To create a podcast the following are necessary:
- A relatively modern computer with speakers, and internet connection.
- A microphone. Some computers have a in-built mic, but a more expensive external mic will create better quality audio recordings.
- Digital recording software (such as Audacity) to create the audio files. However, there are software packages (such as ProfCast on the Apple Mac) designed specifically for audio and video podcasting that may now be more suitable.
Audio podcasts (usually MP3s) are easier to create and the filesize is more manageable for upload and download, but nevertheless it is now simple to create video podcasts using podcasting software. In addition to the requirements above, video needs:
- A video camera. This can be a simple USB webcam or a more expensive digital video camera connected to the computer.
It is possible to record audio podcasts into portable media players (such as an iPod with a mic attachment) but the quality is not necessarily high and this requires the extra step of transferring the audio file from the media player to the computer.
The Steeple Podcasting Booklet contains more information in its Recording a podcast section.
We always recommend the following short training session for anyone involved in podcasting at Oxford: http://courses.it.ox.ac.uk/detail/TIMV
Possible Hardware Options
There are many means of recording audio and video for podcasts, with varying levels of expensive and complexity.
By far the simplest method is to record directly into a computer using it's own internal mic, but the audio quality will not be exceptional and the mic is likely to pick up background noise (from the computer's fan, for example). Using an external microphone produces a cleaner signal.
Regardless of the means by which podcasts are recorded, to publish them it is usually required to transfer the recording from the recording device to a computer with access to the internet. In general, the fewer steps required to generate the final podcast file on a computer, the better.
Other options for recording include:
- An iPod, with Apple's proprietary mic attachment plugged into the top. There are different microphone products with varying performance, some examples can be seen here: http://www.welovemacs.com/ipmire.html
- A portable recorder, such as a Marantz PMD 661 Solid State MP3 Recorder, can be a relatively inexpensive and yet high quality option for audio recording. Many of these portable recorders make use of SD cards and other modern storage cards.
- Expensive external USB (not analogue) microphones (such as a Samson CO1U USB mic) can be plugged directly into a computer and provide very high quality audio recordings. Additional attachments to isolate background noise can increase the quality.
- Digital video cameras can be used for audio and video input for use in podcasts, and these can record onto DV tape (which would then have to be transferred to the computer using a separate piece of hardware) or can be plugged directly into a computer (commonly via FireWire). These usually provide high-quality audio and video recordings.
The Steeple Podcasting Booklet contains more information in its Baseline audio kit section.
List of Recording Software
Simple and free
- Audacity, free software for recording sound from a mic on a PC or Mac. A tutorial to use Audacity and various podcasting video tutorials are available to view and download. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ (Audacity requires the LAME MP3 Encoder to save the audio files as MP3:http://lame.sourceforge.net/)
- iTunes, used a podcast reader and also for converting audio files into MP3. http://www.apple.com/iTunes/
- Windows Sound Recorder, but the quality will not be exceptional.
- ProfCast is an easy to use professional podcasting software tailored specifically for educational needs available for the Mac (PC version in development). http://www.profcast.com/
- ePodcast Producer is expensive professional podcasting software for the PC.http://www.industrialaudiosoftware.com/products/epodcastproducer.html
- Podium is a complete commercial podcasting solution available for Windows that has a robust audio editing toolset.http://www.podiumpodcasting.com/
- Garageband is an advanced audio composition package available for Mac. http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/