Due to popular demand, I’m going to release the ancient chinese secrets that I use to create my legendary podcast. I’ve read several guides on how to do a podcast, even seen the article in Mac Addict that Jon passed on to me. I think Engadget’s legendary writeup has become a bible of sorts for the podcasting world. However, I believe in simplicity. Ease of use is imperative to me, namely because if it’s a chore to create a ‘cast, I probably wouldn’t keep doing it. Hey, it’s no secret. I’m a lazy man!
So I don’t use Audicity. I don’t use Garage Band. I don’t use Soundflower, nor do I use an $80 microphone. I’m sure I could figure out all those tools if I put my mind to it, but I found a simpler way to do everything that I want to. Using my method, you can record your voice, some music, sound effects from the web, iChat or Skype conversations, basically anything you can hear through your computer. Oh yeah, did I mention that all the tools are free? Ok, enough of an introduction, let’s get to the good stuff. Sorry Windows folks, this method is Mac only. I break things down into Three categories: Recording your ‘cast, converting your ‘cast and publishing your ‘cast.
Recording your ‘cast
LineIn: by Rogue amoeba.
WireTap: by Ambrosia Software Inc. Note: Appearantly they created a new version, Wiretap Pro that is shareware and costs $19.00. However, they do say “Users of the original (free) version of WireTap can continue to use WireTap Pro free of charge to record system audio to AIFF files. An audio “soundmark” is dubbed over your recordings if you use features not present in the original WireTap while using WireTap Pro without having registered it.” So it looks like you can download Wiretap Pro and use it for free exactly as I describe in this method.
A microphone: Don’t have one? Don’t worry, your Mac has one built in!
Headphones: Gotta have some cans over your ears or you’ll get feedback.
1) Download all the software and install it. Both of the utilities are tiny, so it shouldn’t take long at all.
2) Plug in your headphones and microphone (if you’ll be using one).
3) Open up LineIn. If you plugged in a microphone, select it under Output: Device. If not, then just leave all the settings alone. Check “Enabled” box. At thost point, you should be able to hear yourself speak in your headphones. Cool, eh? Go ahead, sing a few bars.
4) Open up WireTap and click record.
5) Say something interesting. Play some music in iTunes. Throw in some classic Simpsons lines from your trusty Simpsons Soundboard.
6) Click Stop in WireTap. Voila, you’ve now recorded your ‘cast!
Converting your ‘cast
Stuff you need:
iTunes: You know it, you love it.
1) Drag your podcast into iTunes. It will be an .aiff file and is probably sitting on your desktop.
2) Go into iTunes: Preferences and select the Importing Tab. Under “Import Using” select “MP3 Encoder” and then chose “Custom” for settings. You can tinker around here, basically all we’re doing is converting it to an MP3 and trying to shrink the file size down a bit. My settings are: Bit Rate=64 kps (VBR checked), Sample Rate=22.050 kHz, Channels=Stereo, Stereo Mode=Join Stereo. Seems to work for me.
3) Select your podcast in iTunes and choose from the menus, Advanced -> Convert Selection to MP3.
Ok, you’ve recorded your podcast and converted it. You still need to post it somewhere and create your rss feed. Without that, all you have is an mp3 file. The RSS is what actually turns it into a podcast that people can subscribe to. Lucky for you lazy folks out there, I have just as easy a method for taking care of the RSS feed as well.
For these directions you need to have a place to host your MP3 files. If you don’t have a place to, you can always check out LibSyn. They offer really cheap hosting with unlimited bandwidth. They’ll also provide you with an RSS feed virtually identical to what I describe below. If you chose to use them, you can skip steps 1-4.
1) Create a directory for your podcasts. I call mine “Podcasts”. No, I’m not very original.
2) Edit the dircaster.php file that you downloaded. It’s not complicated. If you open it in your text editor of choice, you’ll see where you can enter in your site name, email address, description of your podcast and so on.
3) Upload dircaster.php to the folder for your podcasts. You can use FTP if you want, I personally use SCP.
4) Upload your podcast to the same folder. Dircaster will immediately create an RSS feed for that ‘cast, complete with everything you need! You can check it out at this point by opening it up in a browser (If you want an example, you can check out mine).
5) I’ve found that some podcasting aggregators had issues with the dircaster feed, so I run it through Feedburner. Just go to Feedburner and type in the path to your dircaster.php file in the box near the bottom. On the next page, I suggest you check off Smartfeed, Item Stats and you must check SmartCast as well. Feedburner will clean up your feed nicely so it will play well with everyone and give you some great statistics.
That’s it! You’re done! Feedburner will provide you with an address for the resulting feed, which you should then publish everywhere! Anytime you upload a new MP3 file to your podcasts directory, dircaster will add it to your feed, and Feedburner will massage it and provide a nice neat rss feed for people to subscribe to.
The best thing about this method is once you’ve set up that last part, all you need to do to create a new podcast is open up LineIn, start Wiretap, and record. Once you stop recording, you bring it into iTunes, click convert and then upload the file. Tadah! Easy as pie. Piece of cake, upside down.
If you decide to use this method and record your own podcast, drop me a line! I’d love to hear it
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