podcast.jpgAlthough new to the iPod world, podcasts have been part of my daily routine for quite some time now. I find them an exciting form of experiencing past events and more recent news while commuting. It’s true you can hear podcasts while doing something else, but I personally get more “juice” from them, during those moments where I’m doing nothing besides watching outside the window, whether it’s a bus or a train.

Since I addicted to podcasts I decided to post a gathering of all the info I could find on how to make and publish them online, plus some of my personal findings and notes. As you probably already have guessed: there’s more than one way of doing it!

So, first things first, where’s what you’ll need to start:

  • A computer, whether it’s mac or pc doesn’t really matter, altought this post is mainly oriented for mac users.
  • A microphone
  • Headphones
  • An audio recording program: some of the options are: Audacity (Mac/Win/Linux), Audio Hijack Pro (Mac), GarageBand (Mac),
  • Some other programas might come handy, but not entirely needed: Line-in, SoundFlower and SoundBed
  • This one is optional but might help gathering listeners: an incredible, calm voice! Sexier like Nicole is even more optional!

You should read about those applications and their capabilities on their own sites to fully understand their capabilities and purposes, I transcribe only a simple resume about each one of those I mentioned:

  • Audacity:
    Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Audicity is the program most recomendable, and normally used by most podcasters, is realtivly easy, has some advanced features and besides being free, it’s available on multiple platforms.
  • GarageBand:
    GarageBand lets you easily perform, record and create your own music. Whether you’re an experienced or aspiring musician. Or just want to feel — and sound — like a rock star.
  • Audio Hijack Pro:
    Audio Hijack Pro will allow you to record any application’s audio, from internet streams to DVD audio and everywhere in between. If your machine can play it, Audio Hijack Pro can record it.
  • LineIn:
    LineIn is a simple application for OS X to enable the soft playthru of audio from input devices. In simpler terms, you can use LineIn to play sound coming in through a microphone or any other device plugged in to your Sound In port.
  • Soundflower:
    Soundflower is a MacOS X (10.2 and later) system extension that allows applications to pass audio to other applications. Soundflower is easy to use, it simply presents itself as an audio device, allowing any audio application to send and receive audio with no other support needed. Soundflower is free and open-source. When using Soundflower to send audio to and from applications, you may find that you are not able to send audio through another device to monitor audio output. In such situations you can use Soundflowerbed, an application that resides in the Finder’s Menubar allowing you to tap into Soundflower channels and route them to an audio device.

Depending on the type of podcast you’d be interested in making, you have different approaches on how to record your audio, here’s some examples:

  • Interviewing someone: you can make it face to face or interview him using any Voip supporting program: skype, ichat, messenger, etc.. Using SoundFlower or any other Windows/Linux equivalent you can catch that program output directly into you recording program, allowing you to record those interactive moments for life.
  • Presentations audio: in these case the normal situation is to have the audio stored on some kind of media support: cd, tape, etc. In these cases all you’ll need is to get your audio into one of those programs, which should be pretty simple to achieve.
  • Audio version of your posts: here you can always read them out loud while recording, or you can make a computer read it! Yeah, this only has reasonable results if you like me write in english. If you’re the proud owner of a Mac, you already know that your computer can read out loud just about any text, but for the rest of the world, or if you simply don’t like the sound of your mac, you can always turn to talkr: an online service that allows you to listen to your favorite text-only news sources rather than read them. Basically if you can them an RSS feed they’ll convert you that feed from text to speech. Of course, lust doesn’t come cheap, which in this case means: subscription service.

I won’t go into the details of audio editing, for that I recommend reading your audio program documentation and using your imagination to it! Audacity provides some very nice tutorials online, Apple has also released a GarageBand mini howto, and there are also some nice walkthroughs:

One important thing regarding your selfmade podcasts: Chapters. There’s a mini-howto about podcasts chapters, there you’ll find all that’s needed on how to create chapters inside podcasts and assign each chapter it’s own imagem and link if you’ll find it desirable. And remember chapters are great to let your listeners hear only the parts of your podcast that really interest them!

Well, assuming you already have your own podcast, it’s time to publish it? Right? Well, first thought would be to publish it on your personal site, right? Wrong! Many podcasters made that same error, only to discover by the end of the month a whole new perspective on podcast: their bandwidth bill!

Well, I search for some more pleasant approaches to this problem, and found out one almost perfect service you can use to publish not only your podcasts, but also your rich media productions:

  • ccPublisher:
    ccPublisher is a tool to help you publish your audio and video to the web with a Creative Commons license. It also lets you upload your files to the Internet Archive to take advantage of free hosting!

This solution would be the most recommendable for different reasons, one is the fact that it gives you some warranties about your work use, thru the creative commons license, the other advantage come from the archive.org itself: the building of a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, it only depends on how you see your own work! 😉