Podcast Capture from Apple, Inc.

Filed under: Academic Technology, Podagogy, Podcasting, faculty development,higher ed — randym at 11:38 am on Friday, January 23, 2009
In contrast to the moaning and groaning in my previous post regarding the unreliability of successful uploads to iTunes U, I am very pleased with
Apple’s Podcast Capture utility that interfaces with Apple’s Podcast Producer.
Caveat: You must have Apple’s server-based Podcast Producer running to make use of the Podcast Capture Utility.

When preparing to describe Podcast Capture I thought to describe it in terms of “Pros” and “Cons”. But, then I realized the “Cons” were not really flaws or weaknesses. Rather, they are more related to system requirements. So, I’ll describe the software in terms of “Features” and “Requirements”.
  • Built into Apples OS 10.5
  • Simple, one button operation
  • Enables video podcasts, audio podcasts, screencasts, media file upload
  • Uploads to specified iTunes U class (or web-based location)
  • Work-flow based (XML work-flows)
  • Can schedule auto-recording in classrooms
  • Can produce multiple file formats/sizes for submitted recordings
  • Did I mention it was simple to use?
  • XML base provide ultimate flexibility
  • Web-based interface available for PC users
  • Requires Podcast Producer running on a server (no small task)
    (If you are not a sys admin, make friends with one who can set up Podcast Producer for you)
  • Work-flow based (XML knowledge required)
    (Not as easy as Keynote. Make sure you know what you’re doing)

The beauty of Podcast Capture lies in it’s hidden XML complexity. You can theoretically design a workflow that will do just about any media related action you wish, and push it to one, or multiple places, in as many file formats as you need. Of course, you need the XML savvy to create such complex workflows, but at least it’s possible. The final quality of your recording is determined by the processing settings in the XML workflow.

I don’t do the XML stuff, but I absolutely love the simplicity of Podcast Capture. Creating a video, audio, or screencast is as easy as I have ever seen in a software tool. What’s more, even when I use some other tool (e.g. ScreenFlow, SnapzPro, etc.) I can use Podcast Capture to upload my media file with minimum effort on my part. Note that unlike tools such as Profcast or others, Podcast Capture doesn’t keep track of episodes, and anything like that. It’s strictly “record – name – upload”. As you can see in the images below, you can select input devices (cameras, mics). This is the perfect simple tool for faculty who want to record a lecture easily, with no post-production effort required.