Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Podcasting 101

The spoken word still carries weight and reading the lips that speak the words still closes a deal. Whether the subject is business, a social cause or soul inspiration, having your say, by podcasting, is as easy as 1-2-3-4-5 and very affordable. “Podcasting is distributing an audio file or video over the Internet from a blog, Web site or social media like MySpace or Facebook,” explains Andreas Jackson (www.andreasjackson.com), content producer and Hip Hop culture worker. The podcasts are downloaded from a site or received from a web feed. Web feeds send short notices about updates to your blog to those who subscribe to it. Feeds don’t require divulging an email address and you don’t have wait for people to visit your blog. Don’t let the pod in podcasting fool you, people listen or view the content from a MP3 player, iPod or computer media player.

Jackson held a podcasting workshop at the Third World Newsreel, November 18, 2008. He came with equipment and online resources. The quick and affordable platforms for podcasting are blogs or social media because there are no monthly or annual fees to keep one. RSS and Atom are the common choices for web feeds. To capture your content, a digital camera and portable digital audio recorder are required. To ensure vocal quality, attach a microphone and earphones to the recorder. The digital audio recorder may save using MP3 files or wave files. MP3 produces a richer fuller sound but take up much space whereas; wave files (.wav) are highly compressed yet bring an acceptable listening experience. Broadcast quality recorder sell for a $120 and lower; slim digital cameras with 8.1 pixel range from $120 to $200.

The next step is editing the audio file. Editing choices include open source Audacity, Sony Creative Sound Forge and Windows Wave. Audacity is the free editing software. An audio file may be edited for length, inappropriate language, dead air, coughing or other unwanted sounds. Where background music or another file is desired, then a mixer is used. There is mixer software that replicates four decks and sound controls on the PC monitor and actual tabletop equipment from which to choose. Jackson uses Tractor software and an external soundcard. A tabletop mixer prices range from $180 to $270.

Besides placing your podcast on your blog, you can also upload it to You Tube, BLIP.tv or Brightcove. These portals automatically convert to flash for great viewing.

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