iTunes Submittal & Acceptance

Once you have set up your podcasts and they sit online (my previous post outlines LybSyn) you will need to submit to iTunes. Well that’s if you want to be found on iTunes!

View your RSS feed by selecting VIEW FEED button to the right of  “LybSyn Classic Feed” (rss) under DESTINATIONS > EDIT OR VIEW EXISTING. Copy the URL (web address) then open up iTunes. in iTunes select Podcasts and then iTunes Store (top of podcasts page). You will find “submit a podcast” on the far right. Once clicked on this all you will need to do is past in your copies RSS feed address.

Do not expect your podcasts to show up on iTunes right away, as an idea my timeline was as follows:

  • Tuesday evening – submission
  • Thursday evening- approval
  • Friday morning – Searchable on iTunes (within two days of approval)

So my podcasts are fully green-lit, with the intention of releasing in the first full week of each month from now on.

Andy

 

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LybSyn & RSS Feeds

I have looked into numerous ways of how to syndicate my podcast (effectively a way of advertising your new podcast to other systems such as iTunes) :

  • Webpage: you have to manually edit an XML form to create your RSS feed, and its likely your web space provider will not like the high bandwidth that podcasts demand
  • WordPress: it’s going to cost you £70 per month and then its needs you to set up a category for your posts then set up an RSS feed through a third party service such as feedburner
  • LibSyn: an all in one solution that takes care of all the woes, and the one I have gone for in the end

 

Create an account, a variety of plans exist (See Here), I choose the entry plan, 50mb a month, as I am currently only looking to podcast once a month for twenty minutes (this works out to about 30mb for a 20 minute MP3 File).

Upload your first podcast (CONTENT>ADD NEW EPISODE). Include a title, subtitle and description (it’s worth noting that tags/keywords are no longer used by iTunes so try and include these in your subtitle and description where possible). Review the rest of the fields – they may not all apply to your podcast.

Edit the “Lybsyn Classic Feed” (rss) under DESTINATIONS > EDIT OR VIEW EXISTING, this includes iTunes store basic information such as catagories (x3), subtitle and summary, content rating, author, contact email  and finally “use show image for episodes”- otherwise it will may be rejected by iTunes.

next post – iTunes Submission!

Andy

Podcast Go!

I have finally recorded the first podcast, it’s a huge learning curve. The first advice I would give is make sure you have a brief script to run with, otherwise you add more “Um’s” and “Er’s” than you might be able to cope with. Write down your running order and your opening and closing lines as well a segment links, this will lend some consistency to future podcasts and help keep familiarity with your future audience. Then fill in with content.

Although I had a piece of audio I had created awhile back I revisited it to make intro, outro and bumper audio clips that felt more in tune with what I had recorded, as well as a looping “bed” piece just-in-case.

I have hit about 22 minutes worth of recording, but with edits and addition of music clips, I have come out at about 21 minutes. Not bad considering I was only going to produce an introductory podcast!

Next step syndication and iTunes….

Andy

 

Make Your Own Pop Filter

Untitled

Last week was one of those of coincidence. I came across the following instructional video on YouTube http://youtu.be/WcB3s8KOk4w last Wednesday and the use of a embroidery/punch needle/cross-stitch hoop – I have never seen one of this these anywhere. On Thursday I found myself travelling from Essex to Barnsley for an elearning meeting and lo-and-behold next to me was a young lady with one of the same hoops. Mind Blown!

Andy

Podcast Delays – Weapons of Mass Distraction

I haven’t launched my podcast – yet! I could list a host of reasons, amongst them:

  • Not having a decent microphone of my own and not wanting to use a borrowed one as audio will change between podcasts
  • I don’t have a pop filter
  • A rotten cold the other week
  • Too shattered from training the previous week

This has caused me to overrun by about three weeks, but I am  fast running out of excuses. I received my new microphone yesterday, a Blue Yeti, just need to play around with settings before recording in earnest. Cold has gone and no training for foreseeable future. The Pop filter is ordered has arrived.

Apparently it is a common occurrence, only 10% of podcasts go beyond their 7th episode! The first Podcast can be delayed in part to imposter syndrome (an earlier post) and lack of focus. I came across a number of recommendations to move beyond the stalemate.

