Just Add Singers: iPad Recipes for Recording

(cross-posted at ChoralNet
So far in discussing iOS, we’ve talked about some of the microphone options, as well as some of the apps available. Many people using the iPad, though, get limited in the possibilities of iOS by working only within one app space. We talked about this a bit when we discussed apps in our last post, but the key to truly using the power of the iPad is assembling hardware and software into workflows which combine multiple apps. Some call this process “app smashing.” Again, where we’re used to working within one comprehensive application on Macs or PCs, iOS apps are designed to perform more limited tasks but make it easier to share data between apps. With that said, let’s look at 5 processes to combine resources and power between different apps. The key to all of these processes is the share button, which looks like  in iOS 6 and some older apps, and  in iOS 7. This is the universal “get me somewhere else!” button in iOS, and is pretty common to most apps.
With all of these examples, please remember that these are only samples of possible workflows– these apps are not “chosen to work together.” Any of these apps and myriad more can be used to combine forces.

I want to… Share Audio with my Choir Today (Right now, no setup involved)

Let’s use a basic but common sharing example: you record an example and want to share it with your ensemble. How would we approach this?
  1. Contacts (already installed): Pass around before rehearsal or during breaks and collect and ask each member to enter their name and e-mail.
  2. Camera (already installed): Record a video example.
  3. Camera: After rehearsal, press the share icon, and choose “Mail.” This will open up…
  4. Mail: enter the names of your ensemble members and hit Send.
This works really well for short examples, but mail has a size limit, which will bite us if we want to send larger examples. Let’s step up a level.

I want to… Record Larger Audio Examples and Share them with my Choir (A little more setup)

Larger audio examples require a storage solution. For more information on some of these options, see “Storage and Sharing” from earlier this year.
  1. Notes (already installed): Create a blank note and pass around the device for people to enter their e-mail addresses.
  2. Google Drive: Create an account, or use an existing account. Create a folder and share it with the e-mail addresses that you’ve collected. They’ll automatically receive a link in their e-mails, so you don’t have to worry about sending it to them.
  3. Camera (already installed): Record your video example.
  4. Google Drive: Upload the video from Google Drive. This is an example where the workflow that normally works doesn’t (pushing the share button from the originating app), but Google Drive can access the Camera Roll and all of your videos to upload. By uploading the file into the shared folder, it will now be accessible to anyone that you invited to the group.

I want to… Record Audio and Clean it up for Conference or Festival Submission

This is a general guideline– check with your specific submission criteria
Most submission committees want MP3’s, which are pretty standard. They’re lightweight and easy to upload, and nearly any device now is capable of playing them back.
  1. TwistedWave: Record your audio. Edit the beginning and end of the track to be able to cut out extraneous noise. Copy the audio.
  2. GarageBand: Create a blank audio track and paste the audio from TwistedWave into GarageBand. GarageBand will let you e-mail the file as an MP3. Depending on your submission protocol, you might be able to e-mail it directly, or you may have to use a web uploader to submit it. Unfortunately, web uploaders are very iffy on the iPad– this is the exception where I’ll suggest e-mailing it to:
  3. Your computer: Open the e-mail and download the MP3 file. You can then upload it to the web uploader from there.

I want to… Record a Music Video of My Group

You can import music from GarageBand into iMovie, so our process looks a lot like the last recipe, with only the last step changed.
  1. TwistedWave: Record the audio. Copy it to…
  2. GarageBand: Paste it into an audio track and save it. Import it into…
  3. iMovie: Record your video tracks and put them together. Export it via:
  4. Vimeo or YouTube. Be mindful that copyrighted music could be flagged for removal (although choral group recordings don’t usually get caught).

I want to… Make all of this Faster!

Remember the multi-touch gestures which make navigating between multiple apps easier and faster: four fingers on the screen, then swiped up will expose icons for the most recently used apps. Four fingers swiped left or right navigates directly between the most recent apps, and saves a lot of time when bouncing between two apps in particular.

What About You?

This is just a sample of how to use apps in combination for basic audio tasks– this doesn’t begin to consider options like integrating Keynote or Prezi to create presentations for School Boards, Department Meetings or potential Donors/Sponsors, nor integrating straight into social media apps like Facebook or Twitter. What are your favorite combinations? How do you find yourself “app smashing” with different apps in your toolbox?

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