Setting Up an iTunes-friendly Podcast
Basics for Creating an iTunes-friendly Podcast
Podcasting allows your potential audience to subscribe to an ongoing feed of high-quality audio and/or video content, download it at pre-determined times, and time-shift the playback of that audio and/or video on their computer or portable music/video player when it’s most convenient for them.
There are several “podcatching” programs available for download. Some are free, some aren’t. The most popular podcatcher by far at the present time is Apple’s iTunes which is available free for Mac and Windows computers. These instructions assume you’re customizing your podcast to take advantage of iTunes and the iPod.
Preparing Your Audio
- Record, edit and mix down your audio. If you have the option in your editing software to save as an .mp3 file, do so. If using tools such as CoolEdit or Bias Deck, mix down as a .wav or .aiff file.
- Use iTunes to convert your broadcast quality audio to either .mp3 or AAC (.m4a) format for podcasting. Go to Preferences, Advanced, Importing, Import Using and choose AAC Encoder or MP3 Encoder. The difference: almost any computer with almost any “podcatching” software can handle mp3s. iTunes by default uses AAC (Apple proprietary format which can include Digital Rights Management protection).
- Go to File, Add to Library, select your broadcast quality .wav or .aiff file. It will appear at the bottom of the Library list in iTunes. Highlight the file. Go to the Advanced menu, select Convert Selection to ACC (or MP3). The new, podcast-ready file will also be added to the bottom of the Library list.
- Move the .mp3 or AAC (.m4a) file to the web server. It will be located inMusic/iTunes/iTunes Music/Unknown Artist. You canmove the file directly (e.g. to your Bengal account using “Connect to Server” on the Mac) or put it in a “staging folder” if you want to use Dreamweaver to upload when you’re ready. If using the direct method, make sure that you use the Get Info option in the Finder to set your web folder Permissions for Others to “Read & Write” and apply those permissions to all items enclosed in that folder.
- Edit your podcast .xml file using Dreamweaver or some other plain-text editor to include a link and other info about your audio file. See below.
Preparing Your Video
- Record, edit and save your video. If using iMovie or Avid, for example, export the finished sequence as a full quality DV file.
- Open QuickTime Pro. Open your video file. Go to File, Export and Choose Movie to iPod (320 x 240). While a properly configured computer with the right “podcatching” software can playback QuickTime movies and mpeg videos, using the iPod setting (creating an .m4v file) allows you to create a high-quality clip that can also be synced with iTunes for playback on a video iPod.
- Move the .m4v file to the web server, either directly or from a Dreamweaver staging folder per instruction 4 in the audio section above.
- Edit your podcast .xml file to include a link to and other info about your video file.
Want to create a podcast video that includes embedded links and chapters? Go to ourEnhanced Vodcasts tutorial.
Getting Your Clip into the Convergence “Sampler” Podcast
Thanks to Curt Wohleber, you can generate code for your audio or video “item” with his handy CurtCaster form (patent pending)! If you’re a glutton for punishment, or want to hack the code yourself for some reason, read on.
The audience subscribes to a podcast through an .xml file. If you want to create your ownpodcast, download the sample file in the next section of this tutorial and fill in all of the appropriate information. If you want your audio or video clips included in “The Sampler,” copy and paste the code below into an email message, replace the text (anything NOT between <> and everything between quote marks) and email it to me. Of course, you need to provide your own pawprint ID and filename for the clip. The string of numbers after length= is the file’s length in bytes. Right-click on the file in the Finder and choose Get Info to reveal that number (without the commas). For the publication date tag use three-letter day and month labels and military (24-hour) times. The -0600 refers to the difference between Missouri time and GMT. Leave it alone.
***Very important: do NOT use the ampersand (&) in your code. It is a “reserved” character. Including it will “break” your podcast and keep people from subscribing to it.***
Each clip is its own item and requires a separate piece of code.
<title>Live Music at the Farmer’s Market: KBIA Story</title>
<description>Pippa Letsky is one of the many musicians to play at Columbia’s Farmer’s Market. Victoria Millner turns an ear to the music.</description>
<itunes:author>Victoria Millner, Ashley Berkler and Lindsey Terschluse
<itunes:subtitle>A report from the scene.</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>Pippa Letsky is one of the many musicians to play at Columbia’s Farmer’s Market. Victoria Millner turns an ear to the music.
<enclosure url=”http://www.missouri.edu/~vlm899/podcasts/livemusic.mp3″ length=”9394354″ type=”audio/mpeg”/>
<pubDate>Thu, 23 Mar 2006 16:50:00 -0600</pubDate>
<itunes:keywords>convergence, Missouri, journalism, pippa, farmer, music
The example above assumes you want to podcast an audio clip. To do video instead, replace theenclosure tag with the following:
<enclosure url=”http://www.missouri.edu/~elgfz6/kids.m4v” length=”8026502″ type=”video/x-m4v”/>
While you’re at it, why not subscribe to “The Sampler” so you can listen to and watch your own good work and that of your colleagues?
Creating Your Own Podcast File for Would-be Subscribers
- Here is a sample .xml file. Download it to your Dreamweaver staging folder.
- Open Dreamweaver, if you haven’t done so already, create a new site, and open the .xml file. It will open in Code View.
- Edit all of the pertinent code, including (but not limited to) titles, descriptions, publication dates and times and, of course, an enclosure link to your audio or video clips. Make sure to supply the correct mime “type” for each item (clip).
- Add as many items as you want to include in your podcast. Remember, items with the most recent publication date and time will appear first when a viewer first subscribes to your podcast and when iTunes or their other “podcatcher” updates the podcast subscription.
- Put the .xml file to your web server using Dreamweaver (you can also do it manually).
- Test your .xml file to be sure it loads in iTunes.
Promoting Your Podcast
- Put info on your web page showing how the viewer can subscribe to your podcast. If he or she is using a “podcatcher” other than iTunes, instruct them to copy the URL to the xml file and paste it into the proper subscription location in their software. If they’re using iTunes, you can link directly to the .xml file and cause the viewer’s copy of iTunes to open (with their permission) and automatically subscribe to the podcast. Here’s a sample link:pcast://convergence.journalism.missouri.edu/podcasts/sampler.xml.
- When linking to your podcast on a web page, you should also link to the iTunes download page.
- Add your podcast to the iTunes Podcast Directory. Take advantage of the millions of people downloading music and subscribing to podcasts from Apple’s site. In iTunes, click on the Podcasts link from the Source window on the left. In the lower left section of the Podcasts page that opens (next to the “Now Playing” panel), click on the Podcast Directory link. The iTunes Music Store will open to the Podcasts section. Directly under the Podcasts dropdown menu you’ll see a link to “Submit a Podcast.” Click on it. Before you fill in the URL, etc. for your podcast, now would be a good time to make absolutely sure your podcast works! Submitting bad code to Apple will keep you from getting a listing in their directory. It might also be wise to read the FAQ on the Submitting Podcasts page. Supply the necessary information to submit your podcast. Apple will check to see that it works, that it’s been updated a time or two and that it doesn’t contain explicit content. Then they’ll add it to their searchable database.
Remember, a podcast is only useful if you update it on a regular basis, clearing out old material and providing links to new content.
March 21, 2012 by