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Publish a Video Podcast with WordPress

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Maria Langer's helicopter jaunts are too spectacular to be described with mere words; adding video podcasts to her web site would give visitors a taste of the thrill they'd be buying when they signed up for a trip. In this article, Maria takes us on a tour of the software that made it all possible.

When I’m not writing, I’m operating a helicopter tour and charter company based near Phoenix, Arizona. My company is very small, and I’m always looking for ways to set it apart from similar operations. To this end, I’ve developed a six-day excursion that takes two passengers on a helicopter journey to some of Arizona’s most popular destinations. Now I’m in the process of getting the word out without breaking my advertising budget.

One of the things I decided to try was video podcasting. Let’s face it—not only are the destinations I visit (Sedona, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Monument Valley) truly beautiful from the ground, but the sights in between (Little Colorado River Gorge, goosenecks on the San Juan, Meteor Crater) are downright amazing from the air. Why not put together a few video podcasts to show off these sights? Not only would they help show off these places to potential customers, but they’d make interesting content for iTunes users and video iPod owners.

Thus, Come Fly with Me was born.

Unfortunately, thinking up this idea was a lot easier than bringing it to fruition. It’s not that it’s difficult to do. It’s just that I couldn’t find a how-to guide online or in books to explain how to do it the way I wanted it done. You see, I wasn’t interested in using iWeb. I wanted to publish my video podcast from my existing blog-based Flying M Air web site, which was created with WordPress 2.

It took me a few hours to figure it all out, but it was worth it. I’m very happy with the results. This article explains how I did it, so you don’t have to go through a research and trial-and-error process like I did.

Step 1: Create the Podcast File

The goal here is to create an iPod-compatible video file. If you have iMovie HD 6, it’s easy. Just create your movie and use the Share menu’s options to save it for iPod (see Figure 1).

If you don’t know how to use iMovie, don’t ask me for help. Although I could have played around with it for a few days to figure it out, I didn’t want to waste time. So I bought a book: Jeff Carlson’s excellent iMovie HD 6 and iDVD 6 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide. It tells you everything you need to know (and more) to create a movie from still images (like I did) or video clips or a combination of both.

Figure 1

Figure 1 My first video podcast episode, as it looks in iMovie HD 6.

Once the movie has been created and is ready for distribution, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Share > iPod.
  2. Click Share in the dialog box that appears.
  3. Wait. iMovie compresses your movie and exports it as a video file with the extension .m4v in your iTunes Music folder. This could take a while, depending on the length of the movie. When the process is finished, iMovie opens iTunes and displays the Movies library window with your podcast in the list (see Figure 2).
Figure 2

Figure 2 My movie, exported as an iPod-compatible file, as it appears in iTunes.

If you don’t have iMovie, or you’re a Windows user, I suggest using QuickTime Pro, which is available for both Mac and Windows users. You’ll need the Pro version—not the standard QuickTime Player—to save or export files. Create your movie (or open a movie created with some other software) and choose File > Export. In the Save Exported File dialog box, choose Movie to iPod from the Export pop-up menu, name the file, and click Save.

Coincidentally, QuickTime can play the .m4v movies that iMovie and QuickTime Pro create for video podcasting. So your video podcast’s viewers don’t have to use iTunes to see the movies.

One more thing. To keep file sizes small so you don’t tick off your podcast subscribers, try to keep the movie length down to five minutes or less. My first episode was 2:23, which created a 12.9MB file. Remember, not everyone is accessing the Internet with a super-fast broadband connection.

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