What Is Vlogging (and How to Get Started)
Pages: 1, 2, 3

Subscribing to a Feed

Finally! Video in iTunes. Since you've already put everything in place--your video, your blog, your post, and your feed--why wait for Apple to approve your feed? While running iTunes, select Advanced->Subscribe to Podcast and enter your blog's feed URL in the resulting dialog box. Then, click OK.

figure 8 Subscribing to a RSS feed from a Blojsom blog

figure 9 Subscribing to a FeedBurner feed

Once you've subscribed to your feed, iTunes will start downloading an initial set of videos from the blog. To view one, select the Podcasts item from the Source pane, and then open the feed by clicking on the triangle next to the feed's title. From there, click on the video you'd like to view.

You'll notice that the video begins playing where your Album artwork usually appears. Yes, the video appears small. Fortunately, there are two options available to enlarge it.

figure 10 Playing video in iTunes

Your first option is to click on the video. This opens a resizable window, therefore allowing you to make the video larger. Notice that when you resize the video, the window's aspect ratio is constrained so you can't distort the image.

figure 11 A resizable video window

Your second option is to click the Full Screen button, which is the fifth button on the bottom left of the main iTunes window. This button is only enabled while the video is playing, so you'll have to start the video and then click on the button in order to get full-screen video.

figure 12 The full-screen button enabled

Feeding a Feed

Alright, I wanted to leave on a fun note. Yahoo semi-recently enabled video search on their site and when you combine that with their developer's API, you can have some random fun. Since the search results don't come back in an iTunes-friendly way, you'll have to jump through a little FeedBurner hoop.

The URL format for a RSS video search on Yahoo looks like: http://api.search.yahoo.com/VideoSearchService/rss/videoSearch.xml?appid=digitalvideohacks&format=quicktime&query=

At the end of the URL, you just need to add your search term. So, for example, if you were looking for videos with a red car, you would add "red+car" to the end of the URL. Then, enter the complete URL into FeedBurner as the Source Feed URL.

Although it's not recommended, you will need to enable the SmartCast and Convert Format Burner features. When you enable the Convert Format Burner, select to convert the feed to RSS 2.0. Even though SmartCast is supposed to override the conversion, it leaves in an additional namespace attribute that seems to confuse iTunes. The Convert Format Burner option ensures that only the iTunes namespace is included in the feed.

Once you've saved your search feed, jump back to iTunes, select Advanced->Subscribe to Podcast, and enter your new FeedBurner URL. Voila! Your search term delivers the found videos to your iTunes doorstep.

Where to Go from Here

There is a lot of video out on the net right now, and more is added every day. For example, you can subscribe to newly posted videos at OurMedia through: http://www.ourmedia.org/mediarss/videomedia

Unfortunately, iTunes doesn't work with every syndicated feed and finding video feeds within the Music Store is a hit-and-miss adventure. Hopefully that'll change in the future. But, for now, if you want to live on the edge and don't mind doing some manual work, you can locate a ton of video feeds at VlogDir and plug them into iTunes. Some work. Some don't.

You should also check out FireANT, which is a video aggregator and comes "pre-loaded" with a bunch of video feeds...and while you're at it, head over to videoblogging.info for an in-depth foray into the video blogging world.

Josh Paul is the founder and CEO of Aweli, a startup focused on digital video solutions, and the author of Digital Video Hacks. He has provided software and service solutions to entertainment production companies throughout Los Angeles and New York.

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