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Netcasting – Manual


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Podcast/webcast manual and training – Produced for e-NC under a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, these products educate the reader about podcasting and webcasting. They also provide a tutorial describing how to produce a first time podcast for free.

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Netcasting – Manual

  1. 1. Business Connections Webcasting and PodcastingCreating Electronic Media for Small Businesses
  2. 2. Table of ContentsPreface 2Section 1: Netcasting 3 1.0 What is Netcasting? 3 1.1 What Has Influenced Netcasting? 4 1.2 Why Would You Want to Create a Netcast? 7 1.3 Who, What, When, Where and How? 8 1.4 How Much Does a Netcast Cost? 12Section 2: Webcasting 13 2.0 Types of Webcasts 13 2.1 Planning, Execution, and Follow-up 15 2.2 How Much Does a Webcast Cost? 16 2.3 Delivery Challenges for Streaming Applications 17 2.4 Webcast or Podcast? 17Section 3: Podcasting Basics 18 3.0 What is a Podcast? 18 3.1 How do You Find, Subscribe to, Listen to, or View a Podcast? 20 3.2 How do You Produce/Publish a Podcast? 26 3.3 How Much Does a Podcast Cost? 36 3.4 What is a Copyright and How Does it Affect What is Produced? 36Section 4: Create Your First Audio Podcast 39 4.0 Planning 39 4.1 Record and Edit the Audio 41 4.2 Compress and Tag the Audio 46 4.3 Create the RSS Feed 49 4.4 Publish Your Podcast 50 4.5 List the Podcast in a Directory 54 4.6 Final Thoughts 55Appendix A: Resources 56Appendix B: Glossary of Terms 60Appendix C: Podcasting Cost Model 67End Notes, Disclaimer and Credits 69 1
  3. 3. Preface This manual is intended for a non-technical businessperson, someone who is aware of the Internet but not familiar with netcasting. Section One discusses both webcasting and podcasting under a broader umbrella concept called netcasting. Common influences and planning aspects for both types of netcasting are presented. Section Two reviews different types of webcasting, how webcasting is used, and how to plan and price a webcast. Section Two is relatively short and only presents a high-level overview of webcasting, as this manual’s primary focus is podcasting. Section Three presents podcasting and Section Four steps you through an example of creating a simple podcast. Three appendices are included. Appendix A lists resources where you can learn more about webcasting and podcasting. Appendix B is a glossary of terms and abbreviations to help you in understanding the concepts presented. Appendix C is a cost model for production. Podcasting has quickly become a mainstream tool for both business and education. While entertainment podcasts are also very popular, the resources required to create professional entertainment can be significant. Low-budget entertainment podcasts can certainly be produced, but it is beyond the intention of this manual to address either of these areas. This manual focuses on using very capable, low-cost solutions for creating a podcast. Today there are a number of high-quality, cost effective tools and instructional aides available that review how to create high-level professional digital audio and video content. The scope for this manual though is to orient the reader with podcasting and how to create a very simple, first-time podcast. The e-NC Authority is neutral to different technologies, vendors and products. This manual contains references to various vendors and products related to webcasting and podcasting. These references are included to provide you with a general concept of the types of products needed to listen to, participate in, or produce netcasts.Vendors and products are referenced only to provide examples of what may be required for netcasting, to point out broad differences in products, and to provide approximate pricing. The e-NC Authority does not recommend one product over another. These products were identified in 2007.You should perform your own research of current market conditions for pricing, as well as for responsible vendors for such products, before making a selection. If you have comments or questions regarding this manual, please contact the e-NC Authority at
  4. 4. Section 1: Netcasting1.0 What is Netcasting?Netcasting DefinedNetcasting is the creation and delivery of digital media content - audio or video files - over a datanetwork in either real-time/streaming or time-shifted/downloadable format. The data networkused is usually the Internet or an intranet presence.The most popular forms of netcasting are webcasting and podcasting. Webcasting relies on streamingtechnology to deliver content to users in real-time. Podcasting uses a publish-and-subscribe model so that newcontent can be automatically downloaded for later listening or viewing. Webcasting has existed for the lastdecade, while podcasting began in 2004. If you use the Internet search engine Google and look for referencesto the word “webcast,” you are likely to find in excess of 30 million matching sites. In contrast, if you Googlethe word “podcast,” you will see closer to 130 million matching sites. In three short years, podcasting hassurpassed webcasting to become the most affordable and effective type of netcast.Webcasting DefinedWebcasting is the creation and delivery of digital media content, either audio or video files, overa data network in real-time/streaming format. Using the word webcast can be confusing since it impliesmany different uses. For each year the Internet has matured and improved, new webcasting applications withnew functionalities have evolved. Webcasts can be categorized into two groups: • One-way (unidirectional: provider → consumer), such as a video broadcast on the Internet • Two-way (bidirectional: host ↔ participants), such as a Web-based, interactive seminar (webinar)Most often, a webcast refers to either an Internet video broadcast or a webinar. A webinar attendee connectsto the Internet, opens a browser window, and typically watches PowerPoint slides presented in real-time. Bydialing in to a telephone conference, the viewer also hears the presenter talking through the slides. Using built-in instant messaging (IM) technology, an attendee can type questions to the presenter. An operator is usuallypresent to announce the start and finish of the session and open the floor to moderated questions after thepresentation.Podcasting DefinedPodcasting is a netcast that delivers syndicated media content over a network in a downloadable,time-shifted format. Podcasting has grown from infancy to global adolescence since it first began in 2004.This growth is owed to a variety of influences, including strong support from the marketing/entertainment andcomputer industries. Podcasting boasts low costs for production and distribution, and has significant advantagesdue to the flexibility of when and where content can be played by the end-user. 3
  5. 5. A podcast is comprised of two elements: • An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) “feed” for subscribing to new updates • Digital media files (audio, video, image, and PDF) that are referenced by the RSS feed 1.1 What Has Influenced Netcasting? Changing Technology I once heard my wife tell a story that her great grandmother Cinda had crossed the Mississippi River in a covered wagon, train, automobile, and towards the end of her life in an airplane flown by a barnstorming aviator. What dramatic evolutions she witnessed in her lifetime. As a young boy I watched early Mercury rocket launches as the United States and the Soviet Union raced for dominance in space. My father’s generation relied on their imaginations to visualize the stories presented on radio programs. The 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” frightened listeners into believing an actual Martian invasion was occurring.1 While video is powerful, using audio as a canvas to paint your story can sometimes create an even more impacting and memorable experience. The next time I prepare to cut the grass in our yard, I’ll load up my iPod portable media player with a collection of country songs, British Broadcasting Company news broadcasts, and a variety of audio podcasts on my current topics of interest. While mowing, I’ll listen. And when I stop for a water break, I might watch a few music videos downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Web site. The evolution of nearly all great technologies begins in obscurity but explodes into social consciousness with a memorable event or adamant sponsor. To appreciate the present and grasp the future, it can be helpful to take a step back and look at things from a historical perspective. Let’s review early technology, and the driving forces that have influenced the netcast revolution: • In 1902, Reginald Fessenden sent the first musical notes a distance of 48 miles over wireless radio, from his location at Roanoke Island, N.C.2 • On Nov. 2, 1920 announcers at radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh read telegraph ticker election results over the air.3 Although a fraction of the population had radio receivers, KDKA transmitted over most of the eastern United States. The broadcast delivery of news had begun. • On March 12, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began using radio as a way to talk with all Americans.4, 5 President Roosevelt’s famous fireside chats not only communicated the policy and mindset of his administration, but also helped him to create a personal bond with the citizenry. • John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State University designed the first digital computer in the late 1930s. At 750 pounds and the size of a small table, it had a capacitor-based storage drum that stored less than 400 characters in memory. • In the 1940s, World War II saw electronic computers in warfare decoding secret messages and calculating missile ballistics. Computers such as the University of Pennsylvania’s ENIAC (Electronic4
