Things You Can’t Do on an iPad

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Professional Audio Recording

The iPad offers remarkable multimedia capabilities. When it comes to mobile devices, the iPad is peerless with regard to multimedia creation. There’s a whole universe of high-end audio accessories that can turn your iPad into a personal recording studio. There are some limitations, mainly that there is a limit to the number of simultaneous tracks that can be recorded. With available accessories, the iPad can’t support 32 or more simultaneous audio inputs for recording. This may seem like a lot, but it is not uncommon for 16 or more inputs and tracks to be used just for a drum kit.

Many professional bands need to record the whole band at the same time. You just can’t do that with an iPad. It would be difficult to even record a small rock band at the same time with professional results. Due to the lack of support for several input channels, compromises would have to be made. Instead of recoding the drum kit with several mics, one would have to settle for a few.

The iPad also lacks the ability to run professional DAWs and audio plugins. Instead of ProTools and Logic, iPad users have to settle for lite, watered-down DAWs like Cubasis.

At best, an iPad has 128GB of SSD space. A professional recording project can eat up that much disk space easily. It wouldn’t be possible to record a whole album on one single iPad, without constantly bouncing data to some other data storage. Even a long song wouldn’t fit on an iPad if it was composed of several 24-bit/192khz tracks.

It is possible to make professional sounding music on an iPad. For instance, an electronic musician, folk artist, or indie rock band might do well with an iPad. A jazz big band, however, couldn’t make a professional album on an iPad. Most major label rock bands couldn’t get by in the studio with just an iPad. They need a lot of inputs and need to record all of their tracks simultaneously. Professional recording studios have not traded in their Mac Pros for iPads. The hobbyist or indie rocker might squeak by with one. Most semi-pro and hobbyists I know still use Macs or PCs for recording, even if they own an iPad.

Professional Video Production

The iPad is peerless when it comes to multimedia capabilities. No other mobile device offers rich and powerful apps for creative expression. The iPad can do some pretty amazing things, but it cannot replace professional audio and video tools.

The main (back) camera on the iPad is nothing special. It is easily outclassed by the iPhone, but doesn’t even come close to the capabilities of professional video cameras. Unlike the iPhone 6 Plus, the iPad Air 2 does not offer optical video stabilization. Even if it did, it still would not be a professional grade video camera. It doesn’t take an expert to notice the difference between a professional video production, such as a TV show, and a YouTube video shot on an iPad.

Beyond the camera, the video editing capabilities of the iPad are still not up to professional standards. One of the main problems is that it is too difficult to manage assets. Professional video productions involve thousands of hours of video footage taken from multiple cameras. There is also a lot of audio involved — audio recorded during filming, music score, sound effects, Foley artists, voice overs and other audio assets. The editor needs to work with these assets. Doing this on a 128 GB iPad is not a possibility, even with external drives, cloud drives, and other accessories. No professional video producers are trading in their Mac Pros for an iPad.

The iPad also does not capture audio well. There are external mics and pre-amps available for the iPad. A real video production will often involve multiple boom mics to capture the sound of different actors. There isn’t one single device that can accomplish all of the tasks of professional video production.

If you just want to make some simple videos to share, an iPad is probably enough. There are many YouTubers who do this. There are also professional YouTubers, like Marques Brownlee, who use a lot of professional equipment. He has provided a list of his gear on Amazon. It is really quite amazing, and you can see how much better his videos are. His attention to detail goes beyond excellent reviews. That’s why he makes the big bucks! (continue…)

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