Exporting Podcasts

After you have completed editing and mixing your project, including adding any podcast-specific enhancements such as images, chapter markers, or web links, you are ready to export your podcast.

Compression is an important step in exporting any audio or video podcast file. While it is technically possible to distribute a podcast using standard (uncompressed) file formats, it is not very practical nor very common. That’s because podcast files inevitably encounter bandwidth bottlenecks as they travel to the far reaches of the Internet. So, when it comes to podcasting, small is beautiful.

Exporting Audio Podcasts

Almost all audio-only podcasts use one of two compressed formats: AAC or MP3. In fact, a podcast must use either the AAC or the MP3 format to be included in the iTunes Store. AAC (also known as Advanced Audio Coding codec or MPEG-4/AAC) is a newer, more efficient format. It provides more clarity than MP3 audio at the same bit rate with smaller file sizes or files of the same size at higher quality.

For additional general information about exporting audio files see Exporting Multitrack Projects.

Exporting Audio Podcasts as AAC Files

You can export AAC audio files directly from Soundtrack Pro by choosing File > Export and choosing AAC/Podcast File from the File Type pop-up menu. For complete information on exporting to the AAC format, see Exporting to AAC/Podcast Files.

Exporting Audio Podcasts as MP3 Files

You can export MP3 audio files directly from Soundtrack Pro. For complete information on exporting to the MP3 format, see Exporting as MP3 Files.

Exporting Video Podcasts

While iTunes can play a wide variety of video formats, iPod only plays videos that are created to exact specifications. The specifications include AAC for the audio portion and one of two related formats (H.264 or MPEG-4) for the video portion. You want to make sure that your video podcast is encoded correctly so that it will sync to iPod without issue. Through links to its associated application, Compressor, Soundtrack Pro includes encoding presets to make video podcasts that can play on iTunes, on a video iPod, or with Apple TV.

Exporting Video Podcasts Directly from Soundtrack Pro

To export a podcast that includes both video and audio, follow the instructions in Exporting to AAC/Podcast Files. In step 6 of those export instructions, choose the third option: Video Track.

This option results in an MPEG-4 (.m4v) file containing both video and audio. The properties of the exported podcast file are equivalent to the H.264 for iPod Video 640x480 setting that is included in the Compressor application. The resulting podcast file includes chapters and web links if you specified them in Soundtrack Pro.

Using this method for exporting video podcasts offers the speed and convenience of exporting directly from Soundtrack Pro. A tradeoff of this method is you don’t have as much control over the various details of the transcoding process. For complete control over all aspects of the transcode, including the various video parameters, use Compressor (instead of this Export dialog). See Exporting Video Podcasts Using Compressor.

Exporting Video Podcasts Using Compressor

Compressor is the high-speed video and audio encoding tool for Final Cut Studio. You can use it to convert content so that it can be experienced on many different platforms and devices (including iTunes, Apple TV, and an iPod, among others).

The Export dialog in Soundtrack Pro offers a direct link to the Compressor application. When you export using Compressor, you can use the presets included with Compressor for your exported file or use custom presets that you create in Compressor. For detailed information, see Exporting a Master Mix Using Compressor.

To export a video podcast using Compressor
  1. Choose File > Export (or press Command-E).

  2. Choose Master Mix from the Exported Items pop-up menu.

  3. Choose Using Compressor from the File Type pop-up menu.

  4. Select Encode Video.

  5. In the associated pop-up menu, choose H.264 for Video Podcasting.

  6. Click Export.

Note: You could also export your podcast project using the Preserve Video option (retaining the video’s original format and exporting the audio as a standard, uncompressed, AIFF file) and then import those files into Compressor for final transcoding. This method gives you the most options in terms of transcoding decisions. For more information about the Preserve Video option, see Exporting a Master Mix Using Compressor. Once you create customized versions of the Compressor iPod presets, they are available in the Soundtrack Pro export via Compressor options. For more information on working with Compressor presets, see the Compressor User Manual.

Using Post-Export Actions for Podcast Production

The Soundtrack Pro Export dialog includes post-export actions that can automate parts of your podcasting workflow and save you time and effort. You can use the feature to automatically trigger your own AppleScript documents as a part of any export operation.

You can link your Soundtrack Pro podcast export to custom AppleScript documents that would execute at the end of an export. For example, at the end of an overnight video podcast transcode, Soundtrack Pro could automatically trigger a custom AppleScript document that would transfer the exported podcast to a web server via scriptable FTP software and send you (or a client) an email notification.

For more information about using post export-actions see Using Post-Export Actions.