In Snow Leopard Server, Apple has introduced a whole new way to make Podcast workflows. It’s now simple to use, but still with amazing and powerful new automations that give Podcast Producer admins the ability to configure a host of new options quickly and easily. To get started, first setup Podcast Producer. Then, fire up Podcast Composer and go through 7 quick steps. First, provide a default name, author name and title for your workflow, then click on step 2.
In step two you’re going to configure the source of the video and audio. For each of the three options, Single Source, Dual Source and Montage, you’ll have an i to obtain more information about the source and configure settings more granularly. Single Source will perform much of the same functionality as Podcast Composer 1, you can select audio, video or Screen Recording (aka – screen capture). There’s a nice new feature for Automatic chapter generation for longer videos now, as well. Dual Source will allow users to use Keynote along with the video being captured, one of the coolest aspects of Podcast Composer 2 by far. You can select how the Keynote will interact with the video using some transitions familiar to users of both Keynote and iMovie. Finally, you can select Montage, which will use QuickLook to transition between various movies, images, documents (Word, Pages, PDF) and presentations (PowerPoint & Keynote) – if QuickLook can interpret it then you can drop them in.
When you’ve defined your source, let’s move on to Step 3, a very basic editorial workflow going from left to right on the screen, again using the information overlay (when you mouse over an item) to first define an Introduction movie, then a title sequence and effects for the title (which is user defined using your defaults), then the watermark (which you can now place anywhere on the screen, control the opacity for and place a bar along the bottom with information from your title bar and finally you define the exit credits. For all of these Apple has provided some stock footage but you can also define your own as well.
In step 4, define the output format (or formats as you can output a number of different clips if you so choose). Here, you can set the video and audio codecs that you would like to use. You don’t actually usually need to change anything in this step once it has been predefined in the workflow on the server.
In Step 5, choose where the recordings are to end up. Using this is really nice as you can simultaneously send your new podcast to a wiki, a Final Cut Server and a workflow-defined directory. If sending to a directory or a Final Cut Server then you have the option to perform further automations against the file.
In Step 6, choose who to notify (if anyone) about the new podcast.
Step 7 is to deploy the podcast workflow to your server. Simply click Save to output a file or Deploy to actually add that workflow to a Podcast Producer server (plug in host name, user name and password and hit save). Now, when users go to use Podcast Capture they’ll be able to use the new workflow!
Podcast Composer is a great start to allowing systems administrators to take more use of Podcast Producer 2 and all its new features without having to go out and learn complex ruby programming. I hope you enjoy it as much as I clearly have been.