  6. 6. Section 1 - cont. Numerical Integrator and Computer) were created. The ENIAC was a behemoth. It weighed 30 tons, operated with thousands of tubes, relays, and capacitors, used hundreds of kilowatts of electric power, and filled entire rooms. • In the mid-1970s, my freshman engineering course became the first class at Iowa State University to use hand-held electronic calculators instead of slide rules. We still used the IBM 360 mainframe computers in the basement of the computer science building to run large programs, but the 9 ounce HP-35 calculators could run the same ballistics program that used to require the ENIAC. • Today we are surrounded by an incredible wealth of shrinking electronic technology. A $50 cell phone in present times has more computational power than the first computers that sent a spaceship to the moon. Not only this, but they can run on a rechargeable battery for days, and will slip easily into a shirt pocket.Analog to Digital MediaEarly radio, 78 and 45 RPM vinyl records, and even television were all analog technologies. Analog signals aresusceptible to interference and noise, and are not a good format for storage or duplication.Just as audio and visual media have transitioned from analog to digital format, we are now seeing similaradvances in the quality, compression, and display size of digital media. Digital Signal Processing (DSP)technology converts sound or video into compressed digital data, and back again. While the average consumerwill not hear much about DSP chips, they are at the heart of nearly every modern digital media device. DSPchips are fueling the evolution of digital audio and video from standard to high and soon ultra-high definition.Connecting Everyone and EverythingWhen President Roosevelt began his fireside chats, less than 10 percent of the U.S. population (123 million)owned radios.6 In contrast, 40 percent of the 296 million U.S. residents in 2005 had broadband Internetconnectivity.7, 8Cisco Systems is one of the companies that helped to build the Internet. John Chambers, Cisco’s president andCEO, predicted the day would come when communication devices will be so small that we would wearhundreds of them on our body in a “Personal Area Network.” Chambers suggested networks of devices in cars,homes, offices and public places would connect everything, everywhere, all the time. While the idea of this“Personal Area Network” may not yet be a reality, many homes now have networks connecting computers,digital music centers, wireless access, and broadband Internet connectivity.We are a very mobile computing society. Sales of laptop computers have exceeded the sale of stationarydesktop computers.Wireless Internet “hot spots” are scattered around most towns. In fact, as I sit at myfavorite coffee shop writing, my laptop is connected to the Internet through free high-speed wireless. Seeingcell phones with Internet access or streaming video is also quite common. Cisco’s marketing phrase of a fewyears back seems to quite appropriately capture where we are headed – “Anywhere, anytime, anywayconnectivity.” 5
  7. 7. Internet Growth • In 1969, four computers at Stanford Research Institute, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah were all connected by routers called Internet Message Processors (IMPs) to create a packet switched research network for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). • In 1981, this network called ARPANET, had jumped from four to 213 machines.9 • In 2007, there are an estimated 433 million computers connected to the Internet.10 Besides incredible growth in the number of connections, the speed of those connections has increased dramatically. In the early 1980s, 300 baud (300 bits per second) modems were common. Today, most U.S. broadband connections operate at 2 Megabits per second (2,097,152 bits per second) or better. I have been told that in Hong Kong you can now get 1 Gigabit per second (1,073,741,824 bits per second) service. Comparing the speed of a 1980s modem to the new service in Hong Kong makes you wonder what the next 30 years will bring. Even though the Internet was designed from the beginning to support broadcasting, or more correctly termed – multicasting, early implementations have been very poor. Until the last few years, if you wanted to have your computer share information with five remote computers, you needed five separate conversations – one to each computer from your computer. This does not scale very well. With multicasting, one computer can send one conversation out and the Internet will replicate the stream to all those designated as receiving computers. Expect the Internet to take another growth spurt as more parts of it begin to better support multicast traffic. Time Shift in Media Consumption We have become a society that is constantly on the go. Hectic work and home schedules leave little flexibility in our lives. Before the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) and Digital Video Recorder (DVR), if we wanted to catch a television program, we were forced to adjust our schedule. Now we can record the show, time-shifting it to fit our schedule. Sometimes there is a vital reason to getting information in real-time, like a tornado or flash flood warning. On the other hand, we are also often content to get the less-critical news several hours to a day after it occurs through television or the local newspaper. Time shifting is the biggest difference between a webcast and a podcast. Until sometime in the future, when we’re always connected and can receive a broadcast no matter where we are and what we are doing, the time- shifted advantage of podcasting is going to beat out real-time webcasting. Consider your audience’s expectations. Will they watch at a time when you choose to netcast or do they demand flexibility to choose the time and place to tune in? Knowing this information is critical to the success of your netcast because without an audience – your time, energy, and money is wasted.6
  8. 8. 1.2 Why Would You Want to Create a Netcast?Five ReasonsWhy create a netcast? A netcast is a great way to: • Tell a story • Build a relationship • Entertain • Educate • PromoteTell a StoryEveryone enjoys listening to stories because they always have a message or a lesson; they slow us down anddraw us in, making us pay attention. Stories are the very intrinsic materials of almost every culture, and they areused to entertain, educate, and influence. The strength of netcasting is the power of wrapping a story around amessage and delivering it now (as in a streamed webcast) or later (as in a time-shifted podcast).Build a RelationshipBuilding a relationship with your audience is vital to successful netcasting. From 1981 to 2004, Dan Rather wasanchor for the CBS Evening News. Rather’s journalistic integrity earned him incredible respect and loyalty withhis television audience and people welcomed him into their living room every night. Podcasting hosts can buildsimilar loyalty. I have become a dedicated follower of podcasters like Kai Ryssdal, host of American PublicMedia’s “Marketplace,” and Michael Geohagen from “The Podcast Academy.”Loyalty, however, can be hard to gain and easy to loose. Rather’s career at CBS News ended with a credibilitycrisis when false reports were broadcast during the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign. If a podcast host sayssomething to abuse the trust I have placed in them, or if they violate the character of the program I have cometo know – I’ll have no problem telling my friends what they did and why I no longer listen to their show.EntertainEarly broadcast radio gained popularity as a means to inform. As time went on, radio and television evolved toinclude entertainment. Today it is sometimes hard to tell whether informing or entertaining has become themost common use for radio, television and netcast media distribution.Creating an entertainment netcast can be costly. Our society seems to have set a high bar, expectingentertainment media to be professional in quality and production. Podcasting and webcasting are beginning tobreak this expectation by delivering consumer and “prosumer” (professional consumer) grade media; but weare just at the beginning of this change. The focus of this manual is to use a netcast to inform and educate ratherthan to entertain. 7
  9. 9. Educate Netcasting is a wonderful way to share knowledge and educate an audience on the value of a product, service, or point of view. Customer education can describe what makes a product or service unique, what its value is and ultimately create influence in the buying decision. Podcasting and webcasting can be very effective tools to take this message, wrap it up in an interesting story, and then show proof that what is presented is real and worthwhile. For years, video webcasts have been used to broadcast events, seminars, and guest speakers to remote audiences in K-16 education. Podcasts have now been added as another medium to use in education. One example is the directory of podcasts on science, social studies and mathematics available on the Educational Podcast Network (EPN).11 Duke University in Durham, N.C. is a leader in the integration of podcasts into curriculum. Check Duke’s large directory on Apple’s iTunes store Web site.12, 13 Speaking of the iTunes store Web site, you might also want to check out iTunes U.14 In addition to free podcasts, there is a wealth of educational multimedia material available for download. Promote Before you can educate a customer, you need to make them aware of what you are selling. Using a netcast to promote awareness of your product, service, or point of view can be a very productive and cost-effective way to accomplish this. Webcasts and podcasts offer a wide variety of approaches to reach potential customers. A channel – such as radio, television, print media or direct mail – is the medium a seller uses to get their message across to a customer. There was a time when a seller might have used only one channel to get their story to customers but today, there are more choices. Choosing the right one depends on how you want to reach your audience. As part of a Web-based seminar series, the American Marketing Association has produced a webcast called “Multi-Channel Measurement – Bringing the Total Picture into Focus.”15 This session not only helps users to understand multi-channel marketing, but is also a good example of a recorded webcast. Using channels to effectively promote your agenda is not just about which channel, or how many to engage, but also about cross-channel promotion. Deliver a message through one channel but also mention another channel where the customer can tune in to learn more. For example, mention your Web site within a podcast. Mention your Web-based magazine in a printed advertisement. Promote your podcast in a television or radio advertisement. 1.3 Who, What, When, Where and How? Demographics Demographics categorize a variety of factors about an audience or customer, such as age, sex, race, marital status, education level and place of residence. The more you know about your audience demographics, the better you will be in talking directly to them. Demographics will influence your message and your delivery. If young children are the target audience for your netcast, a one-hour webcast format is probably not the right way to deliver your message. With their short attention spans, a five-minute podcast may be a better choice.8
