Before you get started, be sure to read the article how do I make a podcast? This article will assume you are already familiar with the basics of audio podcasting.
Video podcasting isn't that much different from audio podcasting. All you need is an appropriate video file wrapped up in an enclosure element, just as I explained in the article how do I make a podcast?
Ah, but that nasty word "appropriate" is where all the trouble comes in!
iPod Video: Anything Does Not GoYou might think you could take, let's say, a Windows Media (.wmv) file produced with Windows Movie Maker and use it in a podcast. But that won't work. The video-capable iPods support only two basic formats:
1. Certain types of H.264 video.
2. Certain types of MPEG4 video.
You can find a more exact definition of what is supported in Apple's podcast technical specifications.
So what can we do about it? Do we have to understand these formats in agonizing detail? Fortunately, no. There are tools available to do the conversion for us. And some of those tools are free!
Since most of my readers have Windows, I'll spend the bulk of my time explaining how to do the job for free in Windows. But first, let me briefly address how to solve the problem on other systems.
Creating iPod Video With MacOS XMacOS X users have it easy: Apple has an official HOW-TO document explaining exactly how to create iPod Video under MacOS X with QuickTime Pro. See Apple's official video podcasting tutorial page for everything you need to know.
Creating iPod Video With LinuxLinux users also have a solution available to them, though it's not as easy as the solutions for the Mac or for Windows (hands up, anyone who is surprised). Visit diveintomark.org's iPod video HOWTO for Linux.
Similar techniques can also be used on MacOS X, but most Mac users will prefer the simplicity of QuickTime Pro, even though it does cost approximately $30 as of this writing.
Creating iPod Video With WindowsWindows users who want to do this as painlessly as possible have the option of buying QuickTime Pro for Windows. Though it does cost a little money, QuickTime Pro provides the most painless and professional way to create iPod-compatible video files. After all, Apple makes both QuickTime and the iPod.
If you do have QuickTime Pro, you can do your conversion to an iPod-friendly format right in iTunes. Add video files in any Windows video format to your iTunes library via the "Add File to Library" option on the File menu Then select "Movies," right-click the movie you want, and select "Convert Selection for iPod." You'll then be able to find the resulting .mp4 file on your hard drive. It doesn't get much easier than that.
If you've read this far, though, you're more interested in the free solution. And right now, the best free solution for Windows is Videora iPod Converter.
Creating iPod Video For Free With Videora iPod ConverterVideora iPod Converter is a free program that can convert AVI files to iPod-compatible .m4a format. As of this writing, the program is spyware- and malware-free and safe for your use. And it gets the job done, though I did encounter a few snags on one of my computers.
Just follow these steps to install Videora iPod Convert and convert your first video to iPod format.
1. Visit the iPod converter home page.
2. Read the page carefully. Click on the download link for the "full install" of Videora iPod Converter. You don't need Videora itself. You don't need to buy anything.
3. If you downloaded the software with Firefox, double-click it in the "Download" window once the download is complete. If you downloaded the software with Internet Explorer, you'll be asked whether you want to save or run the program. Select "Run."
4. When the installation program begins, uncheck the "launch on startup" box. It's not necessary to slow down your computer's startup, you can run it when you really want it. Be sure to leave AviSynth checked.
You may see this error:
AviSynth 2.5.6In my tests the product worked anyway. Just click "OK."
You need administrator rights to install AviSynth! (Could not write to registry)
6. Now, record your video and copy it to your computer (if you haven't already!) and edit it with Windows Movie Maker (standard in Windows XP). When you are done, click "Save to my computer" under "Finish Movie." Give your movie the name mymovie (or any name you wish) and accept the default setting of "best quality for playback on my computer (recommended)."
7. When the Windows Media file is ready, you will have a file called mymovie.wmv in your "My Videos" folder.
8. Click "Convert"
9. Click "One-Click Transcode"
10. "My Video" opens. You'll see all of your video files here. Select mymovie.wmv and click "Open."
11. A progress display appears. Be patient. Depending on the size of your video, the conversion may take some time.
13. Your video is converted to a file with the same name but a .mp4 extension. This is an MPEG 4 video stream compatible with an iPod. However, note that the .mp4 file winds up in C:\Program Files\VideoraIpodConverter\Videos, which is very easy to miss. So don't go crazy looking for it!
14. Via "My Computer," browse to the C:\Program Files\VideoraIpodConverter\Videos folder. If you have QuickTime Player (the free edition is just fine, you don't need Pro), you will be able to double-click it to play it. If you don't have QuickTime Player, you can pick it up from Apple's site. Note: you do not need to pay for Quicktime Pro just to test your finished movies. Simply click "Free Download Now" on that page.
Great, I Have An iPod Video File! Now What Do I Do?OK, we've got a video file that's compatible with the iPod! So far, so good. But how do we add it to a podcast? If you have already read my article how do I make a podcast, then you know the basics. Audio and video files must be enclosed in enclosure elements. Here's how to enclose your new video file correctly in your podcast XML file:
The length attribute is set to the size of the .mp4 file in bytes. You can find that out by right-clicking the .mp4 file and picking "Properties."
So, a complete podcast XML file for a video podcast would look like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<title>Episode One: Here Comes the Tabby</title>
<pubDate>Mon, Dec 18 2006 14:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
Once again, if you're not 100% clear on what to do with the XML file, you need to read how do I make a podcast?" first before reading this article.
Hey Now, You're A TV Star... And that's all it takes! Your users can subscribe to your video podcast in exactly the same way they subscribe to an audio podcast. Sometimes iTunes is not set up to automatically sync video podcasts to the iPod, so your users may need to left-click on the iPod in iTunes, select the podcasts tab, and set it to sync your particular podcast before right-clicking on the iPod and selecting sync (thanks to Chris Koeberle).
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