Sunday, June 3, 2012

Marine iPad - Camera and Video Accessories

In my last post I covered how to protect your iPad from the tough marine elements.  I suggested a few waterproof cases to keep your iPad dry.

This week I wanted to cover a few other features and accessories of this great device. The iPad is not only a great computer, GPS and entertainment device, but it is also able to take great pictures and video.  So throw away your camera and use your iPad for all your video and picture taking needs. 

The iPad 2 and the New iPad(3) have both front and back facing camera.  The camera on the back of the iPad 2 has a resolution of 720p with 30 video. Still images can be captured at a resolution of 1280X720. Still image resolution on the iPad 2 is not that great. The camera facing the user is just VGA with 30 frames per second with a resolution of 640X480.

If you have an iPhone 4S it has an 8 megapixel iSight camera which will take 1080p video at 30 frames per second. It also has a 5X digital zoom. Image resolution is a respectable 3264X2448.

The New iPad(3) also has the much better iSight camera. It has a 5 mega pixel camera which will shoot photos at 2048X1536 with 3.1 million pixels. Video is shot at 1080p with video stabilization included. The device can also tag your photos and videos with locational information. 

Any of these devices can shoot great photos and video to document your trip.

To edit your still images pickup one of the many free image editing apps such as Instagram or Adobe Photo Express.

If you have an iPad or iPhone you have to own an Apple TV.  You can pick one up for just $99.00.  This little box can stream pictures, music and video from your iPhone, iPad or from iTunes on your computer to your large screen TV or stero system.  It connects with a network cable or wirelessly to your on board network.

Wirelessly stream music on your iPhone or iPad to your boats on board entertainment system. Control playlist song selection and volume right from your iPhone or iPad.  Simply connect your iPhone or iPad and Apple TV to the same wireless network. The Apple TV will have to be connected to your on board TV or stereo system.  On your iPhone or iPad music player select an album or playlist.  On the bottom of the screen you will see the Airplay icontap this to select Apple TV to stream your music to you on board entertainment system. Let to party start!

It will even stream live video from the iPad or iPhone camera. So you can use it for a variety of your monitoring needs.

One of the coolest things about Apple TV is a feature called Airplay mirroring. This allows you to stream whatever you have on the screen of your iPad or iPhone to your TV in 1080p video resolution.

You can have your favorite marine charting app running on your iPad at the helm and display it simultaneously on your big screen TV down below over your boats wifi network.

1. To enable mirroring you need to connect your iPad and Apple TV to the same wifi network.
2. Double tap your home button to display your recently used apps.
3. Swipe from left to right until you see the Airplay icon, tapping the icon will bring up a selection box.
4. Select Apple TV and turn Mirroring "ON", whatever is displayed on your iPad now is mirrored to your big screen TV.

If you don't want to fork out the $99 bucks for Apple TV you could purchase the Apple Digital AV Adapter. This is a slick way to connect your iPad to your TV and mirror anything you have on your iPad onto your TV.  The adapter will cost you $39.00 and will allow you to connect using an HDMI cable.  This route is not wireless so you will need to be near your TV.

If you still want to use your old digital camera there are a couple of ways to transfer your pictures and video onto your iPad. The easiest way I have found to get them transferred is with the Apple Camera Connection kit.  It will cost you just $29.00.

The kit comes with two adapters that plug into the 30 pin connector of the iPad. The first one has a USB connection that will allow you to directly connect to the USB cable of your digital camera.  You can then select which pictures to download to your iPad.  This USB connector will also allow you to connect your iPhone to your iPad and allow pictures and video to be transferred from one device to the other. How cool is that?

The second adapter has an SD card slot.  You can take the SD card out of your camera or video camera and download pictures and video to your iPad directly from the card.  Mico SD cards can also be used with a full size adapter.

On a recent vacation to Tortola in the BVIs, I took video with my Contour 1080P video camera and downloaded the video each night to my iPad for editing.

iMovie is a great app for editing the video footage you take on your iPhone, iPad or other video camera. It is only $4.99 and can be found in iTunes.  I allows you to edit, add titles, transitions and music to create professional looking videos in a snap.

If you are serious about taking video with your iPad you need to pick up a movie mount. I recently purchase one from Makayama for $69.95.  The iPad snaps into the mount and allows you to connect it to a tripod.  There are several locations to mount external microphones and lights if needed.  Additional 37mm wide angle or telephoto lenses can be connected onto the front of the mount.

These are just a few of the gadgets I have picked up to make the most out of the iPad while on board.  So pick up a few and get started documenting your adventures!

What gadgets do use on board?

~~~Sail On~~~



  1. Mark,

    I am an old H2otown graduate sailing at Lewis and Clark on my Hunter 33.5. I enjoy your posts and find them very informative. I find that even with increasing brightness to the max, I have trouble viewing the Ipad in sunlight. Any suggestions?

  2. David,

    Great to hear from you! It is a small world. Growing up, I spent many a weekend on Lewis and Clark. I grew up in Canton, SD. My brother and I kept sailboats in the marina there for many years.

    My wife is Jodi Erichsen, she graduated in 1980. She was not sure that she knew you. Are you related to Morrie?

    I had a great little sail after work tonight on Lake Kampeska. Glad summer is almost hear. Hunter 33.5, that is a serious yacht for the river, good for you!

    I too struggle with the direct sunlight problem on the iPad. There are a few screen protectors out there that have a matte finish that do help. I have not tried any yet but plan to.

    Please become a follower of the blog and share the blog link with all your sailing friends. Any support would be appreciated. Click on a few Google adds in the right column or make a donation on the Support i-Marine Apps tab.

    Great to hear from you and keep in touch!


    1. Yeah, I am an old man--Class of 69. Morrie is my youngest brother. Canton is just down the road from my land-based location in Brandon. Keep up the good work.

      My Hunter is a good size, but there are many that big or bigger in the marina. The biggest is a Catalina 42. I think that is about all the travel lift can handle.

      I saw a shade cover for the iPad at Amazon that might work. It just seems like it would get in the way.

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