Category Archives: podcasting

Levelling with Levelator

If you are combining recordings or have multiple inputs into a recording it can be a real nightmare to get the levels right. Now you could spend a lot of time and money mixing in the different recordings, however a quick and easy method is to use Levelator.

Levelling with Levelator

It’s software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It’s much more than those tools, and it’s much simpler to use. The UI is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler’s application window, and a few moments later you’ll find a new version which just sounds better.

Find out more.

I used Levelator with my recent podcasts as it was proving difficult to adjust the levels within Skype for each participant. As a result some were very loud, others quieter.

What Levelator was able to do was adjust for those differing audio levels and bring the loud ones down and boost the quiet ones up.

Quite clever really.

As well as for podcasting, it could be useful after recording a classroom discussion for example that you want to podcast or distribute later.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #005 – it’s because he’s from Sheffield…

This is the fifth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, it’s because he’s from Sheffield…

[audio:http://elearningstuff.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/elearningstuff0051.mp3]

Download the podcast in mp3 format: it’s because he’s from Sheffield…

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

In this show, James is joined by Nick Jeans, Dave Foord, David Sugden and Lisa Valentine and they start to discuss podcasting, Skype, quality of Skype before moving onto LLW. Apologies for the poor audio quality of Nick which is because he’s from Sheffield (or so Dave says).

Shownotes

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #005 - it's because he's from Sheffield...

Photo source, thanks Lilian.

Subscribe to the e-Learning Stuff podcast in iTunes

Having now published episode number four and a fair few videos as well, decided it was high time that you could find and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Subscribe to the e-Learning Stuff podcast in iTunes

Not as simple as it sounds as though the WordPress RSS feed does work for podcasting in iTunes using from the menu Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast… and just pasting in the blog RSS feed.

Subscribe to the e-Learning Stuff podcast in iTunes

It was not suitable for submitting to the iTunes store itself as the WordPress RSS feed is missing a lot of the information which should be in a podcast feed.

So what I did was use Feedburner to create a new feed which will work with iTunes as a podcast feed. Once I had the feed I could then go ahead and submit the podcast to iTunes. A day later and it was authorised and available on the store. It should start to show up in searches in a day or two.

Oxford lecture tops iTunes chart

BBC reports on how Oxford University are top of the pops academic podcasts on the iTunes Store.

An Oxford University economics lecture about the credit crunch is at the top of a global iTunes chart for education.

Earlier this month Oxford and Cambridge began to distribute lectures to students and the public through the iTunes downloading service.

A talk by the Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, is the current chart topper in the “iTunes U” service for university lectures.

Listen to it now (requires iTunes).

Thursday at mLearn 2008

Yesterday (Thursday) was another good day at mLearn 2008.

I really enjoyed Jon Trinder’s session on chasing mobile technology. Though he apologised for the negativity but did raise the question of institutional barriers to the implementation of mobile learning.

There are some key points here, even if you are implementing mobile learning, how are you testing, is it just technical testing, or do you undertake usability testing with actual real life users.

Andy Ramsden’s session on Twitter was also fast paced, amusing and interesting. Out of the audience about half had Twitter accounts, but only a few were actively using it.  We didn’t really get a chance to elicit reasons why they weren’t using.

Thursday at mLearn 2008

Mick Mullane’s session on podcasting was similar to ones I had seen before, but was nice to view again in a very academic conference. He was very enthusiastic about podcasting, just a pity that he couldn’t do his live demo as there was no free wifi!

The reason I was in Mick’s session was that I was in the room for John Cook’s session on the appropriation of learners’ devices for learning. Which was a nice theoretical model which is akin to my views about using the learners’ own devices.

It’s not black and white, it’s grey

I recall in a forum once, someone thought we should not allow recorded lectures to be available as podcasts because this would be unfair to deaf students.

So the spoken lecture is fine, but the podcast is not….

Hmmm

I think part of the problem is that people think in black and white terms, either/or and forget that we can have both or grey areas.

I was showing some staff an UMPC once, the Q1 Ultra, which I am thinking of using in our library, and first comment was that the 7″ screen would be too small for some students.

This is a fair comment, but I am not going to replace all the computers in the library with UMPCs, there would still be big computers with big screens for those that wanted them. The UMPCs would be in addition not a replacement. Some users will be fine with the UMPC, others will want what they see as a “normal” computer.

It’s not black and white, it’s grey

I would say it is similar with web services, just because a service is not accessible to everyone, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be used, but consideration needs to be given how you would support the users for whom it *may* be inaccessible.

In my lecture/podcast example, I would say that if a signer was provided for the lecture, then a signer could be provided for the podcast.

If “services must be accessible to all or they shouldn’t be deployed” then non-web services should be subject to the same constraints, in which case nothing would happen in an educational institution!

It’s not black and white, it’s grey.

PhotoStory 3 for Windows

At a recent MoLeNET podasting event, my colleague John Whalley spoke about PhotoStory 3 for Windows.

Create slideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.

You can download the software from Microsoft (follow the link above).

A quick demo of how it works.

Windows Media Version

iPod Version 

Podcasting Tools and Resources

At a recent HE Academy event I presented at I offered to provide a series of links relating to resources and tools for digital video and podcasting. Here are some podcasting tools and resources.

microphone

Here are my podcasting resources.

Garageband

Apple’s Garageband is part of the iLife suite which comes pre-installed on every Mac. Though initially designed as a music recording (and creation) application, it can also be used to record (and publish) podcasts. Watch a tutorial on creating a podcast, Quicktime required.

With GarageBand, you can create your own virtual on-stage band and play along on your favourite instrument. You can record, edit and mix a song exactly as you want it, in pristine CD quality. It’s the perfect place to get your act together.

Audacity

This open source software which is available for a range of platforms allows you to both and edit audio. Quite a complicated piece of software it certainly is very powerful.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more!

Wire Tap Studio

Recently released this audio application makes it not only much easier to capture and record audio on your Mac, it also makes it much easier to strike that balance between quality and file size when sharing your podcast.

Using WireTap Studio, you can record the discrete audio output of any application, as well as all system audio, or record audio input from any microphone, line-in, or audio input hardware. If you can hear it, WireTap Studio can record it. Once you have recorded your audio, you can easily organize your recordings in the convenient Recording Library, and edit them with WireTap Studio’s integrated lossless audio editor. WireTap Studio also boasts full Audio Unit effects support, for adding professional quality effects to your audio.

One of the key issues when recording podcasts is the microphone. Cheap microphones have not been calibrated (it is the calibrating which costs that is what makes a good microphone expensive), you can get good cheap microphones, but you just have to be lucky!

Photo source