Monday, March 9, 2009

Introduction to Podcasting

Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. This one is not meant to be a "bible" on podcasting. Its just an intro :-)

Peace,

MadBrad

Are you looking to find out all you need to know to create and publish audio and video podcasts? Well you have found the right place.

A podcast is, in short, a piece of information stored on a server, that is being fed (made public) through a file (RSS Feed) on the internet that can be accessed using a reader. It can be delivered in any format to any platform. Whether it’s just text or images and video. From mobile phones and Palms to computers.

Podcasting, Palmcasting, Learncasting, Vodcasting, Vidcasting, Vlogging are a few of the many ways to refer to sharing your content to the world for mass consumption. In short, the only reason any variation on the word podcast even came into use was because it originally started as just audio. Now, with video content being just as easy to produce and deliver to the World Wide Web, due to increased internet download speeds, it gave some of the original audio podcasters, and the new video podcasters the idea that they should remain separate in name so that there is no confusion.

I will refer to audio podcasters as podcaster and video podcasters as vidcasters. Both of which are related to the word broadcasting. And that is what a podcast does. There are just a few easy steps to get your first podcast online. But before it can go online for all to see and comment on, you'll first have to get the equipment you need.

If you are making an audio podcast you will need the following:
1. Microphone
2. Recording software
3. Unique content to produce

If you are making a video podcast, you will need the following:
1. Video camera
2. Video editing software
3. Video converting software
4. Unique content to produce

There are literally hundreds of choices for software out there to use for editing audio, and video. If you are on a budget, and cannot spend money on this, you are not out of the game. Windows, and Mac PC's come with simple software that you can use. And you can use even a simple desktop microphone, and your family video camera to achieve your goal of making a podcast. There is also high end software and equipment. Here are my top 3 picks for free, and fee based software and equipment. They have been chosen for their ease of use.

Software:

Free audio Software picks for Windows:

1. Audacity www.audacity.sourceforge.net
2. WavePad (free download) www.nch.com.au/wavepad
3. QuickTime (free download) www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

Free Video Software picks for Windows:

1. Windows Movie maker (pre-installed)
2. VideoSpin www.videospin.com
3. QuickTime (free download) www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

Free Audio Software picks for Mac:

1. GarageBand (pre-installed, $79 to upgrade if you don’t have it preinstalled)
2. Audacity www.audacity.sourceforge.net
3. WavePad (free download) www.nch.com.au/wavepad

Free video Software picks for Mac:

1. iMovie (pre-installed)
2. QuickTime (free download) www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

Many of the fee based software makers, have trial versions available from their websites. Download them and test them out, before you buy.

$$$Fee base audio Software picks for Windows$$$:


1. Sound Forge Audio Studio From $54.95 (free trial available) www.sonycreativesoftware.com/audiostudio
2. Sound Forge 9 Professional From $299.95 (free trial available) www.sonycreativesoftware.com/soundforge
3. Audio Editor Pro 59.95 (free trial available) www.audioeditorpro.com

Fee base Video Software picks for Windows:
1. Corel VideoStudio $99.99 (free trial available) www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite/us/en/Product/1175714228541#versionTabview=tab0&tabview=tab0
2. Adobe Premiere
Fee base audio Software pick for Mac:
1. Soundtrack Pro 2
Fee base Video Software pick for Mac:
1. Final Cut

Hardware:

You can use almost any computer microphone. Although a good pop filter like you see in recording studios will help the sound dramatically, the main thing is to ensure there are no outside sounds on your recording.

And most home video cameras can be linked to your computer. They vary in price. The Sony HandiCam is a great choice for under $300, and can be easily linked to your computer for video capturing.

Next, we'll cover the most important part, producing unique content for your podcast. Whether you are sharing family recipes, your very own sports talk show, a comedy show, or lessons on subjects like how to play the guitar or cleaning stains from your carpeting, your content needs to be unique, and make your audience want to see your next episode. So, first start with a production plan. Write your shows out, and create the show "clock". Luckily, with high-speed internet, your audience can get shows from short format, 3-5 minutes, to long format over an hour. This will set you apart from any other podcast on your subject. Once you have your show written out, and have a show clock, you can now produce it. Whether you are producing audio, or video, you must first make sure your environment is free from outside noises. Vidcasters will need to pick a "set" for each of your show segments, even if it is just one, it needs to be neat and clean, and free of objectionable props and images on the wall, and on your clothing unless that is the point of your podcast. :-)

Once your environment is ready, you can produce your unique content. Once you have finished producing it, you need to edit it. If you are recording audio directly into your computer, you are ready to open it with your audio editing software. Vidcasters, if you shoot to tape or memory card, you will have to import/capture your video. This is a simple process using your video editing software.

Listen to, and watch what you produced. Edit out the blank sound and video bits. Make sure you only put out there what you want. Then re-produce any elements that you are not proud of, and edit them into to your final product.

Now it’s time to create your podcast feed. Here’s what you need.