Aim for your audience only don’t worry about pleasing everyone at the start, when you start to establish then you can expand your focus. Plan the delivery and structure, until this is done the podcast is not going to be fully formed up and will hamper the recording process. So with this in mind:

20 minute session max

  • 1 min intro
  • 9 min discuss of last months blog
  • 7 min feature focus
  • 2 min what’s coming up this month
  • 1 min outro

Have a launch date and have plans (not certainties) for at least 10 session topics:

  1 Jan roundup – About me
2 Feb roundup – Learning Technologists
3 Mar roundup – Apprentice Learning Technologists
4 Apr roundup – Learning Technologist Manager
5 May roundup – USA reflections (RA)
6 Jun roundup – Learning Service Manager
– summer hiatus
7 Sep roundup – Academic year in reflection & new academic year aims
8 Oct roundup -anti social reflective perspective (DD)
9 Nov roundup – TBC
10 Dec roundup – Year in review

Down to the actual podcast. There is no further reason to delay:

  1. Record and keep original
  2. Edit
  3. Intro & outro
  4. Export with Tagging id3. Id3 editor
  5. Upload
  6. Schedule & Publish episode to iTunes

Parkinson’s law states that time will expand for activities to the time allotted. A Pasmadira timer may well help this. 25 min work. 5 min reward/rest. I have a two hour hour window in the week to record any podcast and my brain is fooling me each week that its not the best time or I won’t get all the work I need to do to create the podcast. But I don’t need to fully create it. Just record it! Maybe a touch of imposter syndrome is creeping in.

Andy

The University of Commute

Smartphone Cradles

Smartphone Cradles

Although I have listened to podcasts for a number of years I have not had the opportunity until the last two years to do any real commuting, and recent car changes have had me in a quest for the ideal cradle for my mobile devices. Windscreens are set to far back to have a cradle suctioned onto the glass, my previous integrated cigarette lighter cradle (above left) does not sit well in the Mazda 2 due to the gearstick position, the CD player sticky pad (above right) is angled wrong (again the cars fault) so I cannot see the screen, finally I have the sticky(ish) weighted bean bag cradle (above centre) that is as near as I am going to get to cradle perfection. Podcasting is continuing to grow year on year and is only set to increase in part to the YouTube generation and technological developments that are becoming ubiquitous with society.

Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns is where we will approach , ever increasingly (exponentially), a barrier or point where we cannot progress with currently. In not only technological but social and cultural terms. As this barrier approaches (estimated before the end of the 21st century around 2045) we will develop technologies to overcome the barrier. As we become more effective we do activities the more effective we become at finding ways to learn how.

Much is discussed around the fact that teaching has fundamentally not changed (certainly not from a didactic perspective) but the advent of education radio and television is a good example of what was to become a widespread example of taking opportunities of a new channel to support learning, I remember in my Junior days huddled round the TV at school watching people in flowery shirts and brown corduroy trousers weave out a narrative (my Mum always likes to retell the story of coming downstairs one weekend morning around 7am to see me engrossed at the age of 7 watching the joys of childbirth!). Computers have played their part with Computer Based Training, the World Wide Web and more recently mobile devices and all of its abilities to combine all these prior channels and more.

Commuting was the time to listen to music or the radio (portable devices were not as widely used as they are today – I still have my walkman with graphic equaliser in working order). People are now happily plugging into a range of media devices in work at home, out-and-about and scoiety has moved to a point where it isn’t uncool to watch an education video on YouTube or Google that obscure fact. With an average commute time of 20-40 minutes the commute is fast become an opportunity to swot up and the Podcast medium which pushes out episodes and serials is fast becoming the new “University of Commute”.

With the growing trend of YouTubers recording products, hobbies and talents there has been a demand for high quality recordings at an affordable price. To voice-over a product unboxing or narrate captured game-play to the X-factor generation cranking out their latest cover or recently penned tune. The availability of well priced quality hardware and software to capture, edit and produce podcasts coupled with the growth in recent years of mobile devices has helped recent growth.

