If you're new to podcasting (either using or creating podcasts) this posting may be of interest. If you're a veteran user or creator you may find a few interesting points or links. In either case I'd be interested in your feedback.
The term podcasting is a portmanteau (I don't get many opportunities to use that word) of iPod and broadcasting. Podcasts are audio or video digital files which are available on the internet and can be downloaded to computers and mobile devices. They may be downloaded to a computer and then to an iPod or other similar device. Most, virtually all, podcasts are available at no cost to those who download them.
The most common way of accessing podcasts is to go to iTunes , then to iTunes store,and then to Podcasts. Search ITunes Store (upper right corner of the page) for subjects, authors or key words. If, for example, you typed Photography you would find listings of podcasts at the bottom of the page.
For an example of a fine audio podcast scroll to LensWork or go back to the Search iTunes Store box again and type Lenswork. You'll see two Lenswork series of podcasts. If you click on either you'll hear the latest program; if you click on Subscribe on either of these the latest podcast, narrated by Brooks Jensen, will be downloaded to your computer: and every time a new podcast is posted it will be automatically downloaded to your computer. Lenswork also produces an excellent black and white photography magazine.
One does not have to go to iTunes to get a podcast. For example, one can access LensWork podcasts on their site rather than through iTunes. Podcasts may be found in blogs as well as on websites. They must be on a server. iTunes connects to them and facilitates subscriptions and searches. It also provides a description of the podcast.
Podcasts may be video, audio or enhanced (includes photographs or graphics).
Video podcasts are essentially video lectures or relatively short interviews which are similar to what we see on news broadcasts. Some video podcasts are created by professional studios while others are made by amateurs with inexpensive video cameras and software.
The presentations from the annual TED Conference ('Inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers') are available for viewing and downloads as video podcasts. Production qualities are high and the lectures are excellent. We watch the presenter and the presenter's graphics, we see the audience, and we feel as if we are there. I recommend these lecture highly.
But video podcasts need not be highly produced. Take one video camera and a camera operator, a classroom at the University of Vermont, a famous west coast author (Eden Robinson), a professor of Canadian Literature (Paul Martin) to introduce her, and a classroom of interested students. Mix well. The result in this case is an intriguing presentation and discussion which will stay online for years. The cost was minimal. Paul has also produced a podcast in which discusses how he uses podcasts in the classroom and in online teaching.
Enhanced podcasts incorporate images (photographs and graphics) into the podcast. One can easily add images using Apple software such as GarageBand, but there are ways in which this can be done using Windows. iPods are the only portable devices that will play extended podcasts.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) produces enhanced podcasts and other innovative mulitmedia products. You can access the podcasts at SFMOMA's site or through iTunes.
Jeff Curto uses enhanced podcasts in his History of Photography and Camera Position podcasts. The enhanced format allows him to discuss particular photographs or use photographs to illustrate a technique or approach. Like most podcasters, Jeff is always pleased to get responses to his podcasts. He often discusses the comments and questions he receives from listeners/viewers at the beginning of Camera Position podcasts. His History of Photography podcast is recorded during the class he teaches on this subject.
In the next posting I'll discuss podcasts and education, both informal and formal.