A great way to communicate with an audience or simply have fun with friends and share the content later is to use podcasts.
This great means of communication can be uploaded to one of the many podcast directories on the web where it can be downloaded to an MP3 player or similar device. The name “podcast” comes from the popularity of creating on-demand audio shows that were downloaded almost exclusively by iPod users, and it is the on-demand nature of the audio combined with the fact that such a webcast doesn’t require a network or radio signal to listen to it that has made podcasting so successful.
Little specialist knowledge is required for podcasting.
All you really need to get started with podcasting is a recording device, such as microphone or microphone headset, and a recording program, such as Windows Sound Recorder. You can launch Windows Sound Recorder by typing sound into the Start > Search box in Windows 7.
With this running, click Start Recording to begin. Click Stop Recording when you’re done and save the file. Note that the saved track will be in WMA format; if you want access to more features and more save options then try the superb open source Audacity application, available from audacity.sourceforge.net.
However it is a good idea to have some sort of idea about what your podcast is going to entail – a running order planned in advance is a popular way of doing this, and is one of many conventions that have passed into podcasting from radio broadcasting.
Also be aware that you should not be playing copyrighted material in your podcast, as this would constitute a breach. Seeking permission from the copyright holder of the music or clip you intend to play would be acceptable, however.
Interviewing and Co-Podcasting
If you find that your content is a bit restricted by your own voice being the dominant factor of your podcast (and with no sound clips to break things up) then you should consider co-podcasting or interviewing. This can be done in various ways. You might opt to purchase a portable digital recorder (or use your laptop or a mobile phone with a suitable recording app) to head out and meet up with interview subjects, or invite a co-podcaster to join you.
One way of both interviewing and co-podcasting is to take advantage of Skype. Several Skype recording tools are available and these can be used to great effect to co-present a blog with a colleague overseas or interview someone you can’t meet up with.
Adding Sound Effects and Beds
Using a tool like Audacity, you can improve the production values of your podcast by adding effects, intros and sound effects.
For instance, if there is a lot of talking you might opt to add a subtle “bed” a track of music playing very quietly in the background that can only be heard when you pause. Meanwhile you might also add sound effects in at certain places, perhaps popular catchphrases or longer clips (such as an interview you performed in advance).
Meanwhile, don’t think that just because you’re only using a very basic recording tool that you don’t have access to sound effects ; you might employ a soundboard to store and playback and regularly needed sounds during your podcast.
With your podcast ready to be heard, give it a listen through and check that you’re happy. The final step is to upload your podcast to one of the specialist directories on the web, where people will hopefully here your efforts and give you some feedback!
Tags: 'iPod, Audacity, Podcast, Skype, sound recorder
Posted December 24th, 2010 in News by Michael