However a number of reports debunk a big surge in the last five years for a number of reasons but generally downloads do not equal listeners and listers do not equal listens. A range of practices exist with some being modern system practices to intentional bumping up of downloads….

Duplication: a downloaded podcast episode that is downloaded to iTunes is also downloaded to an iPod, an iPhone and even an iPad for some. I certainly download a copy on my iTunes as well as my iPhone for all my podcasts doubling the downloaded numbers but giving me the choice to play on my main PC or on the go.

Robots/Crawlers/Aggregators: systems that seek out new material to store and archive.

Twitter Bombing: a practice where podcasters are advertising direct links to their current episode on Twitter, some advertising in excess of 150 times in an hour and utilising currently trending hashtags. The posts are seen and the links clicked on before the downloaders realise the audio files are unrelated to the hashtag. #duped!

Unplayed or Partial Plays: I have the capacity to download all the episode for all the podcasts I listen to. I certainly don plays every episode of every podcast, the more stablished podcasts might have more recent episodes that update previous ones. I might even partially play an episode for a particular segment or discard a podcast of it is not what I hoped it would be about. Note: this does have less of an effect in a streamed podcast (not fully downloaded) as the podcast is streamed in chunks and as is monitored as such.

But the expectation of further growth in the next decade is a fairly solid prediction based on developments in the car industry. With a number of cars already having in- line auxiliary (the 3.5mm jack connection) as standard or Bluetooth connectivity and listening to net based streamed services such as Spotify, coupled with car production for 2015 expecting to see 50% have such connectivity as well as iOS (Carplay), Android (Android Auto) and the Car Connectivity Consortium (MirrorLink) car system functionality, and predicted 100% web connectivity by 2025 for new cars the opportunities will certainly exist even if you don’t have a mobile device.

So if the market has growth potential that does not necessarily mean take up. However with road maps being developed to reach the 50/50 model of educational delivery to take account of the Feltag report recommendations and people lives being ever increasingly busy other channels of reaching out will be explored.

YouTube Video: Why Podcasting Is Bigger Than You Think

Andy

New Web Address & Gravatar

Gravatar

Gravatar

In preparation for (hopefully) upcoming podcasts I have revamped the blogs Gravatar, in part to make it less cluttered and in part preparation for the podcast art, as well as registering a new web address for the blog at techlec.co.uk which just gives me a little bit of an easier location to promote the blog/podcasts.

“Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?”

Andy

Microphone Solution for Podcasting

I have been toying around with a number of existing solutions before I consider investing in better quality kit, some of it out of curiosity…

Plantronics M55 Bluetooth Headset: I can imagine great on the go, personal recording

iPhone Built-In Mic:  On the go, for impromptu focus groups

iPhone Earpod Mic: I can imagine great on the go, personal recording, great sound and preferable to the M55

Boundary Mic (Sub £10): yet to test

ASUS Transformer T100 Tablet Microphone: yet to test

Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 Webcam: This certainly is the current solution I have, but it does give an echo/open-room effect if it is positioned on top of the monitor

Samson C01U Mic: A rich, high quality recording but the audio does come out a lot quieter requiring gain/levelling filters to be applied

I think the iPhone solutions are comparable and would depend on a solo or group recording. The rest are clearly outshone by the Samson C01U which has a far richer quality to my voice (I am trying not to wince too much at the “Essex” accent.

See what you think by listening to the sample (only  normalise applied) here: http://vocaroo.com

I have been considering the mid-range cost solution of either the Samson Meteor or the Blue Snowball. The Meteor is stunning to look at, portable but only cardioid (directional), the Snowball offers cardioid/cardioid -10dB/omnidirectional but does remind me of an old webcam. Most reviews also comment on the comparable Samson Co1U, which work have, another cardioid only mic. I think I would be torn between the all three as each has their own strength but lacks the others…

  1. Samson Meteor – I love the look and portability, good price
  2. Blue Snowball – Love the options (NOTE: not to be confused with the Snowball ICE which is slightly cheaper and lacks options)
  3. Samson C01U – better audio quality

Testing the Samson C01U has convinced me that it should be the baseline that I compare all other mics against, coupled with the majority of review recommending the Blue Yeti if you can afford it as it has the looks, quality and options. At current retail, £99 85, eBay may be the way to go!

