Podcasting, inflight

A number of people have asked how we recorded & edited the talks from the recent Forum, so I thought it might be worth sharing. Since this was our first go at podcasting, we did learn a couple of important lessons, at least one of which I seem to remember right now: don’t use a CD recorder which is set to automatically start a new track whenever a speaker pauses. We did, and as a result, some of our talks came out in one beautiful chunk of an AIFF file, while others (the majority) had to be pieced together from up to thirty-five 20second – 1min tracks. Using the CD recorder itself turned out to be painless – we had it plugged into the speaker system, and just had to remember hitting “record” and switching CD-R’s after 75 minutes. For editing, I discovered most podcasters seem to use Audacity (open source), and I also discovered that we probably could have used Audacity to record the talks as well. Instead of the CD recorder, we would have just plugged a laptop into the speaker system. That’s probably what we’ll try next. I can’t claim to be much of an expert in compressing audio anymore (although I did quite a bit of it for the UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive in what seems like a different life now – back then, I used MediaCleaner), but Audacity makes converting the large AIFF files into nimble mp3’s rather easy. You only have to download the additional LAME encoder library (another piece of open source software). I was a little surprised at how few options I had in encoding (essentially, I just set the bit-rate to 48, and that was that), but the resulting mp3’s sound ok, and they meet the general criteria of being around 5MB for each 15 min, which I read on some no-doubt preeminently authoritative podcasting guide should be my goal. Mind you, all of this research was done in the airport lounge, and all of the encoding was done inflight back from Washington DC and on the way to our meeting in Dublin, Ohio.

We’ll have them up soon, alongside the PowerPoints! Just a little more patience…

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One Comment

  1. Hey all.
    I have Windows XP.
    What are some of the video podcasting software that produces video podcasts for the PC compatible with video ipods and apple itunes?

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