TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Unlocking Podcast Producer v2

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Podcasting

Unlocking Podcast Producer v2

Second in a series on the ins and outs of Podcast Producer

by Michele (Mike) Hjörleifsson

Part Two: Workflows

Last month we took a general look at Podcast Producer and some of the problems it can help solve. We set up the Podcast Producer service on your server, in a single server configuration, and discussed the tools you can use to send ingested media to Podcast Producer. This month's focus is workflows-a critical component to understand when you're working with Podcast Producer. Video, audio, and print editing tools commonly use this term. In Podcast Producer, the term has very similar meaning. A Podcast Producer workflow consists of a recipe of steps about what to do with a piece of content that a user or process submits to Podcast Producer through one of the various input means (such as Podcast Capture).

In Podcast Producer version 1, there are more than ten default workflows included with the Podcast Producer service to process media sent to it for posting to a group blog, iTunes, as well as adding watermarks and several other variations. In Podcast Producer 2, there are only three included workflows named Dual Source, Montage and Single Source. What a gyp, right? Wrong. One of the biggest improvements in Podcast Producer 2 is the inclusion of a tool called Podcast Composer; this tool allows you or one of the members of your team to create workflows graphically. In Podcast Producer 1 you had to understand ruby/python notation in the first few iterations and then XML notation in later dot revisions making it very cumbersome to create workflows. That process was not user friendly at all, and not Apple-like with its lack of intuitiveness. Podcast Composer solves this problem elegantly and is included as part of the Server Admin package for Snow Leopard Server. It can be installed on client workstations allowing you to create your workflows remotely and then submit them to a server. Let's take a look at Podcast Composer and the process of creating a workflow.

Launching Podcast Composer presents the following screen. As you can see this looks an awful lot like an Automator Workflow with seven steps.


Figure 1 - A new podcast workflow.

As you can see from the title bar this workflow has not been saved yet and holds the standard Untitled moniker. The first step is to enter some information about your podcast. This information is metadata and is used in some of the composition options we will explore.

The second step, as seen in the screen capture provides you with three options for import (or ingest) of your media.


Figure 2 - Workflow options.

Single Source, which allows you to select one of the following:

Any-The input movie can be a video recording, a screen recording, or an audio-only recording.

Video Device Only-The input movie is a video recording.

Screen Recorder Only-The input movie is a screen recording.

Audio Only-The input movie is an audio-only recording

There is an option to allow Podcast Producer to analyze your media and attempt to automatically create chapter markers to allow for quick shuttling backward and forward through your finalized podcast.

Dual Source, a new option for Podcast Producer 2, enables you to create a multi-input podcast and provides the following options:

Keynote Presentation-Provides a great way to do a cut away from a talking person to your keynote or screen recording, similar to Apple Keynotes you see on the web.

Overlay- Provides a video overlay similar to a picture in picture view you would see on your television.

Overlay with Fade-Provides the same as Overlay plus a fade in and fade out effect to the picture in picture (the little one) video.

Theater-Provides a similar composition as the Overlay, except you always have a full view of the screen recording movie. This option is ideal if you don't want any part of the screen recording to be covered by the other movie.

Montage, another new option for Podcast Producer v2, creates a podcast from a set of files (such as PDF or jpg) that you submit. Montage provides you with transition and display options similar to Keynote's transition and action options including transition effects, durations and other Keynote polishing tools.

There are several options for each of these types of import and I strongly suggest that you play with them to see the output and decide which works for you in your specific type of workflow.

The next step, seen in the following screen capture (Figure 3), is the Edit step. This step gives you control over introduction movies, bumper title compositions, watermark, and closing credits videos. You can select your own introduction movie by using Finder to select the video or use one of the three defaults provided by Apple. Bumper compositions take your metadata and make a nice little animation after the introduction video and prior to the content actually being displayed. This is of course optional, but you have to love the cool factor here as each podcast submitted will have your copyright information, podcast episode information and other metadata submitted as part of the process so it is easy for a viewer to identify which episode they are viewing. The watermark stage, also optional, allows you to watermark your creation with your logo, Apple logo and other portions of your metadata if you so desire to protect your episode or brand it. The last step is the exit video. This video is normally used for credits and copyright information but can just as easily be used for an advertisement or other outgoing video content you choose. Apple supplies one template for the exit video for you to play with as well.


Figure 3 - The workflow edit step.

So now we are half way there, right? Well, maybe, depending on what you want to do with your podcasts. The next step is Export. Though it sounds like it should be the last step, it's not. In this context, export provides you with the options to take your input content and transcode it to several different QuickTime formats like iPod, AppleTV, iPhone and others if you have QuickTime or Compressor plug-ins installed. There are two items of importance to note here. First, if you choose a compressor plug-in, this plug-in has to be installed on all of the servers in your Podcast Producer Xgrid cluster, same with any QuickTime plug-in(s). Second, export does not determine any destinations of your media, just the formats you are going to provide it in if you choose to utilize the default QuickTime or Compressor outputs. You can output to a format and, as explained in the next step, publish to a watch folder that further transcodes or massages your content however you wish. Basically, the take away here is that the export step is for QuickTime or Compressor export options, not destinations of your final product.


