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How to Create Audio and Video Content for the iPod

The iPod is the undisputed king of the portable media player market. With almost 50 million units sold worldwide, the iPod has a 90% market share in the hard disk-based media players. Whether it’s the snack-sized iPod Shuffle, the gourmet iPod Nano, or the super-sized iPod video, there is a flavor to satisfy every customer. If you are generating audio or video content for any type of distribution you must include this device on menu of options.

Before we jump into recipes the content itself, let’s talk a little bit about what customers are clamoring to enjoy and how they consume this media. The extremes appear to be moving further apart in content for the iPod, with the most popular content appearing to be either under 5 minutes and very short (the latest Top 40 hit, a video podcast from despair, Inc., or ) or 30-45 minutes and longer (more than 10 hours of 2006 NBA Finals highlights, an 80-minute America’s Funniest Home Videos Battle of the Best episode, or the audiobook version of The Devil Wears Prada).

These two extremes are important to realize when planning your content for a mobile society. Most people consume their media while traveling from one place to another (or at least there’s the illusion of travel for those folks on the treadmill). Keeping the media very short for a quick car ride or a bite-size snippet in between phone calls is just as important as making it full length with extras and deleted scenes for the long subway ride home or the flight to Europe.

The leader in serving up media for the iPod is iTunes. With cross-platform compatibility, this restaurant for the iPod serves up a variety of free and paid content that can satisfy even the most discriminating palate. There are also more and more sites offering iPod-ready files to download and move to your device. Whether it’s an audio podcast in MP3 format or the latest TV commercial in MPEG-4 format, we are seeing a sharp increase in independent sites offering content specifically for the iPod.

To create content for the iPod, I have used the following recipe.
1 Mac mini 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo
1 version of iLife 6 w/GarageBand 3.0.2, iTunes 6.0.4, and iMovie HD 6.0.2
2 Audio Technica AT3035’s microphones
1 Panasonic PV-GS70D miniDV camcorder
3 cups of coffee (optional)
Ingredients will vary based on taste and operating system. If you are generating content for an iPod on Windows (or at high altitude), the tools will be different but the encoding is the same.

Lets get cooking!

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