  10. 10. Section 1 - cont.When podcasting started, it sprang from the world of Web logs. A Web log (blog) is simply an online diary, andthey exist for every topic imaginable. Postings on the first audio blogs weren’t always well planned. Thebloggers would often ramble for a few minutes before actually getting to the topic of their posted entry. Therambling nature of the post was acceptable since an audio blogger’s audience was often other bloggers whoanticipated that style and format.Webcasts have a different history. They are more organized and serial in nature, and are often used for trainingbecause of their structured format. Webcast audiences expect this more formal format. Since a netcast can havea broad range of options for content, format and delivery, it is important to know your audience as well aspossible before beginning your first Webcast or podcast.Niche or Mass Interest?Narrowing formats for a specific audience is a relatively new concept. In the early days of broadcast radio andtelevision, distribution channels were geared for mass audiences. Like CNN’s 24-hour news network, morecable television stations (and recently satellite radio) target smaller niche audiences. Channels for comedy,cartoons, 1950s re-runs, fiction and other topics offer a little something for everyone.With netcasting, the trend continues. Netcasting allows you to reach all audience sizes with either wide-appealprogramming or narrowly-targeted messages. The affordable cost of webcasting – and the even lower cost ofpodcasting – allows us to get down to the most minute topics and target audiences.Eric Rice, a new media savant in the podcasting world, created a video podcast entitled “What’s Under theCarpet?” It contained a few minutes of exploring what lay under the carpeting in his house. His original targetaudience was one person, his 4-year-old son. As word about his carpet podcast spread, Eric began recordingpodcasts for kids and developed a sizable following.Internal or External Communication?Using audio and video netcasting opens up a whole new range of possibilities for organizationalcommunications. Want to get the word out about new company policy? Try a podcast. Looking for how theCEO can address the entire company? Try a webcast. Internal netcasting has started to replace the traditionalcompany newsletter. For years, paper and e-mail newsletters have been used to communicate with employees.Using audio or video instead of print can be more insightful, entertaining, and personal.Only time, money, and imagination limit the use for external netcasts. Video technical service bulletins, productdemonstrations, video webinars for product launches, and podcasts that give a “peek behind the scenes”perspective are only a few examples of how netcasting can be used in external communications. When Ciscostarted producing audio webcasts of quarterly earnings calls, the industry’s financial analysts loved it. JohnChambers, president and CEO for Cisco, was host for the earnings calls, which allowed the audience toexperience his personal energy and charisma. When he talked, analysts hung on every word. Netcastingmessages from executives, as they discussed quarterly performance, gave Cisco a distinct competitive advantageover other companies. 9
  11. 11. What - and How Long - is Your Message? What action do you want your audience to take after listening to your netcast? Do you want them to rush out and buy your product? Do you want them to form an opinion and call their elected officials? Do you want them to return for another webcast or podcast episode? Visualize their action first before you concentrate on the message. Next, decide what you want to say and how quickly you can say it. Choosing the right message for your netcast is not easy. Imagine you are the audience. What do you want or expect to hear? How long are you willing to listen? What value are you getting in exchange for the time you spend listening? When the audience stops being educated or entertained, they’ll turn off the netcast. Picking your message requires blending what you want with what your audience is looking for. What makes your netcast more unique and compelling than others? What can you offer that no one else has? What is so interesting that it will gain and keep an audience’s attention? Spend some time thinking about this, and determine at least one or two key elements in your message that will differentiate you from the competition. Once you decide what to say, stay true to your message and how to deliver it. If you are going to produce a daily podcast, make sure it is uploaded everyday – like clockwork. Don’t stray from the theme, topic and message of your content. If you advertise a webcast that covers the topic of road construction in your city, don’t arbitrarily change it to also include discussion of the new park referendum. Management and an audience are the same – be on time and deliver or exceed expectations. How long should your netcast be? Your netcast should only be as long as you need to tell your story. Do you need a one-time event, a series, or a daily conversation? You may choose a one-time, one-hour webinar to deliver your message. If you need more time, consider a series of webinars. With hectic lives, people are reluctant to commit more than an hour of their time to sit at their computer and watch or listen to a netcast. If you can say it in 17 minutes, then try saying it in a 17-minute podcast. The typical length of popular songs (three and a half minutes) is still the byproduct of early gramophone disks. With digital media, nothing prevents a musical recording from being hours, days or just seconds long.You have the same flexibility with a netcast, but consider whether the audience will still be with you when the last note is played or as the last word is spoken. A podcast called “Inside Mac Radio” is about news and products for Macintosh computers. “Inside Mac” daily podcasts are short, but the Saturday show lasts 90 minutes. I find it easy to catch the daily shows. Even though I would like to listen to the Saturday shows, I rarely do. I have a hard time rationalizing the expense of that much time, and I often wonder how many people really listen to the Saturday edition. When, Where and How Will Your Audience Listen? If you know who your audience is, do you know where your audience is? More importantly, do you know where they will be when they tune-in next?10
  12. 12. What parts of the state, country or world are they located? Is it urban or rural? Is your audience made up offorest rangers in remote Wyoming? If so, they probably do not have easy access to a high-speed connection tothe Internet. Are they living in a small rural town? Chances are good that their homes may not have cablemodem or DSL Internet access. It may be difficult to characterize your audience’s connectivity by location butyou need to give it some thought.When contemplating location and connectivity, you should also think about time zones. If your audience isglobal, or just national, consider where and when they will be listening. If your audience covers multiple timezones, you may need to repeat the webcast. With a podcast, they’ll grab it when they need it.When does your audience listen? Do they work 10-12 hour days? Perhaps you should schedule your netcastfor a Saturday or a Sunday when they have more time. Maybe the best time for them to listen is in the morningduring their commute. The ability to time- and place-shift media consumption is the major benefit ofpodcasting. With podcasting, a consumer can play the program whenever and wherever they want – on theexercise bike at the gym, walking the dog before breakfast, or driving home from work.Understanding where an audience listens can affect whether your netcast is audio or video. With a webcast,you have to remain at the computer. With a podcast, you still need the computer to download content, but youcan choose to use either a computer or portable media player for listening or viewing. If you think the majorityof your audience will be commuters driving to work, choose an audio podcast. While painting the inside of ourdaughter and son-in-law’s new home, I caught up on hours of audio podcasts. Headphones on and brush inhand, audio worked phenomenally well. However, remember that video requires dedicated attention. It’s hardto watch videos and paint window frames at the same time.Consider the age of your audience. It’s common to see Generation Y’s young people surfing the Internet ontheir cell phones or listening to music with white-corded ear buds connected to an iPod in their frontpocket.16 It is not as common to see Baby Boomers doing the same.You may be surprised though at how manyBaby Boomers or Generation X’ers use a computer every day for e-mail and if encouraged, might be open totuning in a netcast using that same computer.Consider the listening device. Some cell phones now work as portable media players. Cell phones enjoy wideconnectivity due to years of industry build-up of the cellular telephone network. Apple’s iPhone is the bestexample of this new personal media device.17 If first-day sales of the iPhone are any indication, these newportable media devices will be in high demand.18 And as cell phone and WiFi networks continue to evolve, itwill become possible for users to receive broadcast streams anywhere, anytime.There will come a day when location and device have little to no impact on choosing a netcast format. Fiveyears ago, watching television shows on your cell phone would have seemed ridiculous. It still may seem thatway to Baby Boomers, but Generation Y audiences find it perfectly normal to watch an episode of their favoriteprogram on the tiny screen of a cell phone. Today, it may not seem reasonable to hold a company videowebcast and expect every employee to tune in. In another five years, it could be the norm. 11