1. Final Produced episode(s)
2. A webhost for the episode(s) (Unless you use Blogger.com which allows free uploads)
3. A blog that has the episode details, and a link to the hosted episode file
4. An RSS Feed that uses the blog to enable podcasting so that users can subscribe to your podcast.

Let’s find a webhost for the episodes. There are several limitations that you need to be aware of when using a free podcast host.

1. Is there a download limit?
2. Is the limit based on bandwidth, or number of downloads?
3. What happens when/if I go over the established limit?
4. What are the file type limitations?
5. Do they run ads with your content? If so, is there revenue sharing?

Many internet service providers will offer you a free website, and free web storage. I don’t suggest you use this, as you will have to move your podcast if you decide to change internet service providers. You want a place that will grow with you, and that will be there for you for the long haul.

If you are able/willing to pay for your hosting, you will find the limitations are fewer.

If you already have webhosting for a website you have, you can use it to store your episodes. You would need to make sure that your host will play the file type that you are using.

Top Podcast hosting websites
1. Switchpod www.switchpod.com (a free package, and upgrades from $5-$30)
2. Liberated Syndication www.libsyn.com
3. Cyber Ears www.cyberears.com (audio only)

Once you have a webhost, you can upload your episode(s). Next, copy the address to the episode(s) to a blank document so you can have it ready for pasting later. This is the link to the file itself on your webhost that you just uploaded.

Now you’ll need to choose one of the many free blog sites, to create your blog, which you will use to create your RSS feed. Blogger is a good simple one to use. Then you’ll need to use a service like FeedBurner to publish your podcast RSS feed.

Blog websites:

1. Blogger www.blogger.com
2. WordPress www.wordpress.com

Once you have chosen a blog site, you will be able to use a webpage interface to create and go live with your podcast episodes anytime, from any computer in the world. You will need to provide a little information about your podcast first.

1. Podcast name
2. The date
3. A web address (if you have a website)
4. The category that you feel it fits into
5. Your email address

Then you will need to create your first episode. You will have to provide some information about it.

1. Episode title
2. Running time
3. Category
4. A link to the hosted episode (or upload to the server using Blogger.com)

Depending on which one you use, they may ask for more or less information.
Now we’ll create the RSS feed. FeedBurner is the best around, and is free. It will keep statistics on your podcast, and its subscribers telling you some basic information. For $5 more, you can get more advanced statistics.
Go to www.feedburner.com, and create an account. Once logged in you see a box to paste your blog web address into. Make sure you check “I am a podcaster”, and hit Next. FeedBurner will verify that your blog address works. Then hit next. FeedBurner next will ask you information about your feed so that it can be placed into iTunes.

The first question relates to what elements FeedBurner will send to iTunes. Choose “any rich media file”, if you plan on using audio and video files. Or choose one or the other, if it will only be one.

Choose a category that best describes your podcast. If you have created an image for your podcast, which I suggest you do, you should paste the address to it in the next box. Create a subtitle, and a summary of your podcast for the next two boxes. Then enter a few keywords, for easy searching to find your podcast. Enter an email address. And make sure that Add Media RSS is checked, so that your feed is picked up by Yahoo.

If your podcast is for adults only, make sure to choose yes in the next box. Then add copyright info, and your name as the author. Then hit Next.

FeedBurner now offers you stats. You should check the Click through’s box, and the enclosures box. If you want more detailed stats you can check “I want more” and pay $5 for the more detailed stats.

Once that is done, the feed address to the podcast is what your users will use to tap into your "feed". They can even got to the address using their browser, and choose episodes to "stream". Or instead they can subscribe to your RSS Feed using a "reader/podcatcher" like iTunes, and many others. They are normally free.

Now you should add yourself to iTunes, and a bunch of podcast directories. This is how the world finds your feed. Many of them have a rating system. So you can see how your podcast stacks up against the rest.

Adding to iTunes is simple. Open iTunes and choose Podcasts. In the middle of the page choose Submit a podcast. Paste your FeedBurner feed address into the box, and hit continue. You must have an account with iTunes to submit a podcast. It is free to join. If you do not have an account, ask a friend or family member to submit it for you. Next you should see your podcast information, and the image you chose. Then hit Submit. You’ll see a message saying it will not be added immediately, as it needs to be reviewed by the staff at iTunes. It should only take a week or so.

But you can email the same address you used to submit to iTunes, to your friends and family, and they can subscribe using their favorite podcatcher (feed reader).

Here are the top directories. You should submit your podcast to all of them.

Podcast directories:
1. Podcast Alley www.podcastalley.com
2. Podcast Directory www.podcastdirectory.com
3. Mefeedia www.mefeedia.com
4. Podcast Pickle www.podcastpickle.com
5. PodNova www.podnova.com

Now you are off and running. Please check back here for more articles. I’ll go into the creative process, and do head to head comparisons of the best free podcasting sites and software.

1 comment:

Tatjana said...

Great article... Posted also on Blogger Idea -your blogging friend