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Revision as of 15:18, 21 August 2008 by 66.41.74.19 (Talk) (Why would I want to create podcasts?)

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Rondo Workshop Schedule -- A schedule of Monday night workshops at Rondo Library presented by St. Paul E-Democracy.

Intro

Podcasting for free is, unfortunately, not a simple process. Furthermore, the services available for free are not as powerful or reliable as you may want, particularly if you are podcasting in some sort of professional capacity. That said, there is no reason you cannot create a professional-grade podcast for free, and this workshop will show you how.

In order to fully understand podcasting, you must first understand blogs and RSS feeds.

  • For our purposes, a blog is a website consisting of "posts," arranged in chronological order.

What is a podcast?

Podcasting in Plain English

A podcast is fundamentally an audio file, and is almost always in the MP3 format. In this sense, it is no different from any other MP3 on the internet. Therefore, podcasting should not be associated with any particular piece of software or hardware, or a particular brand: podcasting does not require an iPod, or any other Apple product.

One way of thinking about a podcast is that it is like a radio show, with each episode of the show posted online as a separate file.

Another way of thinking about a podcast is by comparing it to a magazine. As with going to a news stand or library for a magazine, you can listen to individual episodes of any podcast online. Alternately, you can subscribe to podcasts, causing each new episode to automatically download to your computer. Most people just listen online, rather than subscribing. I imagine this is similar for many magazines.

Why would I want to listen to podcasts?

There's a huge number of podcasts out there, on a vast number of different topics. Chances are there's at least one you'll find interesting, and because it's online you can listen to it whenever you want. Or, you can download it and listen to it on an MP3 player (remember, this is not a necessary step). Then, if it's good, you can subscribe and get notified when new episodes come out, or even have each new episode appear automatically on your computer.

Why would I want to create podcasts?

It is important to return here to the fact that podcasting can be a complicated process, particularly because you must often find your own hosting. For this reason, a single recording of under 10 minutes in length is easier to publish as a video than an audio recording. This is because while it is very easy to post a short video to a website such as YouTube, there is nothing comparable for audio files. There are, however, cases where it is much easier in the long run to go the podcast route. This is particularly the case when you want to publish long audio files at a regular interval. A good example of this would be audio recordings of a monthly speaker series, or a monthly music series for that matter. One or two hours is not prohibitively long for a podcast, although it may be for video at currently standard bandwidths, meaning that audio-only is ideal for these sorts of recordings. Additionally, because these events are recurring, it makes sense to use a technology such as podcasting that allows users to subscribe to the series, rather than simply posting each file separately.

How do I podcast?

I suggest using the How to Podcast Tutorial

Other tutorials I have found include:

Also, here is a helpful glossary.

Plan Your Show Ahead of Time

General Planning

  • Topic: anything you want
  • Format: each episode should follow roughly the same format, so plan this out ahead of time.
  • Episode length
  • Frequency of new shows
  • Size: knowing the format, length and frequency of your show will enable you to estimate what kind of hosting you'll need.

Planning For Each Episode

  • Plan what you're going to say (outline or script)
  • Decide ahead of time how much editing you want to do

Gear

  • Computer
  • Either a separate audio recorder or a Mic for the computer (many laptops and Macs have mics built-in).

Software

  • Audio recorder/editor: Audacity
  • MP3 Encoder: LAME (may also be possible in iTunes)

Determine your storage and hosting needs

  • Using the per-minute file size from this chart, estimate the average size of your podcasts.
  • Multiply this number by the number of podcasts you want to store online to get the total storage space you need.
  • Multiply the average file size of your podcasts by the number of people you think will listen to each episode and the number of episodes you plan to release per month. This will give you your bandwidth needs.

Record, Edit and Save Your Podcast

Audacity Tutorial for Podcasters -- includes videos explaining how to use the software.

Using Audacity and LAME, record your podcast and save it as an MP3 file.

  1. Download Software
    1. Audacity (note the install-free computer lab version)
    2. LAME (or search the Audacity site for LAME)
    3. Note that there are online help files on the Audacity site.
  2. Open Audacity
  3. Record
  4. Edit
    1. Trim outside
    2. Silence Selection
    3. Copy
    4. Paste
    5. Cut
    6. Timeshift
    7. Click Track
  5. Download Audio
    1. go to creativecommons.org
    2. go to CCmixter
    3. search for beat
    4. Find 10BeatBass
    5. Right click and open 10BeatBass in a new tab or window
      1. Note that the copyright allows for remixing
    6. Download the mp3 to your desktop
  6. Edit Downloaded Audio
    1. Import Audio
    2. Fade in
    3. Fade out
    4. Silence
    5. Duplicate
    6. Mute
  7. Save as mp3
    1. Set the bitrate under Quality and Preferences (see chart for recommended settings). This will change the size of the file.
    2. Be sure to set the ID3 tags. When you open an MP3 in Windows Media Player or iTunes and it comes with information such as Artist, Title and Track Number, this information has been saved in the file's ID3 tags. A discription of this process for Audacity can be found here
    3. Save
    4. Export as mp3 (requires LAME)

Publish Your Podcast

What you need:

  • Web Hosting
  • Blog
  • RSS Feed
  • Blog
    • This is where you will post the announcement for each new episode, along with notes and the feed itself
    • Most free blogs should work, including Blogger and Wordpress.
  • RSS Feed
    • This will enable people to subscribe to the podcast.
    • Most blogs will automatically produce a feed.
    • Feedburner can also be used to give you more control over your feed.

Steps:

 

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