  13. 13. 1.4 How Much Does a Netcast Cost? It Depends… People hate it to hear this answer to a question. But what does it cost to produce a netcast? It depends on several factors, including the following. • Podcast or webcast? • One-time event or a continuous conversation? How often? • Video or audio? • What quality do you want? What quality does your audience expect? • Do you want to produce it yourself or outsource it? • What is the format and length of the story (or stories) that you want to tell? • Do you need to hire talent or are you going to be the host? • Will you have guests or interviews? Will they be in-person or remote? • Will it be recorded in a studio, on location, or both? • Is this core to your mission or business? If not, what resources are you willing to spend? Moving forward, our discussion assumes that you will do the planning, writing, producing, and audio/video talent work for your netcast. If you hire a writer, producer and talent (you know, the guy with the broadcast radio voice), you begin to enter the same league as professional broadcasters. While you can always choose to go to this extreme in the future, the good news is that this isn’t necessary. If you have the ability to do-it- yourself, netcasting can be extremely affordable. Before you can budget for a netcast, you need to first decide whether it will be a podcast or a webcast. Both types have two primary costs: • Production • Distribution Producing high-quality audio and video does not need to cost a small fortune. Five to ten years ago, professional production systems could easily cost $50,000 or more. Faster systems with more storage using off-the-shelf hardware and software can now be acquired for $5,000. Production costs will depend on the type of netcast you choose and the quality of audio and video that is needed. Distribution costs for a podcast will be less expensive because it only requires file space and bandwidth on an Internet site. Distribution costs for a webcast are more expensive; they depend on the type and size of an audience, and typically require the assistance of a third-party service provider to distribute the stream. If you compare the cost of netcasting with other distribution channels, you are talking about a dirt-cheap cost. Think about this – with local broadcast television or radio coverage, you are exposed to an audience within a limited geographic area. With the Internet, you have potentially 300 million global subscribers within your reach!12
  14. 14. Section 2: WebcastingAll webcast applications share similar components: • Video or audio source – cameras, microphones, computer, or a pre-recorded multimedia file • Endcoder – converts the audio/video input into compressed digital format • Streaming server(s) – could be anywhere from one to hundreds of machines • Network – a home/business intranet, the Internet, or a Content Distribution Network (CDN) • Player – an application that decodes the digital stream and recreates the audio or videoIn the simplest case, a webcast source could be a digital camera attached to a video capture card in anetworked computer. The receiver could be a laptop connected to the video computer through a localintranet.In the extreme case, a webcast could be a live Internet event like the October 2004 X PRIZE private spaceshiplaunch. The X PRIZE event consisted of two three-hour streaming video webcasts with 42,000 simultaneousviewers (most Internet webcasts have less than 2,000 viewers) and nearly 131,000 unique requests for the livevideo. It was produced using dedicated ground and spaceship cameras, encoded using several webcast servers,and then sent over a dedicated high-speed data connection back to a CDN service provider – who thendistributed it out to the Internet audience. Now that was a webcast!2.0 Types of WebcastsOne-way WebcastsA one-way or unidirectional webcast is audio and/or video sent from the provider to the consumer. All of thefollowing applications stream content in one direction and in real-time from a server or servers to audiences.There may be opportunities for a consumer to provide feedback, but for the most part these applications arenot intended to be channels for two-way conversations. Audio Webcast. The most common example of an audio webcast is Internet radio. These stations are sometimes Internet-only, with no history of traditional radio. Or they may be stations owned by media conglomerates that send a copied stream of their traditional radio broadcast over the Internet. Internet radio pays artist royalties for music. Until recently, it looked as though low Internet royalties would allow the small producers to dominate the Internet radio market. However, there is now pending legislation that could price Internet radio out of existence by increasing royalties for content that is broadcasted over the Internet. Video Webcast. You are probably familiar with entertainment video webcasts. Most major networks offer on-demand video that is a replay of on-air broadcasts with limited commercial interruptions. In addition to on-demand program streaming that may last an hour or two, some networks are looking at streaming constant programming, with content created specifically for the Web. Video webcasting of a conference, meeting, or presentation has been done by large businesses and on college campuses for many years. Although multicasting may not be supported on those networks, and 13
  15. 15. guaranteeing reliability for real-time streams is still a challenge, they have been able to webcast internally. One-time events like X PRIZE, conventions, disasters, and tournaments have also been webcast over the Internet. These large-scale events are documented by media production companies and distributed over the Internet by dedicated CDN service providers. A great example of this occurred on July 7, 2007, when the Live Earth global concerts to raise environmental awareness were webcast successfully to over 10 million Internet viewers.19 Five to ten years ago, standards for video encoding and compression were not as good as they are today. A reasonably-sized display window required large amounts of bandwidth. Multiply individual streams times the number of users and you often ended up needing large server farms to deliver video webcasts. Today, servers and networks are faster, encoding/compression standards like H.264 and MPEG-4 offer higher performance, and webcasting software is becoming so commoditized that companies like Microsoft and Real are giving away entry-level versions. All of this makes it more affordable for a small business or entrepreneur to produce video webcasts. Webcam –Webcams are small cameras that can be attached to a computer. Most often, they are stand-alone wireless devices that connect to a network. Webcams broadcast either low frame rate/low-resolution video or upload still images at regular intervals to a Web server. Webcasting through a webcam has become easy and popular now that computers with built-in cameras and inexpensive external cameras from companies like Logitech, Creative Labs and Linksys have flooded the marketplace. An article entitled “How Webcams Work” can be found on the Web site.20 There are also some interesting articles about webcams on the Web site.21 Screencast – Screencasting is simply recording or sharing video images on your computer screen along with an audio narrative. Screencasting is generally used to demonstrate software uses and features. While a screencast can be an interactive webcast streamed like a webinar, most screencasts end up as recorded files posted to a site for downloading – more similar to a podcast than a webcast. Wikipedia has some great starting points to learn more about screencasting.22 You might want to look at the article from O’Reilly Digital Media called “What is screencasting?”23 It’s short and gives a nice, quick perspective about the different uses for screencasting. Two-way Webcasts A second class of Webcasting is applications that provide channels for conversations. As the Internet becomes faster and more advanced, two-way webcasts have emerged as popular business tools, allowing webcast participants to interact with the host and each other. Webinar – Next to video webcasting, webinars are the second most popular type of webcasting. In fact, you will often hear people use the term webcast and webinar interchangeably. Webinars are used as an alternative to live seminars. An expert will usually deliver a formal presentation14
  16. 16. Section 2 - cont. by talking the audience through a series of PowerPoint slides. Attendees watch the slides through a Web browser, listen to the speaker by way of a phone call placed into a teleconferencing service, then participate in a moderated question-and-answer session. There are many webinar software and service providers. One of the most popular is WebEx, which uses “Event Center,” a virtual presentation tool to support webinars for up to 3,000 attendees.24 WebEx has developed different software versions tailored specifically to online meetings, events, sales calls, training, and remote support. The WebEx Web site offers demos of Event Center, features tutorials, and offers a free 14-day trail. It is an excellent place to begin learning about webinars.25Collaborative – A collaborative webcast is more of an online meeting than an online presentation. Whilewebinars are around 90 percent presenter and 10 percent audience participation, collaborative sessions areequally peer-based. Webinars can accommodate several thousand participants, while collaborative sessionsusually host less than 50 participants. Cisco’s MeetingPlace is a leader in this field.26 WebEx Meeting Center,Microsoft NetMeeting, and Vista Windows Meeting Space are also popular.Collaborative software is based on the concept of application sharing. An example of this in use might bewhere a marketing team with members living across the U.S. and the U.K. are working on a product launch.The team could hold daily meetings over the Internet, using Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint to build acommon set of documents and presentations for the launch.2.1 Planning, Execution, and Follow-upPlanning an effective webcast requires that you understand the themes, topics, schedules, target demographicsand market segmentation (categories and profiles) of your audience. Who will be your hosts? When will thewebcast(s) occur? Will the format be a roundtable discussion with multiple guests in a studio or a single host ina series of webcasts that cover a broad subject? How will the webcasts be distributed? Will they be recorded?What if a guest fails to show up, do you have a contingency plan?You need a strategy that addresses event planning, pre-event, and post-event activities for your webcast.Integrated marketing plans are used for large, longer-term campaigns like a new product introduction or apublic election. They detail how multiple channels such as television, radio, print, and the Internet are used,when they are used, and how cross-channel activities reference each other. An integrated marketing plan caneither include a webcast, or be scaled down to support a successful webcast series.Pre-event activities include making attendees aware of your event, telling them how to “tune in,” gettingparticipants to pre-register as far ahead as possible, and reminding them several times before the event.Webcasts are notorious for having fewer attendees show up than are registered. The more you remind them,the higher the chances are that they will attend. Often, a webcast will also have a Web site that is kept updatedwith information prior to the event. 15
