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Podcasting Tools

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iTunes itself is a free tool that can be used to convert some files and CDs to MP3 and label any file destined for iTunes U with the appropriate meta (ID3) information. Please see the article iTunes as a production tool.


[edit] PC & Mac Tools

[edit] Audio and Video Recording

  1. Apple QuickTime and QuickTime Pro: QuickTime allows individuals to record themselves and save it as wave file which can then be converted into MP3 via iTunes. QuickTime Pro (About $25) allows recordings to be saved in a number of formats and allows for the transcoding of a number of existing formats into podcast-friendly file formats -

[edit] Audio Recording

  1. Audacity: Open source cross-platform audio recording and editing software. Supports importing and exporting WAV, AIFF, MP3 (via the LAME encoder, downloaded separately) and Ogg Vorbis. Also has a number of built-in filters -

[edit] Screencasting

  1. TechSmith's tools
    1. SnagIt (~ $25.00 USD): The Pro version of SnagIt offers a very straightforward screencasting tool and way to record what is happening on screen and allow live narration over it. The related free version of Jing allows for recording videos that are less than five minutes long and that can be published on the web as an individual file (Isaak, Brock University's Sakai-Based LMS for example) or through a single step process to . It is the paid SnagIt software that can be used for iTunesU podcasts and allows for post-recording editing.
    2. Camtasia Studio/Mac: Camtasia Studio is a screen video capture program published by TechSmith. This software can record almost anything in Windows or on OS X and provides opportunities to narrate as one records or in post-production. Camtasia exports in many formats and has lots of features. The Brock University Campus store and ITS carry version of this software at educational prices. See also our specific and informal Camtasia Notes.
    3. There is also SnagIt, but it seems dated and falls between the other two products in a way that makes it hard to choose. -
  2. Presentation software: The most recent versions of PowerPoint and Keynote allow presenter to record a presentation and export it. In the case of Keynote it is in a format ready to be uploaded to iTunes U. With PowerPoint in order to add the WMV it produces to iTunes U it will have to be converted to an MPEG-based movie.
  3. Podcaster: Podcaster publishes podcasts and enhanced podcasts quickly and easily -

[edit] Mac-only Tools

[edit] Audio and Video Recording

  1. Apple Garage Band: Full Podcast production tool. Comes with every new mac and with copies of iLife and requires video be imported via it's compaion iMovie (which can also be used for podcasting directly) -

[edit] Screencasting

  1. Apple Keynote: Keynote files and PowerPoint files can be "recorded" to include narration and then exported as a "Web movie" which can be added to iTunesU. -
  2. Apple Quicktime 10: Apple OSX 10.6 and later comes with a version of Quicktime that can be used to make audio, video and "screen-based" recordings.
  3. Screenium: A low cost screen capturing tool that includes a picture-oin-picture of the speaker's web cam:
    • After successful use of Screenium 1 Brock University instructors have found Screenium 2.0.2 to be unstable and in-able to record from secondary displays.
    • Brock University community members can receive 25%, follow this link to get further information:
  4. Camtasia:Mac A mostly unrelated to the PC version of TechSmiths Camtasia. See also our specific and informal Camtasia Notes.
  5. ScreenFlow: For "high end" screen recordings. Captures the screen, a camera and your voice at high quality and allows for editting inside the program.
  6. Profcast: ProfCast is a versatile, powerful, yet very simple to use tool for recording presentations including PowerPoint and/or Keynote slides for creating enhanced podcasts. Retails for around $60 -

[edit] Hardware

Typical setup
Typical setup

The jury is out as far as the best items to buy, but price is often a good guide. In general web cams are good enough for most video situations, but built in microphones are not. With respect to microphones, headsets tend to work best for audio capture.

Blue Microphones Eyeball box
Blue Microphones Eyeball box
The CTLET has had the best success with Blue Microphones Snowball and Eyeball products. But generally analog mini-stereo mics sound awful, while USB mics are not necessarily great, but the low-end starts from a higher point than other similarly priced solutions. Blue technologies products are carried by Best Buy Canada.

If you want to capture video from one computer to recorded on another computer Epiphan (a Canadian company) has VGA/DVI to USB adaptors that can be used for this.

[edit] Recommendations for exporting from these tools to a "podcastable" format

Recommended Content Formats and Settings

  • Exporting content is fundamentally about achieving the ideal compromise between high quality and low file size.
  • iTunes U only accepts files for upload that are smaller than 1 Gigabyte. Larger files will need to be reduced or partitioned.
  • Audio files must be either AAC or MP3 with appropriate file extensions (.m4a, .mp3).
  • To use specific cover artwork with an audio track, use the AAC file type format (.m4a).
  • Video files must be MPEG4 optionally with H.264 compression with appropriate file extensions (.mp4, .m4v, .mov).
  • The majority of content captured for podcasts DO NOT benefit from being in stereo.
  • Documents should be in Portable Document Format (PDF)

When you create and edit video or audio content, export your videos by targeting iPod, iPhone or Apple TV from the Export pop-up menu in QuickTime Pro (or related iLife, etc tools).

Quality Medium Properties
Good Audio Stereo or mono AAC VBR, 24 kHz sample rate

Stereo or mono MP3 VBR, 24 kHz sample rate

Screen MPEG4 screen capture 50% of main display, Stereo AAC VBR, 44 kHz sample rate
Video 640x480 (720x480 for 16:9 wide screen) MPEG4 Video, Stereo AAC VBR, 44 kHz sample rate
Better Audio Stereo AAC VBR, 44 kHz sample rate

Stereo MP3 VBR, 44 kHz sample rate

Screen MPEG4 screen capture 66% of main display, Stereo AAC VBR, 44 kHz sample rate
Video 640x480 (720x480 for 16:9 wide screen) H.264 Video, Stereo AAC VBR, 44 kHz sample rate

For very rare cases

Audio Uncompressed Stereo WAV or high-rate AAC or MP3, 48 kHz sample rate
Screen MPEG4 screen capture 75% of main display, Stereo AAC VBR, 44 kHz sample rate
Video 640x480 (720x480 for 16:9 wide screen) Uncompressed Video, Uncompressed Stereo, 48 kHz sample rate
Diagram of common aspect ratios.
Diagram of common aspect ratios.

Most small variations are generally not an issue.

Standard definition is 4:3, the common "wide screen" or "HD" ratios are 16:9, and for some reason the iPhone/iPod Touch uses 16:10.33.

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