Videocasting, also known as video podcasting or vlogging, is a podcast done with video rather than MP3 audio. Just as podcasting gained popularity with the increasing trend of portable devices, videocasting is yet another phenomenon that is on the rise. Portable devices are now supporting video, and more websites are popping up that can handle and store video, making publishing video a normal occurrence.

As the Internet evolves, the possibilities of what you can do with all these resources become ridiculously abundant. Videocasting can open an entirely new arena of ideas.

Making the video:
You do not need a big studio, camera operators, sound technicians and producers to create your own show. All you need is a camera. A quality webcam or even a vdeo camera will do, and with a little help from some software. It may not be professional studio-quality video, but you can get by with a few staples and produce an entertaining video suitable for publishing.

Video file formats:
MP4 is the file format for storing digital audio and video and is one of the most common formats used for videocasting. You handle publishing MP4 files for aggregation in feeds the same way that you handle publishing MP3 files for podcasting. By publishing a link to your video in your feed-enclosure-enabled blog will do.

Private Hosted Blogs and Podcast Feeds

If you have decided to run your own blog on a platform such as Movable Type, WordPress, or ExpressionEngine, you need to fine-tune your RSS files to accept enclosures so that when you publish your show, the masses can actually pick it up with their aggregators. Every blog platform has its own protocol for feed enclosures, but generally the steps you need to take are fairly simple:
  • Movable Type requires you to install a plugin called Feed Manager, which you can download from Movable Type's site. Feed Manager aids you and Movable Type in generating content and enclosures in your feeds so that people can download your podcasts from your site or from podcast directories.

  • WordPress eliminates the step of having to add plugins. The latest release of WordPress has enclosure support built in, so publishing your podcast is quite simple. You create and upload your MP3 and publish a link to it in your blog post, and WordPress handles the rest. Your RSS feed automatically adds the required enclosure tag to your RSS/Atom feed.

  • ExpressionEngine, like Movable Type, requires a plugin for your feeds to accept enclosures. A quick search of ExpressionEngine's site turns up its Feed Enclosures plugin and some short instructions. Install the plugin, or it is more like just upload it to a specified folder on your site. Make a couple of minor adjustments to your feed file, and you are in the podcasting business.

Hosted Blogs and Podcast Feeds

Many times, you would not have to worry too much about the details involving things like enclosures and tags if you are using a hosted service. Some hosted services provide RSS creation and feed enclosures for you, and you do not have to do anything but publish a link to your MP3 file in a blog post. However, if your hosted service is of the free variety, such as or Blogger, it is best to check the service's site for details on whether it is a supported service. You might have to upgrade to a paid account to gain the ability to upload and store MP3s.

Blogger or may not be the best choices in terms of free tools to use in podcasting, but they can be a good place to start as a beginner. You can technically create a podcast feed with any blog. The issue lies mainly in whether you can store the file with your hosted service or whether you need to find web space to store your files. If you have access to a site online where you can store and link to files, podcasting with a free blog tool such as Blogger or can work.

One drawback of podcasting with Blogger is that Blogger creates an Atom feed by default. It is not considered the standard of feeds for podcasting at the moment, but you can use it. You can use the free service at a site such as FeedBurner to translate your Atom feed to an RSS 2.0 feed in a matter of minutes.

If you are using a hosted blog service such as TypePad, you need not worry about enclosures or such technicalities because TypePad handles all of that for you. As long as you publish a link to your MP3 in the body of your blog post, TypePad takes it from there.

Syndicating a Feed for Your Podcast

Whether you have a hosted blog or are running one on your own, you need to know a few things before you jump in. When you have your podcast ready to go - it is recorded, edited and converted to MP3, you are almost there. Your feed syndicates your show. People arrive at your site and look for your feed, or they find you in iTunes and start downloading. That all rides in your building an RSS feed that provides a means to distribute your show.

An RSS enclosure is a way for an RSS feed to attach saome kind of media like a sound file, a photo, or a video. It is most commonly used for incorporating MP3s into an RSS feed for podcasting. You should make sure that by posting your MP3 file, your RSS feed is picking it up. If not, aggregators or other feed readers would not know it is there. This can also affect your listing in iTunes, so it is worth investigating completely.

Tools of the Trade

If you decide to podcast, here is a handy list of the tools you will need to help you get it going.
  • Microphone: Some computers and laptops have built-in mics. These mics will work for your purposes, but if you are going to put gusto into your podcast, you might consider investing in a good microphone that creates clear audio. Or consider a portable MP3 player with a built-in microphone, which is ideal for on-location podcasting.

  • Recording application: You need some type of program that records your audio and saves and exports your audio files in MP3 formats. Most software gives you the option to edit your audio, which could really come in handy. PodProducer and Audacity are free sound editors. And for the serious podcasters, give ePodcast Producer a shot. It charges but can do just about everything.
    Doing an Internet search for podcast recording application turns up a handful of options. Make sure the software you choose can create MP3 files and not just edit audio. Audacity requires that you download an add-on to convert your audio file to MP3 format. It is also totally free.

  • Headphones: Though they are not necessary, you can actually increase the quality of your podcast by having headphones. Having more serious headphones can aid in creating better audio. Available now are headphones with built-in microphones equipped with noise reduction, so your podcast comes in nice and clear.

  • Extra file space and bandwidth: You will inevitably upload these audio files. Having a fast Internet connection aids in the transfer time of these large files. Additionally, you will want to save a backup of your podcasts, which can get large and add up quickly. Having some additional file storage is not necessary but nice to have. Space is cheap these days, so it is not a hassle to find and afford.

The Key Ingredients to a Successful Podcast

Keep these few points in mind before you pull out the microphone:
  • Know your topic. When you start thinking about your podcast, make sure you know enough about the subject you choose to make the podcast meaningful and informative so that people will want to listen again and again.
  • Prepare enough content. Just like your blog, your podcasts need to have fresh content. Be prepare with enough material to make more than one show. Think in broader terms.
  • Express enthusiasm. Passion is the key to success in anything. If you are excited about your topics, it will shine through, and your listeners or viewers will appreciate it and become loyal fans.

What People are Podcasting About

The opportunity to reach millions with the swift click of the Publish button is thrilling. Podcasting has opened people up to endless possibilities for exploring creativity. New podcasts pop up every day, and there is one for almost every topic.

Podcasting began mostly out of people's desire to broadcast their own radio shows. This is what a lot of people use it for. But as people always do, they pushed the boundaries, and now, podcasting is a useful tool in communicating with the masses. People use podcasting for broadcasting educational classes, updating long-distance family members, or recording step-by-step instructions and tutorials. No matter what you choose to podcast about, no doubt the Internet has a place for it. Take a look at some unconventional uses of podcasting:
  • Group podcasts - get your friends to join in and start a virtual brunch with your long-distance buddies. You can make group podcasts private if you do not want everyone knowing your secrets, or make them public to share your conversation with others.
  • If you are a teacher, podcast extra credit projects and have your students join in on the fun.
  • Crafty types can videocast a demonstration of knitting in the round or spinning yarn.

Just as there are politicians, musicians, artists, mothers, fathers, economists, and footwear fetishists, there is a podcast or many podcasts to match. The sky is basically the limit.