  17. 17. Don’t allow post-event activities to be overlooked. There seem to be many webcasts where planning and pre- event activities were well thought-out, but post-event activities were ignored. For a webcast to be successful and give you the best return on your investment of time and money, you need a plan for activities after the event. Following a webcast: • Send your attendees a thank you note. • Encourage their feedback or suggestions. • Survey how topics were received and get feedback for ways to improve the next event. Gather data that will help you form metrics to measure how successful the webcast was. • Use the event to improve your relationship with the audience. • Provide an incentive for attendees to opt-in so you can put them in your customer database and send additional information about upcoming events, promotions, or announcements. • Make sure your attendees know where to learn more and who to contact with questions. 2.2 How Much Does a Webcast Cost? Producing a screencast is simple; only a computer with a microphone, low-cost screen capture software (less than $100), and an Internet connection is required. Distributing a screencast is similar to distributing a podcast. After the computer screens and audio are recorded, the file is placed on an Internet server and made available for download. Distribution costs are similar to hosting a podcast, which will be discussed in Section Three. Producing a video webcast has two components: capturing the video and encoding it into a digital stream for distribution. Costs for a video webcast can vary widely. At the lower end you might use a $100 webcam or a $1,000 hand-held camcorder. If you are doing an event in the field, you may want to hire a professional camera and operator at $1,000 to $2,500 per day. If you have a big event and need multiple camera feeds, costs can quickly jump in increments of $10,000. If your webcast needs to take place in a studio, you can rent time in a small studio for around $5,000 a day. Encoding video into a digital stream requires specialized server software. Apple QuickTime, Microsoft Windows Media, or RealNetwork RealProducer/Player are the most common solutions. The cost for encoding software and computer hardware will vary. At the lower end, a simple webcam solution can be built for under $1,000. At the higher end, server solutions for large Internet video webcasts can start at $5,000 and quickly escalate to $10,000 or more. Distributing a video webcast usually requires contracting a Content Distribution Network (CDN) Internet service provider to carry your digital media stream. CDNs charge in one of two ways; by the number of simultaneous viewers or by the total bandwidth used. While the numbers and audience participation can vary, a good planning number is about $1,500 for a two-hour video webcast with 1,000 simultaneous viewers.27 Several CDN providers are listed in Appendix A.16
  18. 18. Producing and distributing a webinar go hand-in-hand. For webinar production, you will need presentationsoftware like Microsoft PowerPoint, a Web browser and a telephone. Distribution is similar to using a CDNfor a webcast – you will need a special webinar hosting service provider. One webinar company, WebEx, willhost a one-hour moderated webinar over the Internet to 100 attendees for less than $3,900. This cost includes$0.32/minute/attendee for their Event Center service, $0.12/minute/attendee for toll free telephone charges,and $1,200 for assistance in planning and executing the webinar.282.3 Delivery Challenges for Streaming ApplicationsIt is important to understand that webcasts are real-time streaming applications with a different set of concernsthan downloadable media files. With streaming, you need to be concerned about Internet or intranet Quality ofService (QOS). QOS controls data capacity (bandwidth), time delay (latency), variation of time delay (jitter),priority of voice/video/data traffic, and how large data file transfers are intermixed with time sensitive voice/video conversations (fragmentation/interleaving).Modern networks can have an incredibly wide variation in performance depending on location, time of day, andusage. With widespread adoption of Internet Protocol telephony (phone calls over an Internet network - alsocalled voice over IP), all networks should evolve to a point where they deliver a consistently high quality ofservice. Until then, poor QOS will temper the popularity of webcasting.Another consideration for webcasts is whether they are delivered as single streams or as a true Internetmulticast. A multicast is when one stream from the server is sent out into the network and the networkreplicates the stream to the audience. Internal business intranets may or may not be capable of supporting amulticast stream. For the Internet, it’s still going to be a few years before we see pervasive and reliablemulticast support. Until that time, distributing large, successful webcasts will usually require contracting with aCDN service provider and using their multicast-enabled network for distribution.2.4 Webcast or Podcast?How do you choose whether to use a webcast or a podcast? Both netcast options have their strengths. If theevent must be live, then you should choose a webcast; broadcasting a live event has never been moreaffordable. If the broadcast can be a time-shifted conversation, look into creating a podcast.Why choose a podcast over a webcast? The answer can be given in three words: time, money, and relationship. • Webcasts take significant time to produce and execute – podcasts take less time • Webcasts are fixed events in time – podcasts can be time- and place-shifted for the audience to accommodate hectic schedules • Webcasts can be expensive to create and distribute – podcasts are very economical • Webcasts are formal – podcasts are personal 17
  19. 19. Section 3: Podcasting Basics 3.0 What is a Podcast? Podcasts are digital media files distributed over the Internet using a syndication feed for playback on a personal computer or portable media player.29 A common mistake is to refer to a stand-alone media file as a podcast. This is incorrect. Just because a digital media file can be downloaded over the Internet does not make it a podcast. A podcast always has at least two files – the digital media file and a subscription file that syndicates it. Subscriptions and RSS Most people have subscribed to a magazine or an e-mail list. As long as the subscriber finds the value of the content in excess of the cost, they will continue to subscribe. A stand-alone file offers little opportunity for building a long-term relationship between the provider and a consumer. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a subscription technology that allows you to link to multiple files for building a channel and a relationship with your audience.30 In July 2003, RSS was standardized at version 2.0 and is now maintained by a group known as the RSS Advisory Board.31, 32 Three concepts are important about RSS: • An RSS feed is a text file, similar to a Web page, written in a language called Extensible Markup Language (XML).33 • The RSS file and the digital media files do not need to reside on the same server. RSS files are small. Media files are large and require servers with significant disks and fast network connections. • RSS is a pull rather than push technology. Instead of sending a rush of e-mails when each new episode is ready, subscribed applications periodically pull down a copy of the RSS file from a server the same way a Web browser downloads a Web site. If a new blog or podcast episode is available, then the application automatically downloads it into the user’s media library. Podcast Types There are four types of podcasts: • Standard audio • Enhanced audio • Video • Other enclosures Standard Audio Podcasts, typically five minutes to an hour in length, were the first type of podcast. Adam Curry, popular 1980s MTV host, was one of the first podcasters. Curry’s MTV experience kept his “Daily Source Code” audio blog entertaining.34 Podcasts soon evolved from dull commentaries into the multi-person interview, speech, and music formats that are common today. Standard audio podcasts are first recorded in uncompressed WAV or AIFF file format, and then reduced in size using MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) compression software. MP3 also supports a standard called ID3 metadata, which is used to store non-audio information such as title, artist, album, producer, and more.3518
