Getting started with vodcasting

Vodcasting? Whuh? It’s an unusual term, often used interchangeably with videoblogging. Just think of it as online video-on-demand with RSS added so people can subscribe to your videos. If you’d like a little more basic info, take a look at Vodcasting Explained.

How do vodcasts differ from screencasts? Good question! Screencasts simply record action on a screen. They can include a voice narration, but the video is a recording of actions within some application on a computer. A vodcast can be much more personal, as it uses video of people, places, and other additional media rather than just a screen recording.

Getting Started

To get started vodcasting, you’ll need the following:

  • Video recorder – we purchased 2 different video recorders for the grant: a Flip video camera and a Sony camcorder with tripod and wireless microphone. You could also use your cell phone or digital camera.
  • Video editor – if you want to be able to add captions, title clips, etc. to your video and/or compress it or move it to another format, you can use software like Windows Movie Maker (free on most Windows computers) or Camtasia (purchased with the grant & available on the ‘Casting Kit laptop). Mac users might use iMovie.
  • An Internet connection – thank you, OWLS!
  • A host – YouTube and blip.tv are good options, but I’ve listed other hosts in the del.icio.us links, as well. You could load the XML files for your videos on your website, but since OWLS doesn’t allow you to load media on our server you’ll need to find a remote host (which saves you from having to learn XML!).

Desktop video at About.com offers a plethora of good, basic articles about amateur video-making, so be sure to explore that site before getting started. Their topics include editing software, editing tutorials, tips, uploading video to the web, and more. Take a look at Getting Started and Making Videos in particular.

Another good place to get some basic info is an archived SirsiDynix Institute presentation, “Video on the Web: A Primer,” by David Lee King.

Here are a few additional articles you might find interesting and/or helpful:

You could even consider joining a discussion list, like the Videoblogging Group on Yahoo! for beginners. And if you’d like even more specifics and helpful tips on editing, compression, and other issues, look for books with the search terms vodcasting, videoblogging, or video blogging.

Ideas and Examples

A few ideas for what your library could do:

  • Create videos of local folks reading from banned books to celebrate Banned Books Week.
  • If your building is falling down around your ears or you’re out of space, create a video of the problems to make an online plea for support (could be risky!).
  • Record programming at your library, such as author visits or other speakers or performers. Always get permission from the presenter before recording or using online.
  • Record book discussions, so people can still participate if they can’t be there in person.
  • Have local teens create a music video about your library.
  • Create Common Craft-like videos describing hard to understand concepts or tools available at your library.

Here are some library examples of vodcasts to further inspire you:

Use Mefeedia, a vodcast directory that aggregates video content on the web, to find other interesting library examples.

Using the ‘Casting Kit Equipment

Here are a few brief videos to get you started with the equipment purchased for the ‘Casting Kit:

We also have a laptop with editing software loaded for you. We have Camtasia and Windows Movie Maker, as well as WMConverter (file conversion software for videos recorded on the Sony camcorder). Here’s video help on using Camtasia.

Note: Camtasia is better known for creating screencasts, but I found it very easy to use to edit video files, as well. Try both Camtasia and Windows Movie Maker and see which one works best for you.

Tips on editing video is a bit tricky to include here, and I couldn’t find any good, basic, non-jargony articles on how to do it. We’ll focus on that in some one-on-one training when you check out the kit. You’ll be able to edit your own videos or get some help from OWLS staff.

Adding Music

You may want to consider adding music to your video, but be sure to use music that isn’t copyrighted. There’s lots of free music out there that you can use under Creative Commons Licenses, and many people posting this music only ask that you attribute the work to them in the credits of your video. Here are some sites you can explore, just check the license for each song to see how you’re allowed to use it.

Choose a Host

Because the OWLS Web Services Policy states…

Member library staff may not load audio or video files on an OWLS web server. In order to conserve server space and bandwidth utilization, media projects (e.g., podcasts, vodcasts) should be hosted on remote sites recommended by the Library Services Manager.

… you will need to decide where you would like to post your screencasts. The current recommended hosts are available at http://www.owlsweb.info/web/hosts.asp. I think it’s a good idea to post your vodcasts in multiple places – there’s no reason not to use multiple hosts, like blip.tv, TeacherTube, YouTube, and Google video at the same time, as you’ll gain the potential of reaching more people. Having multiple accounts does require extra time, however, so if that’s not possible simply pick one and go from there.

Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive comparison chart of video services, including upload file formats, video quality & limits, and site traffic. This is a good place to check when trying to decide what host(s) to go with.

Embed, embed, embed!

Once you’ve posted your videos online, you’re almost done. The next step is to be sure to embed your videos in your library’s web site. Most hosts provide easily embeddable code for you to simply copy and paste into your web pages and/or blog(s). Doing this will ensure that your patrons will find your hard work and will be able to play the video right from the page without having to go to your remote host site.

Is That It?

I have a feeling I’m forgetting something really important, but I guess the beauty of blogging is that I can always come back and add it in later when I remember what it is. I think the list of resources above should get you off to a good start, and besides, I’ll be here to lend a helping hand if/when you need it! ) All of the links included in this post are also in del.icio.us/castingkit.

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2 Responses

  1. interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

  2. Very interesting info !Perfect just what I was looking for! “Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.” by John Davidson Rockefeller, Sr..

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