In 2006 there was a marked upswing in the use of video podcasting as a method of distributing multimedia content including audio and video . Video podcasting have been used by a cross-section of traditional and non-traditional media, from major TV networks, cable, and public television stations to software companies, movie studios, and intriguing upstarts like AskaANinja.com, Happy Tree Friends, and Channel Frederator.
Podcasting allows anyone to distribute free or paid media to the content hungry masses. With a few simple technology tools and a PC or Mac, you too can create a video podcast in 3 easy steps.
Anyone with a few pieces of technology and broadband can create their own channel, pump out content around the world, and join the ranks of the new media moguls. The same technology that has allowed individuals to build their own mini-media empires has also given corporations and established media brands new avenues for leveraging existing content and building new revenue streams.
Just one year ago, audio podcasting was taking its wobbly baby steps. Now, it’s an accepted form of new media delivery (see StreamingMedia.com’s assessment of podcasting from April 2005 here). The same scenario is occurring with video and will probably have an even bigger impact than audio. So how do we use video podcasting as a helpful tool in our streaming media arsenal?
Step 1: Produce It
There are several ways to capture your media, the two most common being taking existing content off the shelf or shooting it using a digital video camera. You can even use a webcam, and most digital still cameras have a video record feature. On a Mac with Final Cut Pro or iMovie you can capture videos off of a camera, or you can drag and drop your existing AVI, MOV, or other video file into your video-editing program. On a PC, you can use Adobe Premiere Pro or similar software to capture raw footage onto the computer.
After editing and adding any additional titles, credits, etc. it’s time to output your video into a podcasting friendly format. Most content is either viewed in a browser/media player on a computer or downloaded to a portable media device (iPod, Creative Zen, Archos, etc.). For the purpose of this article, let’s render a video out for an iPod, which is also a standard output for some of the online distribution channels. In iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or QuickTime on a Mac you can simply export to iPod format, which is 320×240 at 30 frames per second in a QuickTime MPEG-4 file. On a PC you will want to render out using Adobe Premiere or similar video software to a 320×240 AVI or MPEG video file. There are a host of free or inexpensive converters at www.download.com or www.tucows.com that can convert AVIs or MPEGs to an iPod-friendly MPEG-4. Once your content is in the right format its time to post.
Step 2: Post It
With myriad ways to deliver your content, you want to make sure you are using the proper channel for distribution. Video podcasting content can be protected by hosting the content internally and using a variety of formatting procedures to protect from downloads. The current trend by major content providers is to provide media with fewer restrictions and advertisements for revenue streams. Other strong channels for content are TV advertisements and other clips that are specifically designed to be spread virally.
Most video podcast content is designed to be downloaded and spread virally, so we will look at some free methods to spread your content. New media outlets like YouTube and Google Video let you post your video content free of charge and simply paste a link into your website or blog. Easy, quick, and free, it’s no wonder we are seeing video podcasting take off. If you want to post your video and have it available for an iPod or to download onto a portable media device, you can simply upload your file to a server and post a link. More and more Fortune 1000 companies are posting marketing-related material in iPod-friendly formats to download, view, and share.
Step 3: Deliver It
The final step in the process is to actually distribute your content; technically your video does not become a podcast until it has an RSS feed attached to it. Most blogging software has RSS feed capability built in and will have your video podcast up and running in no time. Once you post your content online, simply copy and paste the embed code given by YouTube, Google Video, etc., or the link to your hosted file, and paste that into a new post on your blog.
Submit your RSS feed to iTunes and a host of other video podcasting services, and your video blog, or vlog, is up and running. Using a free feed service like FeedBurner can help you maximize your usage of links, tags, and images in iTunes so your content is easily searchable. Every time you post a new video, FeedBurner updates your RSS feed and alerts the distribution channels and your subscribers of your new content.
With any new technology, there is a learning and adoption curve so choose your content and the target audience for this new medium with care. Keep it short, simple, and easy to spread. This has been a very brief introduction to this process with the basics on how to get started. There are plenty of resources available for more detailed information on how to add more options and customize a process that will work for you. As part of a new media strategy, video podcasting and vlogging are incredible tools in the quest for additional revenue streams and more customers. With any luck, and a little help from you, vlog could be the word of the year for 2006.