  20. 20. Enhanced Audio Podcasts add chapter markers, images, and Web site links to turn a standard audio podcastinto an interactive presentation.36 Chapter markers allow an enhanced podcast to be navigated quicker thanfast-forwarding and reversing, as it is done in a standard podcast. While MP3 files can store this information aspart of their ID3 metadata, the most common approach is to use Apple’s Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)QuickTime format.37Video Podcasts are growing in popularity as Internet connections become faster and digital video equipmentdrops in price. Due to their large file size, video podcasts last no longer than five to 10 minutes. For example: aseven and a half minute video episode can be 61 MB as opposed to 6.9 MB for audio. Screen size for a videopodcast is usually 2-3 three inches to help keep the file size manageable. While Web sites like YouTube useAdobe’s Flash compression to reduce size, most video podcasts are compressed using higher quality, standards-based MPEG-4 H.264 video compression.38, 39Other Enclosures, such as PDF documents and photos can be podcasted. Apple iTunes software hassupported PDF podcasts since version 4.7. Apple iPhoto application began including support for photo-basedpodcasts, appropriately called photocasts, in version 6.0.Podcast History and Apple, Inc.Significant mile markers and contributors for podcasting include: • Blogging starts in the late 1990s and becomes popular in early 2000s • 1999-2000: Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is developed • 2000: Napster influences digital media “distribution” • 2001: Dave Winer adds support for multimedia enclosures in RSS feeds • October 2001: Apple releases the first 5 GB audio iPod • 2004: o Dave Winer starts the audio blog “Morning Coffee Notes” o MTV’s Adam Curry starts the “Daily Source Code” audio blog o Ben Hammersley suggests the term “podcast” for portable listening to audio blogs • June 2005: Apple supports podcasting in iTunes version 4.9 and with the iTunes Music Store • October 2005: Apple releases the video iPodSummaries on the history of podcasting can be found at Wikipedia and Clique Communications.40, 41 Contraryto popular belief, Apple did not invent podcasting or the portable media player. Audio e-books were distributed over the Internet to portable media players long before Apple introduced theiPod or opened the iTunes Music Store.42 However, by 2007 Apple owned over 80 percent of the podcastmarket. iTunes software, iTunes Music Store, QuickTime digital media format, and the iPod have shaped themarket for the creation and distribution of digital audio and video. This strategy has been so successful, not justfinancially but culturally, that in 2007 Apple Computer, Inc. dropped “Computer” from their name and becameApple, Inc. 19
  21. 21. Podcast Uses and Examples For businesses, a podcast can: • Create awareness of products, services, or points-of-view for a seller (marketing) • Explain the value/differentiation for both a company and its products (customer education) • Drive a more personal buyer/seller relationship in the sales cycle (relationship management) Podcasting allows you to narrowly scope and market to customers.43 For instance, the owner of a bed and breakfast might create a weekly 10-minute podcast to keep a group of regular customers informed about upcoming dinners and events. Affordable to produce and distribute, it can be much more personal, entertaining, and frequent than a monthly newsletter. Looking for a podcast is like going to the library and looking for a book – there is a podcast on almost every topic imaginable. The iTunes Music Store boasts more than 100,000 free podcast subscriptions.44 Do you own a custom furniture shop and want to learn woodworking tips from an expert? Try subscribing to the weekly “Wood Whisperer” podcast. Thinking about entrepreneurship? Try the “Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs” podcast produced by Stanford University. Enjoy listening to National Public Radio (NPR)? At last count, they have 481 podcasts. Anyone can produce a podcast. While huge media companies may repurpose broadcast content into a podcast, as an entrepreneur or small business owner you have equal access to the same audience.You can use the same three qualifiers that NPR uses to build a successful show. It must be: • Entertaining • Inspirational • Educational With podcasting, content is king. You don’t need costly production equipment and facilities to produce a great podcast. Give the audience a choice between great content and quality recording and content will almost always win. If however the quality is good but your story is poor, your audience will quickly abandon the podcast. 3.1 How do You Find, Subscribe to, Listen to, or View a Podcast? Where do You Start? There are two sides to a podcast: producing/publishing and subscribing/consuming. When you subscribe and listen to a podcast, there are four major areas to consider: • Finding the correct podcast • Subscribing to it • Managing your podcasts • Options for listening or viewing20
  22. 22. Until recently, each of these areas needed different software.45 iTunes however, can do all four tasks. TheiTunes software, available in both PC and Mac versions, is free and can be downloaded from the Apple Web siteto install on your computer.46 iTunes is required to explore the iTunes Music Store – a Web browser cannot beused.Finding a PodcastHow do you find what you are looking for with such a large number of podcasts available on the Internet? Yousearch for it. Searching for a podcast can be more difficult than finding a text reference, video, or image. As anexample, let’s find a podcast that discusses “how to create a podcast.”A traditional Internet search engine like Google is not helpful. Google the word “podcast” and you get over130 million matches. Searching for a specific phrase like “how to create a podcast” may give a few leads, butwill still result in millions of references.New techniques for searching speech inside an audio file, such as’s speech-to-text technologyand search engine, are beginning to appear but have mixed results. Using to search for thephrase “how to create a podcast” yielded seven hits, but none resulted in a suitable match.The most efficient way to find a podcast is keyword and topical category searches using a podcast directory.Although there are several options available (see Appendix A), the largest and most popular podcast directoryis Apple iTunes Music Store. Figure 3.1.2Figure 3.1.1 21
  23. 23. After installing iTunes software on your computer, browse to the iTunes Music Store: • Launch the iTunes application • Click the iTunes Store icon (Figure 3.1.1–A) under “STORE” in the left panel • Just to the right is a box labeled “iTunes Store;” click Podcasts (Figure 3.1.1–B), where the newest, most popular, and featured podcasts will be displayed • Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the “Learn More” panel (Figure 3.1.2), click on “Podcasts on Podcasting,” and 19 podcasts are displayed to show you how to learn more about podcasting (Figure 3.1.3) • To search for a specific subject, enter the criteria in “Search iTunes Store” found at the top right corner of the page (Figure 3.1.1–C). Podcasts, signified by the “Subscribe” button in the price column, as well as music and videos are shown. • You can also browse predefined topics by clicking the “Browse” icon at the bottom right of the page (Figure 3.1.1–D). For example, Figure 3.1.4 shows a few of the 90 podcasts available in the aviation subcategory of Games & Hobbies. Figure 3.1.3 Figure 3.1.422
  24. 24. Section 3 - cont.Subscribing to a PodcastTo subscribe to a podcast, click the “Subscribe” button (Figures 3.1.3–A or 3.1.4–A). iTunes will read the RSSfeed for that podcast, make a new directory in the iTunes Podcast directory, and begin downloading episodesinto your iTunes library. That’s all there is to it.Click the icon (Figure 3.1.3–B) or the arrow to the right of the podcast’s name (Figure 3.1.4–B) and the pagefor that podcast will be displayed. Figure 3.1.5Gigavox Media’s “The Podcast Academy” has episodes on hardware, software, history, techniques, and wherethe podcast industry is heading. Figure 3.1.5 shows the Podcast Academy displayed in the iTunes main window.Several of the latest episodes are listed in the lower pane.You can click the “Get Episode” button in the price column to download an episode without subscribing to thepodcast. Clicking the “i” button in the description column displays a text summary of the episode.Managing PodcastsiTunes makes it as easy to manage a podcast library as it is to subscribe to a podcast.iTunes maintains music, movies, television shows, audio books, and Internet radio, as well as podcasts. Clickingon the “Podcasts” icon in the Library panel will open your podcast library (Figure 3.1.6–A). From here, you caneasily manage all of your podcasts and episodes. Right-clicking with your mouse on either a podcast or anepisode brings up a multitude of options such as deleting, resetting play counts, or copying the podcast. 23
  25. 25. If you have an entry for an episode but for some reason it has not been downloaded, the episode will appear grayed-out and have a “Get” button on the row that you can click to initiate an immediate download. Podcasts can be subscribed to and re-subscribed to by clicking the “Subscribe” or “Unsubscribe” buttons. A count next to the “Podcasts” selection on the left Library panel will show how many episodes have yet to be played. The total number of podcasts and the file space they occupy is listed at the bottom of the iTunes window. Changing the preferences settings shown in Figure 3.1.7 will allow you to choose how frequently iTunes will check podcast subscriptions for new episodes to download or delete. These settings can be accessed by clicking the “Settings” button at the bottom of the iTunes window (Figure 3.1.6–B). Figure 3.1.6 Figure 3.1.724
  26. 26. Options for Listening or ViewingYou can listen to or watch a podcast using only your computer and the iTunes software by simply double-clicking on an episode. The episode title, a positioning control, and the length of the podcast will be displayedin a window at the top of the iTunes software (Figure 3.1.8–A). iTunes includes a built-in audio and videoplayer, so when the episode is launched it will automatically play.If metadata such as name, artist, year, genre or other has been included with the audio file as shown in Figure3.1.9, it can be displayed or even changed by right-clicking the episode and then selecting “Get Info” from thedrop-down menu. If the podcast has album cover artwork, it will be displayed in the “Now Playing” window atthe bottom left corner (Figure 3.1.8–B). If an enhanced audio podcast is playing, the window will containchanging artwork and Web site links. A chapter index will appear at the top and to the right of the volumecontrol. If a video podcast is selected, the video will play either in the window, or if the “Now Playing” windowis double-clicked, it will expand into a larger separate window.If you choose to download podcasts to an iPod portable media player, it is a one step process once you haveyour iPod setup.To setup an iPod, plug it into the USB port on a computer with iTunes running.47 Through a dialog box, iTuneswill prompt you to name your iPod and choose whether or not you want content automatically downloadedwhen it is connected. After this initial setup, a new screen will appear (Figure 3.1.10). New podcast episodesdownloaded from the Internet will be automatically downloaded to the iPod. iTunes can manage multipleiPods, each one with a unique name and content. This is helpful if several people in your home or business haveiPods. Information regarding the content loaded on your iPod, including audio, video and photos, can be seen at the bottom middle of the screen (Figure 3.1.10–A). Once your iPod has completed synchronizing with the iTunes media library on the computer, click the eject button next to the iPod’s name (Figure 3.1.10–B). When the name disappears from the Devices list, disconnect the iPod and cable from the computer.Figure 3.1.8 25