Final thought: I had read that you could use console mics, most of them are made by Logitech. Could not resist a go of our Wii Mic. It works, its poor! http://vocaroo.com

Andy

Podcast Editing with Audacity

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The following post, although primarily about podcasting, can be applied to any voice recording that may be done by educationalists – such as….,

  • verbal guidance for an assignment to support those with reading difficulties
  • verbal feedback for submitted work
  • to accompany a presentation (for homework, absent students or snow days!)

 

Audacity is a great free piece of audio editing software and can be found here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ . You will also need the LAME MP3 Encoder (look around the site under “optional downloads”. There are loads of tutorials for Audacity on the web, and it is surprisingly easy to get to grips with (even if the interface is a little bland). This is not a definitive recommendation, but it is based upon a range of webpages, YouTube videos and Podcast recommendations (a number of them conflict). Most do say their is no right order or guidance on what to include/exclude. You are encouraged to experiment and choose the best options that YOU think makes you sound best.

 

  1. Bring in your recording
  2. Remove noise (if you can detect small waveform “bumps” when you have been quite)
    • Select up to 5 seconds of white noise (quite time). Its a good recomentdation to record a 5 second sample of white noise at the start or end of your recording in advance!
    • Select the NOISE REMOVAL effect and select the button for step 1
    • Select all your track and reselect NOISE REMOVAL effect and select OK for step 2
  3. Apply the LEVELLER effect to even out high and low points in your audio
  4. Trim out unwanted audio, you might want to generate (not an effect) SILENCE over an area you don’t like rather than remove and shorten audio.
  5. Bring in Intro & Exit clips
  6. Move clips left or right by using the TIME SHIFT TOOL <–> (see the red highlighted box in the image above)
    • use CTRL and scroll wheel to resize audio quickly
    • you can grab the bottom of each audio track, and drag up to reduce height of each track.
  7. Fade in and out your Intro and Exit clips as necessary
  8. Adjust the gain for each track so that they are ideal volumes with each other track (you don’t want you intro over-shadowing your voice) by adjusting the small – + slider to the far left of each track.
    • Double clicking the slider will bring up a larger floating dialog box for precision settings
  9. Apply the COMPRESSOR effect (this will make your voice richer, whilst reducing peaks)
    • Threshold: 12-20, recommended 14
    • Ratio: 2:1
  10. Apply the NORMALIZE effect (This will set it to a baseline point, effectively reducing loud tracks/clips and increasing quieter tracks/clips)
  11. Finally export you file – name your file appropriately, this will be picked up as metadata by a number of systems to help searches, such as YouTube.
    • Artist Name:  Andy Crissell
    • Track Title: Introductory Podcast
    • Album Title: The TechLec Podcast
    • Track: 0 (set 0 for that initial podcast where you are setting up the rest of your podcasts)
    • Year: 2015
    • Genre: Podcast (you will need to type this in)
    • Comments: Introductory podcast with your host Andy Crissell
  12. Optional: Save as a .WAV file. This is because the LAME MP3 Encoder is more suited to music. There is a method to utilise iTunes MP3 encoder to produce a better job – see Further Reading #2 below or #5 (unchecked at time of post)

So why the order I have up above?

  1. NOISE REMOVAL : I would think that noise removal is easier in a “clean” state and not from audio that has been made more complex from effects
  2. SILENCE: There is bound to be an “um” and an “er” in there somewhere!
  3. LEVELLER: the same reason as noise removal
  4. COMPRESSOR: enrich the audio
  5. NORMALISE: Ready for output (at least if it comes out too loud or too quite I have some baseline to work with

Final thought: Changing TEMPO (under effects) may well alleviate the speed I talk, slowing down by -10 to -15%

Further Reading:

  1. http://theaudacitytopodcast.com/tap060-how-to-record-and-edit-a-podcast-with-audacity/
  2. http://theaudacitytopodcast.com/tap010-audacity-and-itunes%E2%80%94making-not-lame-mp3s/
  3. http://www.lockergnome.com/media/2012/04/19/how-to-make-vocal-audio-sound-better-in-audacity/
  4. http://www.steeple.org.uk/wiki/Simple_guide_to_editing_in_Audacity
  5. http://www.steeple.org.uk/wiki/Encoding_mp3_with_iTunes

 

Andy

 

Podcasting Tips

Podcast

In preparation for producing the first podcast for this blog I have been listening to a range of podcasts on podcasting. The following is just a brief collection of good practice or noteworthy information that really has been from notes I made as I went along.

