The Support Group Blog

Displaying iPad Video on Your Desktop

Last week I presented a webinar titled Maximizing Mobility with FileMaker Go. As we prepared for the session, we encountered a challenge: how to best present the portion of the material that takes place on an iPad and broadcast it via WebEx.

First, a little background: last year we started doing FileMaker Go presentations here in our offices.  Since we didn’t have Steve Jobs’s magic iPad that could display it’s contents on a screen in keynote presentations, we were faced with the problem of how to show a solution in FileMaker Go.  One solution is to use a webcam pointed at an iPhone, display the video on our desktop Mac or PC, and then mirror the desktop to our classroom screen.  The IPEVO Point 2 View USB camera is an excellent model for this.  Going a step further, we used an ELMO (electronic light-modulated overhead), which provides video out to connect to a projector for presentations.  We bought a couple for our offices, using the much better projection to display FileMaker Go on the iPad on our classroom screens and switching back to FileMaker Pro on a Mac or PC using the ELMO’s built-in video switch.

Then came the iPad 2, and it’s ability to do video mirroring. Just plug a VGA adapter into the iPad, connect it to a KVM switch connected to a projector, and BOOM: the iPad, and FileMaker Go, visible to all on the screen.  This setup works perfectly for in-person presentations with a projector, where we can switch between the iPad and desktop video sources.

In a webinar, though, we can’t share through WebEx the iPad screen or FileMaker Go. The only solution is to somehow show the iPad screen in a window on the desktop, and then share the desktop in the webinar.  The webcam method will work for this, but the video quality is only adequate, and it’s tricky to set up the lighting properly.  What we really wanted was to use the iPad’s video mirroring capabilities, and capture the video output.

To do this, you need a VGA or DVI video capture card. After researching various setups, I took John Sindelar’s suggestion of the Epiphan VGA2USB, easily usable with my MacBook Pro (or any other Mac or PC).  It is, however, a bit pricey: the base model is $300, capturing 10 frames per second for the iPad’s 1024x768 resolution.  I connected the VGA adapter to the iPad, another cable from the adapter to the VGA2USB, and connected the VGA2USB to my MacBook’s USB port.  I used the WhackedTV application recommended by Epiphan to display the captured video, and then shared my desktop via WebEx.  Overall, it worked well, though WebEx viewers saw the video flash occasionally.

Want to see the results?  Check out the webinar.

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