Product Review: The Padcaster & Lenscaster
Making the iPad a useful production tool.
By Jeff Foster | October 10, 2012
The Padcasterâ¢ is a strong yet lightweight aluminum frame that comes equipped with both 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes lining all edges of the frame, and has a molded Urethane insert that secures your iPad into position. Attach external microphones, lights and other camera accessories to enhance filming with the iPad. A tripod thread and locking-pin hole let you easily connect the Padcaster to a tripod, monopod or shoulder mount for stable shooting and a solid feel. Adding the Lenscasterâ¢ attachment allows you to attach various lenses to your Padcaster giving your iPad some options in various shooting conditions.
Why the Padcaster?
I know what you're thinking - why the hell would I ever want to shoot with an iPad in the first place? When I first saw the prototype of the Padcaster in use at the NAB Show in Vegas this past Spring, I admit that I had mixed feelings about it's practicality and use - until I got a demo by the inventor/developer of the Padcaster, Josh Apter from Manhattan Edit Workshops. Once I saw how easy it was to snap the Padcaster to a tripod or monopod, connect external audio devices and then record/edit/upload all directly from one single iPad, I was convinced this was something special.
Josh Apter giving a live demonstration of the Padcaster prototype
Beyond hobbyists and amateurs who frequently use their portable devices as they're only production tool, using the Padcaster with an iPad does have several potential professional applications - especially when combined with a number of accessories. I've been experimenting and shooting in various locations with the Padcaster over the past few weeks and everywhere I go, I get a lot of interested inquiries - usually resulting in asking for a web address where they can get one. Fortunately, the URL is molded into the Urethane insert that holds the iPad: www.thepadcaster.com
The Padcaster prototype in use in the field for video podcasting/reporting direct to the Web.
What comes in the Padcaster/Lenscaster Kit?
The Padcaster is ready to use right out of the box. However, if you also get the Lenscaster attachment, you simply have to attach it with the provided specialty fasteners that are cleverly designed to NOT require any tools (which is especially handy when you're in the field and want to tighten a loose fastener). The Lenscaster attaches to the frame directly over the corner where the iPad lens is situated and perfectly aligned around the center of the lens.
The Padcaster comes complete and ready to use.
The Lenscaster easily attaches to the frame with special hardware.
The Padcaster with the Lenscaster installed, stands perfectly balanced on a table or flat work surface.
The aluminum frame has a base plate that is designed for easy attachment of a quick-release plate or video tripod mount with mounting thread and locking pin hole. It's designed with appropriate slots to access plug-in components and many 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes to attach and mount many devices and accessories. There are also slots in the Urethane insert to allow easy access for the power and volume buttons. I did find that actually plugging in the USB connector and headphones into the audio jack were more easily done by removing the iPad and feeding the cables through to securely fasten them to the iPad and then snapping the iPad back into place. The nice part about this design is that is acts as a reinforcement and strain relief on these cables so they don't become detached too easily.
Easy access to the iPad's power and volume buttons while still mounted in the Padcaster.
Easier to attach cables before inserting into the Padcaster Urethane housing.
With the Lenscaster installed, you only need to be sure you have the correct size step-up/down rings to mount additional screw-on video lenses.
The Lenscaster with a Vivitar 2.2X Tele video lens attached.
The Lenscaster with a Vivitar Wide Angle video lens attached.
(The Padcaster in-use - Continued on next page...)
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