  27. 27. 3.2 How do You Produce/Publish a Podcast? After learning how to subscribe to a podcast, the question remains “How do I produce/publish a podcast?” First decide on the subject, format, location, and length of your podcast shows. Next, focus on the hardware, software, and approach needed to build your first podcast. Five steps to address when producing and publishing a podcast are: 1. Capturing sound 2. Recording audio 3. Editing and processing 4. Compressing and uploading the media Figure 3.1.9 5. Creating an RSS feed Podcast producers have a variety of hardware and software from which to choose. Following are examples of different options to consider for creating an audio podcast on PC and Mac platforms. The options range from lower-cost products (Examples A), to mid- level products (Examples B), to higher-end options (Examples C). In many cases, you get what you pay for. However, there are some cost-effective options that work well. Keep in mind that if you are using podcasts to promote and reflect your Figure 3.1.10 business, you want to have high quality work. On the other hand, stick to your budget and never invest more than you can really afford. Step 1: Capturing Sound Getting good audio from a source into the recording device is often the most overlooked, yet important step in producing a podcast.Your goal is to capture quality audio the first time, not to rely on editing and processing to clean up poor audio after it is recorded. Here are ten recommendations for capturing audio:26
  28. 28. Section 3 - cont.1. Pay Attention to Your Recording Location. Capturing good audio means isolating the quality soundsyou want. If your podcast takes place on location, in a restaurant for example, you will want the backgroundsounds of dishes clanking and people chatting to enhance the quality, not distract from it. If your podcast ismeant to reflect a quiet, studio-type setting, the last thing you want is to be surprised by an unexpected doorslamming or an air-conditioner motor kicking on. Besides ambient noise, pay attention to acoustics. Smallrooms with hard walls and hard tables can create an annoying echo. Use professional acoustic tiles or drapesto help absorb reflected sound.2.Your Audio Should Sound Natural. Podcasting is different than broadcasting audio. In podcasting, it isacceptable to have pauses and “ums” in a conversation. In a podcast, your voice should be neither overlyexcited nor too subdued. Be yourself; let your guests be themselves. The reason an audience builds arelationship with a podcast host is because they talk like a regular person. If you want to learn techniques toimprove your voice, read the definitive text for broadcast talent, “Broadcast Voice Handbook” by AnnUtterback.483. Pay Attention to Air as it Heads Toward the Microphone. To eliminate extraneous air sounds, such asoutside wind, use an inexpensive $5 foam windscreen placed over the microphone. Pronouncing words thatbegin with a ‘B’ or ‘P’ can cause a sudden rush of air called a plosive. A foam windscreen can reduce plosives.However placing a $10-$60 separate mesh screen called a pop filter between the person speaking and themicrophone will do an even better job. Speaking too close or directly into a microphone will cause aproximity effect, which gives your voice an unnaturally deep tone. Avoid this by staying 6 inches away from themicrophone and talking at an angle or to the side.4. Buy the Best Microphone You Can Afford. The two types of microphones, dynamic and condenser, comein a variety of shapes and sizes. Dynamic microphones require no power and are easy to use. Condensermicrophones require input power and are so sensitive they can pick up the sound of a fly buzzing in the room.Every microphone has its own characteristic sound and pickup pattern. Unidirectional shotgun microphones,used for distance recording, pick up sound from the front with little from the side. Omni-directionalmicrophones pick up sound equally from all directions. • Example A: The free microphone built-in to your computer or miniDV camera. It’s easy to use and can capture your voice. • Example B: Heil PR 20 dynamic omni-directional microphone for $150. The PR 20 is rugged enough for field recording yet sensitive enough for studio recording. • Example C: Add a Heil PR 40 studio microphone for $325. Microphones can cost thousands of dollars. Bob Heil’s affordable dynamic microphones are the result of 50 years in sound reproduction working with rock groups like the Grateful Dead, the Who, and Peter Frampton.49The book “Live Sound Reinforcement” has a very in-depth technical discussion on proper selection andplacement of microphones.50 The Heil Sound Web site also has a detailed tutorial.515. Pay Attention to Holding the Microphone. A microphone will pick up noise from vibration. When youhold a microphone, avoid changing your grip. Even the least inexpensive microphones will pick up handlingnoises such as unwanted thumps and scratches. 27
  29. 29. • Example A: If you are doing a studio interview, use a $10 table stand to hold the microphone and reduce handling noise. Be aware that if you bump the table you will still pick up vibration noise. • Example B: For either standing or seated recording, a $60 microphone floor stand will eliminate the possibility of table noise. • Example C: Broadcast professionals prefer a desk-mounted microphone boom and shock mount ($200) since it is easy to reposition and the elastic shock mount eliminates most thumps and bumps.52 6. Use Quality Cables and Connectors. Cheap cables and bad connectors can introduce electrical noise that will dramatically impact the quality of an audio recording. The rule for cabling is to keep them a short length and use as few as possible. Cables and connectors vary depending on the equipment you are using: • Example A: Use the standard 1/8 inch cables and connectors found on consumer audio equipment. • Example B: 1/4 inch cabling with TRS connectors commonly used for music and live-sound reproduction is a good mid-range choice. • Example C: The best choice is Mogami 1/4 inch shielded cables with grounded XLR connectors used by professional sound engineers. Like microphones, cabling is a science. Refer to the book “Live Sound Reinforcement” to learn more details about audio cabling. 7. Use a Pre-amplifier and an Analog-to-digital (A/D) Converter to Connect the Microphone to Your Recording Device. A pre-amplifier boosts and enhances the analog signal from a microphone. An A/D converter takes the analog signal and converts it into a digital format for recording. • Example A: Use the free microphone and A/D conversion built in to your computer or miniDV camera. Alternatively, add a $50 Sound Blaster internal sound card from Creative Labs to your desktop computer then attach an external microphone to the 1/8 inch audio-in port.53 • Example B: M-Audio’s “Fast Track USB,” an external $130 combination pre-amplifier and A/D converter (Figure 3.2.1), uses an XLR connection to the microphone and a USB connection to the computer.54 For the same price, the Plantronics 550 DSP USB headset integrates the A/D function with a combination headphone/microphone (Figure 3.2.2).55 • Example C: Use a separate pre-amplifier and A/D converter. A professional audio recording solution like this can cost $500-$5,000. One combination that works well with the Heil PR 40 microphone is a Grace Design 101 pre-amplifier for $575 and a MOTU UltraLite A/D converter for $550 (Figure 3.2.3).56, 57 Figure 3.2.2 Figure 3.2.1 Figure 3.2.328
  30. 30. 8. Avoid Using a Mixing Console. Multiple microphones can require a mixing console, commonly called amixer (Figure 3.2.4). A mixer takes multiple analog signals in, allows you to adjust and combine them usingeither software or control knobs, then outputs the mix into one or more analog signals.58 Podcast mixersusually have less than 12 inputs and also include several low quality built-inmicrophone pre-amplifiers. For the purpose of this manual, you will useonly one microphone for your first podcast and will not need a mixer. • Example A: If you can’t avoid using a mixer, the Behringer UB 802 for under $100 will handle six inputs.59 • Example B: The Mackie 1202 VLZ3 mixer (Figure 3.2.4) for $400 has 12 inputs with four better quality pre-amplifiers.60 • Example C: Besides being a high quality A/D converter, the MOTU UltraLite A/D converter (Figure 3.2.3) includes a software- controlled mixer with eight analog inputs, 11 analog and digital outputs, and two high-quality pre-amplifiers. Figure 3.2.49.You Need a Method to Record Remote Guests. As you produce your podcast show, you may need tointerview a remote guest. Professional broadcasters use a device called a telephone interface to connect atelephone line into recording equipment. • Example A: For $650 the “Telos One” digital hybrid from Telos Systems converts one analog telephone line into an XLR analog audio line.61 Inexpensive (less than $20) telephone interfaces are available from a number of retailers but are not suitable for podcasting. ISDN digital telephone lines and interfaces can be used for better-quality audio but are too costly and cumbersome for most podcasting. • Example B: Using free Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software such as Skype or Gizmo Project, a podcast producer can place national or international telephones calls to interview guests for less than 5 cents per minute.62, 63 Using VoIP is better than a digital hybrid telephone interface since the audio quality is significantly greater. If the remote guest has a microphone-equipped computer,VoIP software, and a broadband Internet connection with good QOS, you can make a straight VoIP-to-VoIP call for free! • Example C: The double-ender approach captures both ends of a conversation using local recording equipment. This technique relies on making a sharp sound (like a ding or a clap), so independent recordings can later be synchronized and mixed during editing. A double-ender may yield the best quality, but it is also the most difficult since it requires the remote guest to have recording knowledge, recording equipment, and a way to transfer the recording back to the podcast producer. 10. Learn From a Professional. Steve Fisher, Podcast Pros’ founder and head of production was a guest speaker at the Podcast Academy held in Durham, N.C. in February 2007. His talk on “Hard Earned Truths in Capturing Location Sound” is posted as the July 16, 2007 episode for the Podcast Academy.64 In this 50-minute presentation, Fisher summarizes his career as a sound engineer and presents advice on how to capture quality audio. Figure 3.2.5 29
