How to Video Podcast

How To Use Video Podcasting:

video-943569 640Video podcasting is very similar to Audio podcasting. You follow the same basic process except you are working with video instead of audio. Video podcasts are becoming more and more popular with the increase in broadband connections and the explosion of the MP4/MP3 mobile players like the Video iPod. Because video requires a much larger file size, it is important to remember this question. "Can I present this information effectively in audio only, or is video really needed to communicate effectively?" Although there is some novelty to podcasting the video of a sunday sermon, unless it is an illustrated sermon, it may best be distributed as audio only. Another consideration is length of time. To keep the file sizes small and the download times reasonable, try to keep the video short. Alright, now that we know what we want to video podcast, we need to learn how to video podcast.

Get The Gear

A Camera

This can be as simple as a web cam, or as complex as a multi camera operation with cgi. Because there are video solutions for almost any budget, your camera setup is up to you and therefore will not be covered here. However, you will need some form of video to process and turn into your video podcast. Also, always remember that the better quality your video is to start with, the better it will look in the end.

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). This machine will also need a Firewire connection or another form of video capture to get the video into the computer.

Video recording software

You can use a number of free and paid software programs to record your video into your computer. Windows Movie Maker is a popular program and comes free with most Window operating systems. Mac users can use iMovie to record their video. There are also numerous other video editing software on the market. Find a program that allows you to edit and produce the type of video you want to podcast.

An MP4 encoder

This software converts your video into a format that can easily be distributed in your podcast. You can use a variety of different programs. For Windows users if your video editing software does not encode MP4 video, we found the HandBrake software works very well and best of all it is free. Mac users, the MP4 format is fully supported as an iPod output format from all Mac Video editing softwares. Both Mac and PC users can also use QuickTime Pro to encode the MP4 video.

Record and Encode Video

If you have created your video on Digital Video tape you will need to capture the video onto your computer with a firewire connection or with a video capture device. Using a video editing software, edit and produce the video clip you wish to podcast. It may be nice to add a short clip at the beginning or end of your video to promote your web site. When it is done you need to export the video as an MP4 or M4V video format. If your video editing software does not support this format you will need to use a video encoding software like HandBrake.

Apple set the standards for Video Podcasting. They are set to comply with the Video iPod and are defined on Apple's Podcasing Technical Specification page. They recommend using one of the following formats.

  • H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 x 480, 30 frames per sec., Baseline Low-Complexity Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • H.264 video, up to 768 kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per sec., Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 x 480, 30 frames per sec., Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

We recommend the following settings for good quality and small file sizes:

  • H.264 video, up to 480 kbps, 320 x 240, between 10 and 30 frames per sec., with AAC-LC audio up to 96 kbps, 44 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

The fewer frames per second the higher the picture quality will be at a set kbps, but the less smooth the video will be. The lower the kbps is, the lower the quality and the smaller the file size. Play around with the different settings and find the lowest frames per second and the lowest kbps you want to use to try to get your file size as small as possible. Remember, what you are showing in your video and who your audience is, will also play a part in how low a quality you want to use.

Prepare MP4 Videos for Podcasting

The files are almost ready to podcast. The last thing to do is to use iTunes to add information about your Video similar to ID3 tags for MP3 files. Now that you have renamed your MP4 video file (keeping the .MP4 or mp4 extension) you want to open it with iTunes. If you do not have iTunes you can download it free. Make sure iTunes plays your video correctly. After playing your video right click on the title or thumbnail of your video. Choose "Get Info" and then click on the Info tab. Following the model from MP3 ID3 tags, name your video podcast.

You can use the standard naming convention: Show_title-year-month-day, or get creative. Remember if you are doing a series of videos, make the titles sequential so people can easily locate the next episode of your video podcast. Artist: podcast title, Album Artist: organization name, Album: web site url, Composer: web site url, Year: production year, Genre: Video Podcast, Comments: whatever you want to say, and check Part of a compilation.

Next click the Video tab. Complete these fields: Show: your podcast title, Season: 1 (you can divide topics or groupings with season numbers), Episode ID: your episode title, Episode Number: sequential numbering.

The Artwork Tab allows you to change the thumbnail graphic that was automatically generated. You can delete the default thumbnail and add your own 320x240 jpg graphic.

When you are done, you can post the MP4 video file to your RSS feed or through your podcast host. Remember, Podcasting video can become fairly expesive in a paid hosting service and can become very expensive when hosting it on your own webserver if you have too much traffic. Some people find they can put the video files on the public side of their free online storage accounts from providers like DropBox or Windows Live Skydrive. Simply use the url of your online storage file as the file location url in podcast RSS feed. When you run out of room on these online storage providers, you will need to remove episodes from the podcast or purchase additional storage space.

To learn more about creating and managing your RSS feed, read the Publishing a Podcast article.