ipod dailies / secure podcast how-to

The other day I ended up on a website that offers a red camera service that includes dailies available on ipod and via podcast. The second half of that idea really intrigued me. I know that it ought to be doable, so I set out to figure out how to do it. Within a few hours I ended up with something I definitely want to try out when the situation requires it. The benefit of this approach is that it allows for an easy distribution of video to a larger number of people. It also allows for a notification system when the editor has uploaded new files. Lastly, I think the idea of having the latest footage synced to their computer resonates with even the most jaded and time crunched supervisor / creative / check writer. This could be used with multiple rounds of edits as well.

To set up a secure video podcast you need 3 main things: video compressed to the correct format, an xml file coded correctly, and a webserver with a restricted folder.

Video Setup:

compress dailies for ipod podcasting
The video setup is pretty simple. Use one of the presets in compressor. You can find them under Apple>Apple Devices. If you are going to be using iPhones or iPods choose one of the two sizes available. If they will be previewing it in iTunes, then feel free to use the apple tv preset. If your footage is not the correct aspect ratio, then choose the appropriate selection in the geometry tab so it comes out letterboxed or pillarboxed.
Two options for the compression are to add timecode or file naming. Those are both in the filters tab, and are titled ‘timecode generator’ and ‘text overlay’ respectively. These could be worth their weight in gold seeing as you don’t need to import the footage into fcp in order to add timecode.

time code generator filter in compressor

XML File

The xml file can be thought of as a bookmark for the podcast. It has some simple info in it about the nature of your podcast, when it was last updated, and where to find the files. Copy the sample xml file from apple, change out all of the dummy info for your real info and save to a text file with the extension .xml at the end. The example file has several entries and multiple itunes tags. Your first xml may only have one entry, and it doesn’t technically need the itunes tags. This file will need to be placed somewhere on your website that is web accessible and not password protected. If you really end up getting into this there are apps that handle the creation of podcast xml files. If you enjoy hand coding; be my guest!

Server Setup

Your server has to have both of the previous files on it. Ideally the video file will be in a directory that is password protected, and the xml file will be publicly accessible. In order to password protect a folder you can either go through your webserver’s internal control panels, or you can use .htaccess files. Here is a link on how to set up an .htaccess file. It is just a text file that you upload to your webserver that tells the server how to protect certain files and folders. The way to check it is to put the link for your movie file into a web browser. If a dialog box asking for a login and password comes up: (and it works when you type in the info) you’ve got it right!
To reiterate: the movie files go in the password protected folder and the xml file goes outside of that folder, somewhere still accessible on the web.

Configuring your clients

In itunes go to Advanced > Subscribe to podcast. Type in the address of your xml file and hit return. It should ask you for the login and password. Once you put that in you are finished! You can change the permissions to check for updates more or less frequently, and you could set up some ipods so that they are subscribed and sync the video when they are plugged in.
secure podcast login windowitunes secure podcast window

This could become a bear if it is left unmanaged, but it could also take a lot of work off of your plate, by allowing iPods and iPhones to auto sync the dailies. This could help to close the feedback loop, and end up with everyone feeling more in touch.

Let me know if you have any trouble setting this up. I’d love to hear how it fits into your workflow!

~ by ross on February 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “ipod dailies / secure podcast how-to”

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