  31. 31. Step 2. Recording Audio After capturing audio from the source, you need a method to record it. Using a portable digital recorder or a computer with recording software are the options available. Some podcasters use a recorder for both field and studio work. Others use a recorder for fieldwork and a computer-based solution for the studio. In the studio, to provide a backup in case of hardware failure, use a computer as the primary device and a portable recorder to make a copy. Use a Portable Digital Recorder. Recorders are compact and can be either held in the palm of your hand, slipped into a pocket or purse, or slung under the shoulder using a carrying strap. It is awkward to balance a laptop computer and external hardware while recording a stand-up interview. Recorders are an all-in-one solution – plug a microphone into the recorder and press start. All recorders have a headphone jack for monitoring, but higher-quality options have LEDs to track recording levels. Recorders have built-in, low-power microphone pre-amplifiers and A/D converters capable of generating 16-bit, 44.1 kHz CD quality digital audio. While some recorders use MP3 compression to squeeze more onto the Flash storage card, the best method is to record digital audio in an uncompressed WAV format. Most recorders have a USB interface to connect to a computer so audio can be transferred for editing. Early portable recorders used cassette tapes to store low-quality analog audio. The next generation of recorders captured audio on removable Digital Audio Tape (DAT) tape drives or internal hard disks.65 Current recorders store CD-quality digital audio on removable, high-capacity CompactFlash cards. An 8 GB CompactFlash card costs under $200 and can store over 13 hours of uncompressed audio. If a portable miniDV camera is available, you can use it to record digital audio. This solution is awkward and not recommended since transferring the audio from miniDV tape to computer is a time consuming process. • Example A: If you have an iPod, $60 will turn it into a portable digital recorder by attaching XtremeMac’s MicroMemo adapter to the dock connector (Figure 3.2.5).66 Both Nano and Video iPod versions record in stereo, have two built-in speakers, a removable microphone, and can record line-in audio from other audio devices. No software is required – just connect the adapter to an iPod and click to record. • Example B: At $300, M-Audio’s MicroTrack 24/96 (Figure 3.2.6) is the best value hand-held digital recorder currently available.67 It can use either the detachable 1/8 inch stereo microphone or two 1/4 inch cabled microphones. The MicroTrack has a small LCD display for operation, can record at better-than- CD quality using 24-bit, 96kHz A/D conversion, and uses a USB interface for connecting to a computer. • Example C: Used by audio recording and movie professionals (Figure 3.2.7), one of the best recorders on the market is the $2,500 Sound Device 702T.68 Larger than the MicroTrack at 8x5x2 inches, it will easily fit under your arm using a shoulder strap. The 702T can perform 24-bit, 192kHz A/D conversion and uses a FireWire interface to connect to a computer.69 Figure 3.2.630
  32. 32. Section 3 - cont. Record Audio Using Software and a Computer. Using computer software and hardware is the most common method for recording podcasts. Recording software consumes significant computer processing power so it’s best to close all unneeded applications before recording. Most software will only record and edit input audio, but Figure 3.2.7 “hijacking” software can grab input audio as well as system audio like a VoIP call or a DVD playing (Figure 3.2.10).As long as the computer is powerful enough, audio processing can be done using software plug-ins instead ofdedicated hardware. Plug-ins can be used to equalize frequencies, filter, reverb, change pitch, limit volume, andmore while recording or during edit (Figure 3.2.8).Macintosh Recording Software. • Example A: Audacity; its free, cross-platform, and open source (Figure 3.2.9).70 Audacity can record up to 16 channels, process 32-bit, 96kHz digital audio, and supports a wide range of built-in and plug-in effects processing. It has become the de facto starter software for podcast audio recording and editing. • Example B: Peak Pro for $500 from Berkley Integrated Audio Software Inc. (BIAS).71 Peak Pro supports more features and effects processing than Audacity and is used by many professional audio engineers. It also has commercial support and better stability than public domain Audacity. For $100, Peak LE is functionally equivalent and more stable than Audacity, but offers fewer features than the Pro version. • Example C: Two software packages rank at the top: Figure 3.2.8 o Logic Express for $300 from Apple, supports multi-track recording/editing and is designed to compliment Apple’s suite of Final Cut Pro professional video editing tools.72 o Pro Tools HD from Digidesign is the de facto, high-end audio software. Taught in nearly all commercial recording curriculums, choosing Pro Tools opens access to a large amount of instructional material and third party hardware. DigiDesign is a division of Avid, a long established company known for high-end video production tools. Pro Tools comes in three configurations: § Pro Tools “M-Powered” standalone software for $300 supports a variety of Avid’s lower- end M-Audio hardware.73 § Pro Tools “LE” comes bundled with DigiDesign’s mid-range 002, Digi 003, and Mbox audio hardware, ranging in cost from $300 to $2,000. 31
  33. 33. § Pro Tools “HD” high-end solutions start at $10,000; $8,000 for Pro Tools software bundled with one internal PCI audio processing card, and $2,000 for a 24-bit, 96kHz interface box supporting eight audio connections. Audio Hijack Pro, available from Rogue Amoeba for $32, can “hijack” system-level sound, such as a VoIP conversation or a DVD playing (Figure 3.2.10).74 While more flexible and simple to use than recording/editing software, this tool is limited to recording, not editing. It does support standard plug-ins for effects processing during recording. PC Recording Software. • Example A: Audacity for the PC works and behaves the same as the Mac version. • Example B: Adobe Audition for $130 supports 80 multi-track recording inputs and can handle 32-bit, 192kHz digital audio.75 Like Apple’s Logic Express Figure 3.2.9 software, Premier is designed to compliment Adobe’s Premier video editing suite. • Example C: Pro Tools. All Pro Tools information discussed in the “Software for recording on a Mac” section applies to the PC version. Pro Tools on high performance PCs defined and continues to lead the digital Audio Workstation (DAW) market for commercial audio processing.76 Hijacking software used to record system audio, such as VoIP or a DVD, is also available for the PC. Total Recorder Pro for $40 from High Criteria is the functional equivalent of Audio Hijack Pro for the Mac.77 Step 3. Editing and Processing If content, quality and length are perfect; then no post-processing needs to be done. Since this is rarely achievable, most podcast episodes require editing and audio processing. Figure 3.2.1032
  34. 34. Headphones and Speakers. Ideally, when editing and processing audio you should be in the same acousticenvironment using the same listening equipment as your audience. Realistically however, this is hard to do. • Example A: Using the built-in speakers on your computer is the easiest and least-costly solution. While functional, this approach does not support critical listening. • Example B: External speakers, such as the Bose Companion 2 speakers at $90/pair.78 Bose Around-Ear headphones, available for $140/pair.79 • Example C: Commercial speakers and headphones are designed to make audio sound rich; studio monitors and headphones are designed to accurately reproduce fidelity. Yamaha HS50M active studio monitors at $400/pair work well for reviewing podcast audio.80 Sony MDR-7506 headphones for $130 are the standard for broadcast recording engineers.81Editing. Basic audio editing works much like a word processor – segments of sound can be deleted, cut, andpasted with millisecond accuracy. Called non-linear, non-destructive editing, the software uses a list of the editchanges to dynamically render a modified recording without destroying the original. Other than audio hijackingsoftware, most recording software is also used to edit.Post-processing Effects. After basicediting, post-processing is used tofurther improve audio quality. Addingfade envelopes to ramp volume up/down or apply built-in and plug-ineffects can be tested and applied duringpost-processing. The amount of effectcan be varied between 0 percent, calleddry, and 100 percent, called wet. If theeffect works well it can be permanentlyapplied by saving a new version of theaudio, which is referred to as“bouncing” in the recording field.Noise Removal. Unwanted noise, Figure 3.2.11such as clicks, crackles, hums, rumbles,or buzzes can be removed in post-processing by either applying plug-in filters or using noise removal softwarelike BIAS SoundSoap.82 SoundSoap is available for Mac and PC in a basic version for $100 or a professionalversion for $500.Multi-track Mixing Software. During post-processing, individual audio files such as introductions, exits,advertising, music, and interview clips may need to be mixed into a single, final audio track. This process iscalled multi-track mixing. 33