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Preparing your media files - XML

There are various forms of web syndication available to web site owners. The syndicated distribution of media is known as Podcasting. In this article we will focus on delivering different audio and video (sometimes called Vodcasting) media to your subscribers.

  1. How to Set Up Podcasting and Vodcasting
  2. Preparing your media files
  3. Publishing your Podcast
  4. Distribution, licensing, and legal concerns
By: Nilpo/Developer Shed Staff Writer
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March 12, 2007

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In this section, I am going to demonstrate a couple of easy ways to create media files.  If you already have media files that you would like to distribute, you can skip the next section.

If youíre interested in creating audio files you first need to find an audio creation program.  There are very good commercial products available such as Adobe Audition that have very powerful audio creation and editing abilities.  If youíre not interested in a commercial solution I suggest taking a look at Audacity, a free, open-source cross-platform sound editor.

In either case, these programs are able to record live audio from different MIDI sources.  Simply record your audio, make any necessary edits, and save.  Both Audition and Audacity support saving directly to MP3 format.

For video creation youíll most likely want to do some sort of video recording.  There are plenty of software solutions to choose from like TechSmithís Camtasia Studio.  If you are creating instructional videos or tutorials I highly recommend using Adobe Captivate.  Of course, if free is your preferred price then you might want to take a look at BoByteís AviTricks and AviScreen.

Nearly every video creator/editor that Iím aware of exports to AVI format which can lead to very large file sizes.  Donít worry about that.  Sticking to our model weíll be converting it to a compressed MP4 format anyway.

So you have your audio or video file and youíre ready to distribute it.  Most likely your audio file will already be in the MP3 format.  If it isnít, there are many free MP3 encoders available.  I recommend using the open-source Lame MP3 Encoder.

Due to licensing, the Lame MP3 Encoder must be installed separately in order to add MP3 functionality to Audacity.

MP3 is a compressed format, but it still doesnít hurt to tinker with the settings.  Remember that most mobile devices still have a limited amount of storage space.  You also donít want to kill your subscribers in download time or yourself in bandwidth.

An audio rate of 128kbps is plenty.  In most cases you can use a lower bit rate without a noticeable loss to the end user.  Especially for videos, slight changes can make drastic improvements in file sizes.  For example, most portable media players have very small displays so you can safely reduce the resolution on your videos that are designed for mobile playback.

Converting video from AVI to MP4 is a largely similar process.  I personally use Free iPod Video Converter by Jodix.  It has a nice wizard style interface and is capable of performing batch conversions.  You can also save commonly used settings and edit ID3 tags on the fly.

>>> More XML Articles          >>> More By Nilpo/Developer Shed Staff Writer

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