Pete Roythorne gets to grips with vodcasting

Last June, I looked at how Apple's iPod had given rise to podcasting, whereby schools could record anything from radio shows to monologues and distribute them via the internet for downloading.

With video-capable iPods you can now distribute videos in the same way. Podcasting has developed into vodcasting. The term comes from a contraction of video-on-demand and podcasting. In many ways it's not new - video-on-demand technology has been used to stream video (send it over the internet in a way which lets you start viewing it immediately rather than waiting for the whole file to download) for some time. However, it's the devices with which you can view video that make the difference.

The arrival of video capability in the market-leading iPod is driving this technology into the mainstream. The mass levels of distribution and accessibility make this technology potentially interesting for education.

Almost any handheld device will soon have video capability, if it hasn't already.

What also makes it interesting is the relative ease with which vodcasts can be made. Although slightly more complex than making podcasts, they still fall well inside the technical and financial scope of any school with a digital video camera and a well-specified PC or Mac.

If you're serious about vodcasting you'll need to address the following areas: l Video recording equipment:most people will find a pound;200-pound;300 digital video camera more than adequate.

* Video-editing software: you could spend thousands, but free packages like Microsoft's Movie Maker and Apple's iMovie are great starting points. For higher quality, you need to look to packages like Pinnacle (, Final Cut Pro ( or Avid (

* Creating and transferring your vodcast files - all vodcasts and podcasts have to be published in RSS 2.0 format - can be done either by hand or via special software. Try or for more details, you'll also need RSS news reader software, like iPodder, iPodderX and PlayPod.

* Once you've created your vodcast you need to load it up to the internet so you'll need file transfer software, such as WS_FTP ( for PC or Fetch ( for Mac.

* All that remains is to get content management software such as the latest version of iTunes so you can store all your video in one place and download it to a handheld player or laptop.


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