Mark Degen is a professional with a private practice and a love for Macs. His new web site, AppleHits, continues to grow a user base of Mac owners who want a professional perspective on all things Apple and Mac.
Mark is an able and articulate spokesman for using a Mac in the office, and I encouraged him to create a video podcast highlighting his unique perspective. Uh oh. Watch for it. Here it comes.
Audio and video podcasting is all the rage these days. They’re everywhere and subscribing to regular podcasts is as easy as firing up iTunes in your Mac or PC.
How easy is it to create a video podcast on a Mac? The answer is surprising. It’s very, very easy. Or, difficult. It depends on how you go about it.
Mark wanted to talk about the Mac and how to use it in an office setting, specifically his professional practice. He’s also a contemporary guy who knows Macs, loves Apple, and can act as his own Mac system administrator.
The Mac makes it easy to create a multi-person video podcast, so we decided we’d do a pilot podcast to see how easy it could be.
Our first effort was simple. Connect via iChat using our MobileMe accounts, and talk about Macs.
Then we’d download the videos and edit the pieces together. Easy, right?
iChat would only record the video in 320×240 and we wanted 640×480 instead (don’t ask why, we (me) just did—size matters). So, we added Ecamm’s nifty utilities to enhance the video production part of the process.
We set up a convenient time to do the recording, logged in, connected, did a quick test, wished we had a more complete agenda of topic items, and gave it a shot.
Our wishing was overstated. Fewer topics would have been better. So would a different connect time. Mark was in the early evening and I was in the late afternoon. Mark is on cable broadband which often slows down at night (hence a little pixelation in the video).
We figured we’d have to stretch to fill 10 minutes of conversation. In reality, 10 minutes went by horribly fast, so we cut it short of 20 minutes and decided to edit back to our objective of 10 minutes.
Remember, this is a pilot; more of a test to see if we could do it, how it would look, and what production techniques and processes would be required.
We used available light, Mark in his home office using a MacBook Pro, and me at home using an iMac. Both of us used the built-in microphones on our Macs. All things considered, it was a fun effort, though not without a few issues.
I had hoped to drop the video and audio files into Final Cut Pro to edit, but the iChat video also captured multiple tracks (four audio tracks), which made it a sluggish and cumbersome edit in FCP. So, I switched to iMovie and the edit process went smoothly.
We also wanted some kind of animated open and close so I fired up LiveType (part of the Final Cut Studio package) and threw together something to match the decor of Mark’s site, AppleHits.
What’s the best way to distribute a video podcast? We’re not sure yet, but it’s hard to beat the YouTube price tag. We could serve it as a QuickTime movie, maybe using Amazon’s S3 service, or some other Flash-based distribution method, but we chose YouTube to start.
With a little fanfare and a lot of fun, I present to you Mac Yak HD (for hilariously deficient, or something like that), with Mark Degen and Ron McElfresh. Tell us what you think and why and what we can do to improve (other than hiring real actors).