Figure 4 - Export to different media formats.

Step 5, the Publish step, determines where and what to do with your content once Podcast Producer is done processing the previous stages. You have several options here as seen in the following screen capture (Figure 5). The default location is the Podcast Library, which is a repository for all your Podcasts. You can also publish to the Apple Wiki/Blog server, which will post the content to:

1) the blog of the users that submitted the contents

2) a custom blog (you must specify the username for that blog) or

3) a group wiki (called custom wiki in the actual interface).

Another option is to transfer the outputs you choose from the export stage to an ftp/ftps, sftp or webdav/webdavs server. If your organization utilizes Final Cut Server, you can also output to your Final Cut Server installation. This has some neat additional features such as approval workflows and notifications which we will cover in a later article. You can choose to simply deposit your output(s) to a folder or last but not least you can take an output and submit it to another Podcast Producer workflow, enabling you to create a tiered workflow structure if you so desire.

The publishing step is quite powerful. For instance, you can output to a folder and, outside of the composer, set another workflow attached to that folder that runs any script you can think of. This allows massive extensibility to your workflow capabilities.

Huh? Sounds like gibberish. What does all of that mean? Let me explain a bit. If you drop your output to a folder you can then take that file and literally do whatever you want to it. For example, I have a workflow that takes the output to that folder, uploads it to Amazon's S3 service and creates an entry in a blog that is hosted in a data center somewhere else that shows the video (which is now hosted through Amazon's Cloud Front infrastructure) with a flash player ensuring the best delivery of that content to anyone, anywhere in the world. This publishing in Podcast Composer step allows for limitless processing options.


Figure 5 - Publishing options.

The last processing step is called Notify. As it name implies, Notify provides notification options upon completion of the workflow and has several options shown in the screen capture: Email notification, iChat notification, iTunes Podcast Directory, iTunesU or an online service notification. Let's discuss these one by one.

Email Notification - allows the workflow creator to specify whether to send the email notification to the Podcast Producer Administrator, the submitting user, both and or others. You will need to provide an email address and email server information so the service can facilitate delivery of the email. If you would like to change the format or design of the emails, please refer to the Podcast Administrator document located here:

http://images.apple.com/server/macosx/docs/Podcast_Producer_Admin_v10.6.pdf

iChat Notification - allows the workflow creator to select the Podcast Producer Administrator, the submitting user, both and or others be notified by iChat. An iChat server id, password and the iChat message to send need to be specified.

iTunes Podcast Directory - this feature will post your podcast content to iTunes. For this notification to work, you must setup your feeds and be registered with iTunes. When this notification is sent to iTunes, the iTunes podcast repository syncs with your Podcast Library as soon as possible to reflect all of the changes.

iTunesU - this feature is strictly for educational institutions that are setup with an iTunesU site. Simply specify the iTunes U site that you would like the workflow to update and that is all there is to it.

Service - this setting allows the workflow creator to specify an external web service that is designed to accept publication notifications (more on this in the Podcast Producer Administrator's Guide)


Figure 6 - Notification options.

The Summary step is the last step of the process and provides a graphical display of the steps in your workflow. There are two actions, Save and Deploy. Click Save to ensure that you don't lose the workflow you have been working on. Once you have saved your workflow you can deploy that workflow to Podcast Producer to make it available to Podcast Capture clients, as determined by the Podcast Producer administrator. Before you can deploy a workflow, you should verify the workflow File > Verify Workflow and make sure you have the necessary credentials to access the Podcast Producer server. The Verify Workflow feature ensures that all your steps have the correct parameters, but will not check to see whether your server is properly configured to process the workflow. To deploy a workflow to a Podcast Producer server, choose File > Deploy to Server (Command-U) or press the Deploy button on the Summary stage. In the Server field of the Deploy dialog, enter the address of the Podcast Producer server or choose a server from the pop-up menu. Click Deploy. Be careful with your naming schema for workflows. If a workflow with the same name or same unique identifier exists, Podcast Composer prompts you choose whether to overwrite the workflow, install the workflow with a different unique identifier, or cancel the operation.

So now that my workflow is on the server, how do I modify that workflow or another workflow created by someone else that I might need to adjust? Click File > Open Remote supply your administrator credentials and the Podcast Producer server to which you would like to attach. A list of available workflows is presented. Double Click the workflow you desire and then you are prompted to save it on your local machine for editing. Once you have completed your editing you can save and then deploy this workflow back to the server and either rename or overwrite the original.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a full workflow process top to bottom. As you can see there are tons of possibilities and options for you to explore, and that is where I leave you this month: exploring. Next month I will walk you through an actual workflow and even provide the workflow and results for you to view and download. Till then... Happy tech-ing!


