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In the tradition of video production apps like Videolicious, Video Star, and Socialcam, the recently released free iPad-only app TouchCast helps you create and post interactive videos from your iPad 2 or later.
Those of us familiar with creating YouTube videos using desktop programs like iMovie, ScreenFlow, or Camtasia know how powerful non-linear timeline productions can be and TouchCast brings another solution to the table. The app uses the iPad’s built-in camera, a useful collection of widgets and a timeline editor to help users produce video productions almost on-the-fly.
How It Works
TouchCast is an app that uses your iPad, its camera, and an array of widgets to create unique, fun and interactive videos. TouchCast allows you to record yourself or another subject (either video or just audio) to narrate your production. The project editor includes over a dozen “vApps” (widget) for adding webpages, photos, Google Maps, Twitter and Facebook feeds, a poll taker and much more to your videos.
You can pre-select and set up the vApps you want to use for your production. Selected vApps get added to a timeline so you can quickly access them during your recording. The blue handler around the app allows you to move and resize the widget for placement on the screen and the handler does not show up in the final production.
What makes TouchCast even more unique is that many of the vApps are interactive, allowing viewers to tap on and enlarge a webpage, respond to a poll, or view a social network feed as they to listen and watch your recording.
Other Production Features
Though TouchCast is probably easier to use than iMovie or Final Cut Pro, if you want to produce an effective video, you will need to pre-plan what you’re going to say and how you’re going to present your content. To make this a smoother process, TouchCast includes several tools similar to those found in professional TV studios.
You can, for example, swap the camera from the front-facing lens to the back, so that if you’re doing an interview or showing another subject on camera, you don’t have to manually turn the iPad to get the shot. If you swap cameras while recording it even includes a one-second dissolve transition, but you can’t disable this if you don’t want it.
The studio even includes a handy teleprompter (conveniently placed near the camera lens) if you want to read your narration or refer to notes. The speed of the prompter can be adjusted, and your text doesn’t show up in the final production.
Note: If you have ever looked into purchasing a teleprompter, you know that this TouchCast feature alone is worth hundreds of dollars.
TouchCast also contains a whiteboard and plenty of tools for changing the background of your production, making drawings on the screen, or creating a new board to switch to during the recording. The marker tool, like so many other apps that use this feature, is not very smooth or anti-aliased, so I would suggest using it sparingly.
As you might expect, the video app also contains about a dozen video filters for boosting color contrast, adding a vignette, or getting a little edgy with black & white, sketch, pixellate, polka dot and edge detection effects.
You can save your project or re-open it anytime during the process of production. If you don’t like your recording, a simple tap allows you start over without losing the vApps you’ve already selected and added to the production.
A Few Production Tips
Whether you’re using a simple video camera or advanced video apps like TouchCast, you will want to utilize basic shooting techniques, and practice your presentation before you start recording. For example, to make it appear as though you’re looking directly at your viewers, be sure to look at the camera lens on you the iPad, instead of looking at yourself on the screen.
As you are recording your production, you will want to use the two navigation features in the timeline to switch between or hide vApps, or adjust the position of you and the vApps.
You can start off a new TouchCast with a pre-developed theme, and you can also add multiple titles and set timeouts for them.
TouchCast also includes channels of user-based video casts, and here you can upload and share your own TouchCasts after you have created an account with TouchCast.
Without further ado, here’s a demo TouchCast from the creators themselves.
Download: TouchCast for iPad (Free)
What do you think of this approach to video production? Novel interactive idea or unnecessary gimmick? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.