iPodcasting

by Erica Sadun

So last night I decide to experiment. I hooked up my video iPod to a Canopus analog-to-digital converter, plugged it into the Mac, fired up iChat AV and connected to the long-suffering and endlessly-helpful Andy Lester, who allowed me to send video snippets at him and provided quality feedback.


According to Andy, the video arrived looking good but even at the highest volume settings (and I was careful to turn the Volume Limiter function off), the audio was a bit weak. I probably should have fed it through an amplifier. Unfortunately, all of my amplifiers use 1/8th-inch connections and I didn't have any RCA converters on-hand to put in place between the iPod and the Canopus.


It was pretty easy to send over the video, but you do have to start playback before connecting in order to produce an iChat-compliant video signal. So your audience may lose the very beginning of the show. Also, if you're not really really quick at the iPod menus, you can easily lose the connection as I did when switching between videos.


Next, I downloaded a copy of ShowMacster, an iChat extension that adds streaming of image and video files. I wanted to try playing QuickTime files over the connection. I'm not sure whether my problem was that I was using an underpowered Mac, or whether ShowMacster really can't handle streaming over a QuickTime movie in realtime without hesitation. In any case, I ended up staring at the rolling rainbow icon of death and Andy wasn't able to see any of the streamed video.


So in the end, I'm not sure this "podcasting" exercise did anything other than make it possible to let other people watch my collection of iPodded Project Runway, Veronica Mars and Dora the Explorer episodes, which might be a good thing--or not. What do you think? Would you like to be able to stream recorded video to a friend? Do you already do so? What do you use?


7 Comments

Geoff Hankerson
2006-08-02 10:13:37
Quicktime Broadcaster should do the trick. Free download from apple
Erica Sadun
2006-08-02 10:47:28
I was actually playing with QT Broadcaster last night, but I couldn't seem to get it to transmit an arbitrary QuickTime (in this case AVI) file. It wanted to bring in data from Firewire. Maybe I need to look through the preferences more thoroughly.
Erica Sadun
2006-08-02 10:54:48
From what I've now been able to google, you need to create hint tracks for streamed files with QTBroadcaster and it's not intuitively obvious how to set up the program to send streams even after hinting. I'd really like to find a more plug&play solution.
jonblock
2006-08-02 13:12:04
QT Broadcaster turns a live incoming signal (say, from your A/D converter) into a QuickTime stream. QT Streaming Server (or Darwin Streaming Server, if you aren't running Mac OS X Server) handles (re-)broadcasting the QT Broadcaster stream out to the world, and it's the piece that you need to stream an archived (i.e., non-live) video file.


I haven't used QT Broadcaster at all, and my experiments with DSS were limited, so I can't speak to the ease of putting all this together, but it shouldn't be too difficult if you're willing to read/experiment a bit to find the right combination.

Erica Sadun
2006-08-02 13:19:52
I was about to download Darwin Streaming Server, but the thing wanted account information, etc. so I'll have to put it off to another time when I get some more time to devote to this.
jojo
2006-08-03 19:08:51
"Rolling rainbow icon?" It's called the spinning beach ball. Sheesh.
smz
2006-08-04 03:10:34
A friend of mine accidentally discovered that in order to stream recorded video over iChat one needs only to attach any video source / DV Camera to the Firewire port and hit the PLAY Button. It's as simple as that.