How to Podcast

How To Use Podcasting:

podcast-microphone

 Podcasting is a new and exciting method of audio/media delivery over the internet that allows people from all over the world to listen to automatically downloaded recordings from work, home or in their car. Podcasting is for everyone, not just iPod owners. This is particularly useful for distributing recorded sermons to church members and anyone else around the world interested in the messages. Also training sessions, devotionals, or any message regularly produced can be delivered through Podcasting.

[Click here for more in depth explanation of podcasting]

When a user subscribes to a podcast, each new message is downloaded automatically by iTunes or another podcatcher software. Then the subscriber can listen to it from their computer or transfer it to an iPod/MP3 player or burn it on a CD and take it along in the car, to the gym, or wherever. Note: Podcasting is a wonderful resource that works best with broadband/high-speed connectivity to the internet. Dial-up users will have longer download times because of the slower transfer speeds, so try to keep files sizes small.

It's easy to subscribe to a podcast. There are numerous services available to help users find and subscribe to your Podcast. One of the most popular is iTunes, a media player software developed by Apple for both Mac and PC users. Podcasting got it's name partially because of iTunes ability to receive podcasts and automatically load the files onto iPod MP3 players.

Get The Gear

A laptop or desktop computer with an Internet connection.

Though not required, we recommend that your computer is running a recent version of Windows (Windows 2000 or newer), Mac OS X (Mac OS X 10.3 or newer).

A microphone or audio line-in.

Often ministries will want to distribute a regularly scheduled message that is presented live (like sermons or training sessions). With live presentations, the speaker usually uses a microphone and sound reinforcement system. Connect the computer line-in to an audio out from the sound board. If the recording is not a live presentation, it is recommended to use a high quality microphone. Remember the audio will only sound as good as the microphone quality.

Sound recording software.

You can use a number of free and paid software programs to record your podcast. Audacity is a popular free program for recording and editing podcasts and it's available for both Windows and Mac. Mac users can also purchase GarageBand for sound recording and editing.

An MP3 encoder.

This software converts your podcast into an MP3 file. You can use a variety of different programs. A popular free encoder is the LAME MP3 Encoder. Many recording softwares also have the ability to save as an MP3 or to convert to an MP3. Audacity has the ability to save as MP3 when used with the LAME MP3 Encoder. iTunes for Mac and PC can also convert recordings to MP3 for free.

Record Your Podcast Using Audacity (PC) or GarageBand (Mac)

waveFind a quiet place to record if this is not a live presentation. Open your sound recording program and begin recording your podcast.

Audacity users: Make sure you set your preferences to match the type of recording you are doing. Open "Edit/Preferences" and the "Audio I/O" tab. For voice only or most live recordings set channels: 1 (mono). In the "Quality" tab set the Default Sample Rate: 44100 Hz and the Default Sample Format: 16-bit, then click OK to exit the menu. When you're ready, click the "Record" button to begin recording. When you're done, just click "Stop." Make sure to do test recordings before you make your final recording. The test recordings will allow you to make sure you are recording at a good level. To set your levels, speak into your microphone at the same volume you will use for your final recording. Looking at the recording meter, the meter should peak between -12 and -6. If you peak at 0 or above you will probably experience poor quality at those peaks. Increasing the volume of a low level recording produces better results than turning down one that is recorded too high. If you are recording an energetic speaker, plan to record at a lower level and work on it after the recording is over.

GarageBand users: Start a new song and create a new track using "Real Instruments" and "Vocals" with no effects. Click "Record" once to start recording, and click it again to stop.

If your sound recording software comes with editing tools, experiment with these to improve the quality of your podcast. For example, if your recorded voice and imported music are at different volumes, use your editing program to balance out these levels. Adding some cool effects like echoes and fading can make your podcast sound more dynamic and engaging, although you don't want to go overboard with these.

Audacity users: Add sound effects like reverb, fade in and fade outs, and bass boost by highlighting portions of your sound waveform and selecting an option from the Effect menu. For live performances, especially with mixed loud and soft voices, the effect/leveler tool will help even out the recording.

GarageBand users: To add effects to your recording, select a track, and click "Track Info." Then click the Details triangle to see all the effects. Use the checkboxes and sliders to add and adjust effects. If the track is playing, you'll hear any changes as you make them.

Note: You should make sure that any music or sound effects you add are not copyright-protected. Please note songs used in worship services are protected under copyright and may not be distributed through a podcast.

C. Save Your Podcast

Save your podcast as an MP3 file. Remember the larger your file is the longer it takes for subscribers to download it. We recommend using an encoding rate of 56kbps mono for voice only and 96kbps for mixed voice and music.

Audacity users: Open "Edit/Preferences" and the "File Formats" tab you can locate your MP3 encoder and set the encoding rate for the MP3. When you're ready to make your MP3, select "File/Export as an MP3..." If this is your first time using this feature in Audacity, the program will prompt you to identify the location of the MP3 encoder file. Simply find and select the MP3 encoder you downloaded earlier. Once you've done this, Audacity will never ask you to do this again.

GarageBand users: Select "File > Export to iTunes." In iTunes, first go to "iTunes > Edit > Preferences" and click "Importing." In the "Import Using" pull-down menu, choose "MP3 Encoder." Then select your recording in the iTunes Library, go to the Advanced menu, and choose "Convert Selection to MP3." You can click and drag the MP3 to your desktop or into an FTP program.

When you name your MP3 file, we recommend that you use a name that will help you organize your podcasts. For example, a standard naming convention is: Show_title-year-month-day.file_extension (for example: "My_first_podcast-2006-06-15.mp3").

Be sure to fill out your MP3 ID3 tags when you save your MP3 file. ID3 tags store information about your audio file like: song title, artist (you), and genre. These tags are really important, since this is the information that will be displayed when listeners play your MP3 file in a normal media player. It is recommended you complete the following tags: Category: Podcast, Album: your web site, Music Category: Podcast, Artist: Organization name, Composer: your web site. You can also load a picture that people will see like an album cover, (usually 170x170 jpg images) You can always edit your ID3 tags with Windows Media Player or iTunes. Using Windows Media Player, simply begin playing your MP3 file and click on the Now Playing tab. Then right click on the title and select Advanced Tag Editor. If you are using Windows Media Player 11, click on your Library tab, locate your MP3 file and right click to access the Advanced Tag Editor. Using iTunes, simply right click on the mp3 file and select Get Info. Click on the Info tab and complete the form. You can also load a picture under the Artwork tab.

Audacity users: You should be automatically prompted to edit your ID3 tags when you select "File/Export as an MP3..." If not, use the Windows Media player or iTunes method above.

Garageband users: If you haven't already, drag your MP3 file into the iTunes window. Select "File > Get Info" and click on the "Info" tab. Edit the appropriate ID3 tags and then click "OK" when finished.

Note: If your MP3 file is too big, you can make it smaller by reducing your podcast's recording rate and/or your podcast's bit rate. The best way to reduce size is to ensure the MP3 is Mono which is 1/2 the size of a Stereo recording. We recommend a minimum of 32k bits for talk-only podcasts, 48k bits is a commonly used bit rate. For podcasts containing music use a minimum of 96k bits, and the commonly used bit rate is 128k bits.

Share your podcast with the world.

Learn how to create and manage the RSS feed and Publish a Podcast