Michele (Mike) Hjörleifsson has been programming Apple computers since the Apple ][+, and implementing network and remote access security technologies since the early '90s. He has worked with the nation's largest corporations and government institutions. Mike is currently a certified Apple trainer and independent consultant. Feel free to contact him at

 
AAPL
$96.02
Apple Inc.
-2.13
MSFT
$43.34
Microsoft Corpora
-0.24
GOOG
$573.60
Google Inc.
-13.82

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OmniPlan 2.3.6 - Robust project manageme...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Command-C 1.1.1 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Knock 1.1.7 - Unlock your Mac by knockin...
Knock is a faster, safer way to sign in. You keep your iPhone with you all the time. Now you can use it as a password. You never have to open the app -- just knock on your phone twice, even when it's... Read more
Mellel 3.3.6 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.0.4 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0 - Drag-and-drop Web desi...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With it's user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Drive Genius 3.2.4 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius is an OS X utility designed to provide unsurpassed storage management. Featuring an easy-to-use interface, Drive Genius is packed with powerful tools such as a drive optimizer, a... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.15 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Toast Titanium 12.0 - The ultimate media...
Toast Titanium goes way beyond the very basic burning in the Mac OS and iLife software, and sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio... Read more
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper 1.0 - Desktop im...
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper is the gorgeous new background image for Apple's upcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite. This wallpaper is available for all screen resolutions with a source file that measures 5,418... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Puzzle Roo Review
Puzzle Roo Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: PUZZLE-BASED TWISTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A different take on the usual block dropping puzzle game, Puzzle Roo is quite pleasant.   | Read more »
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfi...
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfighter Coming Soon, Other Radiangames Titles Go 50% Off Posted by Ellis Spice on July 31st, 2014 [ | Read more »
Hexiled Review
Hexiled Review By Rob Thomas on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: HEX SELLSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad In space, no one can hear you… spell? Hexiled is a neat concept for a word scramble puzzle, but it doesn’t go too... | Read more »
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year O...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year Old, Gets its Biggest Update Yet Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Plants vs. Zombies 2 Enters the Second H...
Plants vs. Zombies 2 Enters the Second Half of the Dark Ages Posted by Ellis Spice on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Why Does It Spin? (Games)
Why Does It Spin? 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: THERE'S ONLY ONE RULE: DON'T TOUCH THE WALLS! Do you think you're able to follow this simple rule even if you would have to... | Read more »
Ice Wings Plus (Games)
Ice Wings Plus 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: THE GREAT ENDLESS RUNNER OF COMBAT JETS IS BACK !! With more than 680.000 downloads in the App Store, Ice Wings: Skies of Steel... | Read more »
Murl the Squirrel (Games)
Murl the Squirrel 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Meet Murl. He is teased by a group of flying squirrels because he can't fly. Determined to show them he's can fly, he meets... | Read more »
Celleste (Games)
Celleste 0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 0.1 (iTunes) Description: Lots of cute action with amazing 3D graphics and a new type of gameplay! Take control over the forces of the universe to help a group... | Read more »
Super Heavy Sword (Games)
Super Heavy Sword 0.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 0.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Get Ready to Get HEAVY! Monster Robot Studios presents SUPER Heavy Sword! The sequel to the smash hit HEAVY sword which... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $130 on an iPad mini with Apple re...
The Apple Store has Certified Refurbished 2nd generation iPad minis with Retina Displays available for up to $130 off the cost of new models, starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included... Read more
iPad Cannibalization Threat “Overblown”
Seeking Alpha’s Kevin Greenhalgh observes that while many commentators think Apple’s forthcoming 5.5-inch panel iPhone 6 will cannibalize iPad sales, in his estimation, these concerns are being... Read more
Primate Labs Releases July 2014 MacBook Pro P...
Primate Labs’ John Poole has posted Geekbench 3 results for most of the new MacBook Pro models that Apple released on Tuesday. Poole observes that overall performance improvements for the new MacBook... Read more
Apple Re-Releases Bugfixed MacBook Air EFI Fi...
Apple has posted a bugfixed version EFI Firmware Update 2.9 a for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. The update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected, and... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, plus free sh...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $140 on an iPad Air with Apple ref...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
$250 price drop on leftover 15-inch Retina Ma...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2013 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.3GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $2249, $250 off... Read more
More iPad Upgrade Musings – The ‘Book Mystiqu...
Much discussed recently, what with Apple reporting iPad sales shrinkage over two consecutive quarters, is that it had apparently been widely assumed that tablet users would follow a two-year hardware... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $999.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $100 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.