If you’ve had your iPad for about a year and a half, you’re pretty much carrying an antique in your pocket. With smartphone innovations coming at such a frantic pace, there’s a world of difference between the iPad 4 and 3GS, and their predecessors. One of the most dramatic differences is in camera capabilities – where the more recent phones have fancy video capabilities, owners of the earlier ones are stuck with 2.0-megapixel cameras, that just take pictures.
There’s nothing much you can do about that disparity, but there are a number of apps available that give older iPads video-capture features, such as Camera Plus Pro and Camera Genius. The makers of Camera Genius, CodeGoo, have also brought out Video Genius, a free standalone app that offers video-capture. With this, owners of older iPad and iPad 3G models can record video. The results don’t quite match what the iPad 4 and iPad 3GS can do, though.
Using Video Genius, you can shoot video in either landscape or portrait formats, although the controls don’t offer automatic orienting. When you launch Video Genius, you’ll see an interface similar to the camera app that’s built into the iPad – your viewfinder is the whole screen. To start recording, you tap the green button at the bottom of the screen – when video is being captured, this will flash and turn red. You film in either portrait or landscape by turning the phone appropriately, although the controls are static and don’t re-orient.
Video Genius lets you shoot for 40 to 60 seconds, in theory, though this is somewhat inconsistent. You might get 45 seconds, or only 25 seconds, and there seems to be no obvious reason for the disparity.
If you need to shoot videos that are longer, Video Genius has a mode for long-video recording that can be activated via the settings screen. Using this, you can shoot much longer videos – 2-3 minutes or more – but in this mode, video is recorded at a much slower frame rate; instead of the normal 12 frames a second, this only gives you a maximum of 8 frames a second, and in reality it might be much less. Since standard video is 30 frames a second, this is obviously not going to be very high quality.
Video Genius records at a much lower resolution than the 1Phone 3GS or iPad 4 – 210×160, as compared to 640×480 and 1280×720, respectively. Recordings in normal mode have quite an acceptable appearance, though, but those shot in long-video mode are very jerky and jumpy. There are also some issues with other features – the viewer doesn’t seem to work, which means quitting the app, and going to the phone’s built-in viewing app, which isn’t very convenient. It would also be nice to have the option to share videos by uploading or emailing them.
For capturing moments spontaneously, when this the only tool at hand, Video Genius’ limited capabilities do the trick, but if you’re wanting longer videos, of higher resolution, you’ll have to consider other options, such as upgrading your phone.