padcaster weighs much more than the entire combination of the iPad together with the iOgrapher!

The difference in weight that María observed is due to the fact that the Padcaster is made out of metal with a rubber insert, while the iOgrapher is made out of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). According to Wikipedia’s article:

ABS combines the strength and rigidity of acrylonitrile and styrene polymers with the toughness of polybutadiene rubber. While the cost of producing ABS is roughly twice the cost of producing polystyrene, it is considered superior for its hardness, gloss, toughness, and electrical insulation properties. Source: here.

María also commented that she likes the handles on the iOgrapher. She found it so light (compared to her prior experience with the Padcaster) that she could actually shoot with it with one hand…


…but uses two for better stability in her very few handheld shots. Most she does with her tripod.


María found it much quicker and easier to insert and remove her iPad from the iOgrapher than her prior experience with the Padcaster, after seeing David Basulto’s QuickStart video

Shortly thereafter, she sold her Padcaster and is now happily shooting with the iOgrapher.

Jeff Foster’s reviews on both products

Jeff Foster, who is also a frequent writer for ProVideo Coalition magazine, has published detailed reviews on both products:

I consider Jeff’s reviews to be required reading material for anyone who is considering either product. As of publishing time of this article, if you want a device for iPads 2/3/4, it could be either product. If you want something for iPad Mini or iPad Mini Retina, it will need to be exclusively iOgrapher, and if you want something for iPad Air, it’s exclusively Padcaster.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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