  • ID3 tags: the meta data that embeds details of an audio file within itself such as album (or podcast) the file might belong to, can be generated through a range of software, with audacity being one of them, iTunes is highly recomended as you can also attach your logo or image of your podcast. More on this as I work through my own podcast.
  • Audio Noise: Preferably record with no ambient noise. Eveything turned off, closed doors and maybe late/early so everyday living does not impact. Use a Pop Filter. A compressor (hardware/software) will “silence” out low/unwanted noise.
  • Audio Levels: If you bring in speech and music at the same audio level they will compete for attention, have the music dropped to a lower level from 0dB to -15dB. Use The Levelator (software to soften high and lows) or Chris’s Dynamic Compressor.
    • Note: Normalising a track will set it to a baseline point, effectively reducing loud tracks/clips and increasing quieter tracks/clips.
  • Audio filters: Reverb is a good effect in the fact that it makes it sound more like a hall, a lot of DJs prefer a touch of reverb to give emotion to your voice. Corouse is also another filter that adds mutliple layers of your voice – think “HAL” in 2001 a Space Odyssey.
  • Audio blips: remove stuitters, stammers and blips by either cutting or overwriting with silences in your editing software, as well as shortening long pauses – but not to short, it still needs to come over as natural.
  • File Type: work in wav or aiff uncompressed format.
  • Audio Terms:
    • Intro /Exit, Tail or Outro: whereby the show is identified with music. Often 30-45 seconds.
    • ID Tag: Guest voice – introducing themselves, your podcast and maybe a cheeky comment.
    • Bed Music: Background music behind vocal, either adding atmosphere or masking noise.
    • Rejoiner: is like a bumper but uses the shows theme whereas a bumper does not, brings listener back into the shop especially if you feel you have drifted from main content / feel
    • Stinger: a shorter sound clip or element (such as a gunshot or whip crack) to build emphasis between smaller sub-content, such as each news article, they also help to build longer transition and can often be found at the start of a longer transition clip.
    • Transition: between two segments, to help your audience separate section or topics, don’t over-use. About 3-5 seconds.
    • Bumper: a bumper is like a mini intro for a specific segment, there are also outro bumpers (a subtle reminder what they had just listened to. Add a voice-over to a transition and you have a bumper.
    • Logo: 10-30 seconds clip of music (nothing more complicated). This can go anywhere and helps identify a regular piece of content that may not happen at a regular timeslot.
    • Doughnut: Random  head and tail ad or promo mostly unrelated to your own content
  • Interviewing:
    • Know people’s names: Nothing worth than getting it wrong at the beginning and worse still throughout a podcast.
    • Prep questions: Keep them short and  to the point, have follow up question if initial answer is very brief.
    • Skype Recording: use Hot recorder, or record separately at either end and combine into one audio file (recommended: alternate a countdown between the two ends – one saying even and the other saying odd, this will aid syncing later).
    • Balance: Have each voice on different balance. One all on the right, the other all the way to the left.
    • Describe unseen: Your audio will not show visuals – ensure you describe.
  • Consistent content: Try and keep similar organisation each podcast, that does not mean you cannot have an “anything can happen in the next 5 minutes” segment. Such a set-up could be….
    • Round up month blog posts
    • Future projects (Teasers long term)
    • Feature (unique to the podcast and not in the blog with the exception of a transcript)
    • What’s coming up (Teaser short term)
  • Pod fading: Intervals become wider then stops without warning. To avoid this take a hiatus. I have already planned for this – a monthly podcast, limited to 15-30 mins, no podcast (or blog) over the summer months of July & August.
  • Feedback: Gain audience feedback and produce a specific feedback show if it gets to-much and could overwhelm normal podcast

Andy