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The New Face of Podcasting: Creating Video Podcasts Using iMovie, GarageBand, and iWeb in iLife '06

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The ease of podcast creating in iLife '06 can turn any Mac owner into the online equivalent of a radio star. But what if you want to star in your own online TV series? The answer is video podcasting, and Ryan Faas says it isn't much harder to put together than a traditional audio podcast.
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As the podcast trend started to heat up last year, a variation on the traditional podcast developed: the video podcast. As you can probably guess, a video podcast is a podcast that includes a video track, which makes the podcast more like a television series than audio-only traditional podcast that resembles radio. Video podcasts have not yet developed the level of following that the audio-only podcasts have, partly because of the limits of where and how you can watch them. Although audio podcasts can be played on a computer, burned onto a CD, and carried around and listened to on an iPod (or other portable media players), video podcasts are more limited; they can be viewed only a computer or a video iPod.

Most video podcasts, including those created by using GarageBand, do not contain properly formatted video for viewing on a video iPod (and thus does not copy to an iPod). If the video is formatted correctly, the video iPod displays only the first frame of the video if you select it from the Podcast menu of the iPod. To play the video of a video podcast, you must select Videos to locate a special menu item for video podcasts. Although more cumbersome to format a video podcast for a video iPod, it is possible (we’ll get to that at the end of this article).

That said, many video podcasts exist and have solid followings. The concept allows anyone to star in their own online TV show. The context of video podcasts is limited only by your imagination: you can use them as a unique way of sharing memories with friends and families (as an extended version of iPhoto’s photocast feature), for adding content to Web sites or blogs, or for collaborative school projects. Or you could go all out and produce your own documentary series, newscast, drama or comedy series, or reality show. In iLife ’06, Apple has made creating and publishing a video podcast as easy as creating your own DVDs or publishing an audio-only podcast. In fact, even audio-only podcasts created in GarageBand 3 include a special podcast track in which you can add images in a slideshow format (which display as the podcast is heard in iTunes or on an iPod). Video podcasting is just taking the concept of video and podcasts already available in iLife a step further.

Choosing and Editing Your Video

The first step of creating a video podcast is to get your video into your computer and edit it. The easiest way to do this (and the way that allows you a great deal of editing flexibility) is to use iMovie (you could also use QuickTime Pro if you have it or just work with an plain video file—although you have much more ease of use and more ability to jazz up your video with iMovie). When you launch iMovie, create a new project for your podcast video and name it appropriately. After you create the project, you can get the video from any number of sources, including a DV camcorder attached to your Mac or existing video files of varying types on your hard drive. You can record directly into iMovie from an iSight camera, or you can add any video in your iTunes or iPhoto libraries that is not protected by digital rights management (such as video imported from a digital camera by iPhoto). You can also add photos from your iPhoto library (and you can use the various themes and effects available in iMovie to incorporate into your video).

After you have all your video available as clips in iMovie, you can assemble them in any manner you like. You can add transitions, special effects, themes, and so forth as you would for any iMovie project. You can also work with an audio track in iMovie, which supports the audio track that was imported as part of your video clips as well as two additional tracks. However, my advice is to do it only with the audio track that is part of the video because GarageBand does not see the three audio tracks from iMovie separately and combines them into a single track without allowing you to edit them independently of each other. Because GarageBand offers more-advanced audio editing and mixing capabilities than iMovie, this makes a better approach for performing audio editing of a video podcast.

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