Once you have your recording, you may want to edit out gaps, remove umms and hmms. and add music or effects. Sound editing is more art than science, and the best way to make a podcast omelet is to break some eggs. Now is also the time to add intro and outro material.

If your interview, music, and other sounds are of different volumes, you should adjust them to even things out. You can do this quickly in Audacity by selecting Edit/Select All and then Effects/Normalize.

Editing and exporting audio on the Mac.

Audacity doesn’t come with an MP3 converter, because MP3 conversion software can’t legally be distributed in free programs. But Audacity and other audio applications can plug in third-party encoders such as LAME.

3a. Download an MP3 codec library if you haven’t already, that works on your platform (see software chart) and extract it to your Audacity folder. Within Audacity, open Preferences/File Format, choose Find Library, and point to the converter. Now you’ll be able to save MP3s.

3b. Choose your bit rate in Audacity Preferences/ File Format. For voice. I generally use 32 kbps with a sample rate of 22kHz. For a 30-minute segment.

I try to keep the files less than 8 megabytes. Ex¬periment with different settings, and keep in mind that many listeners use phones and other devices without much space.

3c. Export your file (or files). Within Audacity, select File/Export as MP3 and/or Export as Ogg.

If your audio application can only save WAV files, create the WAV. then use another application to convert via Import/Save As. When Audacity exports an MP3, it will prompt you to fill out the tag information. I usually leave it blank and add this later (see step 4).

4a. Name the file. You can name your file anything (provided you keep the proper extension), but it’s considerate to follow a convention that helps listen¬ers find shows in their podcast collections:

Show Jit/e ■year-month-day: fHe_extensbn For example, the MP3 version of MAKE: Audio’s June 1. 2005. show would be:

MAKE-2005-06-01, mp3

4b. Choose a CC license. A Creative Commons li¬cense is a more flexible copyright (a “copyleft») that lets you retain some rights to your works but also encourages sharing, which is what makes podcasts so popular. You can choose a license and find out more permit copying and distribution, but only for non¬commercial purposes and with credit given, and we prohibit derivative works without permission. This license can be found at creativecommons.orH/ licenses/by nc nd/2.0.

4c. Tag the file. MP3s contain metadata text that you can add to files, such as Song title. Artist, and Genre. Not all players will show these tags, but they’re good to add. You can tag an MP3 using many methods, but I use iTunes. To do this, drag the file into the iTunes panel, and then select it and choose File/Get Info. Click the Info tab. and enter the information you want to include. For Comments, you’re limited to around 250 characters. I gener¬ally list who is on the show, what it’s about, and the Creative Commons license. “Podcast” isn’t listed in the Genre, but I type it in.

Doug Kaye’s IT Conversations podcast visits top conferences and talks to leading minds about RSS (of course), the impact of technology on social networks, and other issues. You could spend a good month with his material so far, and it’s directly listener-supported — so if you like what you hear, please contribute to the tip jar. itconversations.com.

4d. Add artwork (optional). The MP3 format also supports an Artwork tag. which can contain any images you want to include. Most portable players won’t display these, but they’ll show up in desktop players and on the new color-screen iPod. Adding art increases the file size, however, so you should keep it down to a single JPG or GIF image. 320×240 or smaller. In iTunes. the Artwork tab on the Get Info window you just opened lets you add and delete images.


Summary Info Options f- Artwork ‘


Make: technology on your time

Prepare to be spontaneous. The best way to ensure you’ll feel free and conversational is to do your home¬work. Know the story and what you want to ask the person on the other end of your mic.

Show, don’t tell. Think cinema. In dialogue with your subject, and ingathering ambient sound to accompany the piece, think of your podcast as a movie.

Don’t condescend to your audience. When framing your questions or editing, avoid making assumptions about what your I istener already knows.

Don’t condescend to your interviewee. You’re there because you don’t know the answers, so don’t assume that you know the subject’s position or opinion. Enter the dialogue with a sense of respectful curiosity. It’s your job to unearth insight, and an understanding of who this person is. for strangers who wouldn’t other¬wise get the chance.

Push. If you can’t reach an answer you need one way. try a different route. Ease into the tougher stuff. Every¬one wants to be understood; is there something your subject would like the world to understand that has been botched or missed before?


5a. Upload the file. At this point. I usually drag the file back out of iTunes to my desktop, and then upload it to my server via FTP. If the show becomes popular, you’ll need a server that can handle the traffic, but hosting generally isn’t free.

Some podcasters share the load with BitTorrent (‘bittorent.com’). which is free but not easy to install. Others use Apple’s .Mac service, but they’ve been known to shut off too-popular files. This is a topic we discuss on makezine.com.The important thing is to upload the file to any public server space with a URL you can link to.

5b. Create and publish the RSS feed. The magic of podcasting happens when a podcatcher checks an RSS feed to see if there’s a new show. If so. it downloads the show for you to play later. Blogging applications like Movable Type have plug-ins that automatically create an RSS feed, so if you use one of these, it’s worth checking for this.

Otherwise, here’s how you can roll your own in any text or HTML editor. Create a file that looks as shown below (the blue parts are what you change every time you publish a new podcast; the black text is an RSS template)

In the enclosure tag. the URL value is the server location of the file: length is the file size in bytes: and type is the file type and format. Other possible enclosure type values include application/ogg (for Ogg Vorbis). video/mpg. video/quicktime. image/ jpg. and application/x-bittorrent. You can learn more RSS capabilities at blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss. lastBuild and pubDate are the times the feed was last updated and published (for us. the same thing). It’s important to keep these up-to-date so pod¬catcher applications know when you’ve published something new.

Save this file, in plain text format, with the exten¬sion ‘‘xml” (for example, podcast.xml). Then upload this file to your server. This is the file that tells the podcatcher apps what you have to offer, and you’ll update it with another <item> section whenever you publish a new podcast.

5c. Create OPML show notes (optional). Outline Processor Markup Language (OPML) is an HTML/ XML relative that’s used to create outlines. Some podcasters create notes for their shows in OPML format and upload them alongside the XML. making a richer layer of documentation available to compat¬ible podcatchers. While not a requirement, it’s worth checking out at opml.ors

5d. Publish to the web. You’re almost a podcaster! Now you need to let the world know about your podcast. There are a few directory sites you can register your podcast on. with more in the works. Start by filling out the forms at audio.weblo<;s.com, podcastalley.com. and udeo.com.

You’ve recorded your audio, edited it. compressed, tagged, uploaded, syndicated, and published it. You’re a podcaster now. Talk hard — and welcome to the revolution!

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