Week 5: Podcasts

This weeks lecture taught us how to create and host podcasts.

What is a podcast?

First, let’s clear up what a podcast actually is: A podcast is any media file (audio, video or even PDF) which can be subscribed to on the internet. Podcasting is different from webcasting (streaming), because it enables the listener/viewer to download the media content for offline consumption. Podcasts consist of the media file(s) and a web feed (usually RSS) which informs the user if there is new content or downloads it automatically.

What steps are involved in creating a podcast?

  1. Creating an audio file: See last weeks post!
  2. Polishing the audio file: Polish your audio file using any audio editor to remove distracting noises, add in background music and/or create effects like Fade-Outs. In Audacity you can use the features ‘Remove Ambient Noise‘ and ‘Dynamic Range Compressor‘ to make your audio more clear.
  3. Upload your audio file: There are various websites you can use for uploading audio files. PodOmatic is free, easy to use and helps you in the next step as well.
  4. Turn your audio into a podcast: Create a correctly formed RSS file which includes all the basic information on your podcast. Use FeedValidator to check if your file works. PodOmatic automatically does this for you when you upload an audio file and provides you with a link to the RSS file.
  5. Include your podcast on your website: Finally you should include your audio file and a link to the RSS file on your website or blog.
    1. Include audio directly on WordPress: [ audio http://yourwebsite.com/audio/podcast.mp3 ] (without spaces)
    2. Or include link to audio file: <a title="Subscribe to my podcast" href="http://yourwebsite.com/audio/podcast.mp3">Listen to my podcast!</a>
    3. Include link to RSS file: <a title="Subscribe to my podcast" href="http://yourwebsite.com/audio/rss.xml">Subscribe now!</a>
  6. Spread the word: To get even more listeners, consider uploading your podcast to iTunes! Make sure your RSS file matches the iTunes guidelines.

Now everyone can enjoy your podcast!

Image Source: evepodcasts.com


Week 4: Audio

This week we talked about audio formats and recording in preparation of the podcast project.

Audio Wave

Audio Wave

There are a number of different audio formats, which can store audio information uncompressed or compressed, and the latter in loseless (original can be restored) or lossy (reduces file size a lot, but original can’t be restored) compression.

  • .mp3 (MPEG-2 Audio Layer III) is the most common and standard for playing music digitally. It uses lossy compression to reduce the file size.
  • .wav (WAVE, Waveform Audio File Format) is the common format for storing uncompressed audio data on Windows
  • .aiff (Audio Interchange File Format) is an uncompressed file format used mainly on Macs
  • .ogg (OGG Vorbis) is an open-source audio format using lossy compression, intended as an alternative to the patented MP3

Now, things to pay attention to while recording an audio:

  • If you record your audio with a manual recording device, the data has to be digitised first. This can be done through re-recording, which however always causes a certain loss in data.
  • Be aware of the background noises in your surroundings. A bit of ambient noise can add to the atmosphere of your recording, but too much will distract from your actual content.
  • Try to record in a room with limited flat surfaces, as sound bounces off these and can disturb your recording. Things like wall-paper, carpet and textured surfaces in general can help dampen down the noise.

Good luck!

Image Source: sherhaps.wordpress.com