Notes: Podcamp Philly


Cool People I Met


  • Joel Mark Witt
  • Bre Pettis
    • includes links to all his current videocasts, including Make Magazine’s Weekend Projects
    • Bre used to be a middle school teacher out in the Northwest: Room 132
  • The blogs of Philadelphia public schools: Didn’t even realize they had a blog program
    • Robert Karl (rkarl at is part of the Educational Tech Group of the Philadelphia public school system and seems like a good resource for ed tech issues
  • Rand Bradbury
    • Can I just tell you that this guy, who’s a sound engineer for the Keswick Theater, is the best technical instructor I have ever encountered? Things that eluded me in books for years have now made perfect sense because of his brief explanations. Rand rocks.
    • Roadie Show: A podcast that mostly features interviews with roadies and other backstage audio folk.
  • CC Chapman
    • CC Chapman’s site has links to a number of podcasts that he’s involved with, including Managing the Gray (a new media marketing podcast), Accident Hash, and U-Turn Cafe (podsafe music podcasts)
  • Linda Mills
  • Mark Blevis
    • Another of the growing crop of new media specialists, his site is an impressive testament to his connectedness and reach within the podcasting community
    • Just One More Book: podcast on children’s books
    • Electric Sky: Several NPR-like interviews and exploration podcast shows
  • David Tamés
    • kino-eye: David’s a freelance videographer from Boston. His blog’s got some good technical ruminations on producing video.
  • Jen Yuan
    • A Thousand Times No is an interview podcast focusing on people who underwent a significant change or overcame devastating failure. Jen’s local, too, and really nice.
  • Russ Starke and Todd Marrone
    • Both contribute to Used Wigs Radio, a chat and music podcast that seems like a lot of fun. Todd’s also an amazing artist who made several art pieces for the podcamp off the cuff.
  • Chris Penn
    • Helped start the podcamp conferences with Chris Brogan. He has a financial advice podcast at
  • Steve Lubetkin
    • I met Steve at Blog Philadelphia, and he’s the one who let me know about Podcamp Philly. He has a company that creates professional podcasts for clients at

Lessons Learned: Technical

PodCamp Philly

  • Audio is super important, even on video

    • Mics

      • Dynamic: non-powered, durable, more background noise, best for field work
        • Recommended: Shure-SM58
        • Have the speaker hold it 3-5 inches from the face, between the mouth and the adam’s apple
      • Compressed: delicate, need to be powered (phantom power off mixer), best for studio work
      • Mic setup for a classroom: 2 condensers, omnidirectional, up high
    • Mixer

      • firewire mixer (for multiple inputs)
        • Recommended: Alesis 4/8-channel mixer (Multimix)
      • master
      • channels
        • gain
          • start at 0, then slowly turn gain up until peak light just starts to light up and then back off a few clicks
        • EQs
          • start at straight up and down
          • adjust after gain (turn down if high pitch, ss’s)
          • generally leave mids alone
        • aux
          • for effects or monitors
    • Standard sample rate for podcasts: 44.1 kHz
    • CD standard bit-depth: 16
    • Put your notes in a plastic sleeve so that they don’t make a sound when you flip through them when recording
    • Always record 10 seconds of white noise
      • For ambient filler when you edit
    • Recommended store for audio gear: Musician’s Friend
    • Also recommended as a place to buy a low-end binaural stereo mic ($80): Core-Sound
    • skype
      • Turn everything else off
      • Record volume at 70 (3/4 of way up — never record at full input)
    • Recommended portable digital recorders
      • Edirol R-1, Edirol R-9, Zoom H4, M-Audio Microtrack 24/C
      • A lot of these are reviewed in the latest issue of Podcast User Magazine
      • Also seriously informed opinions can be found at the Tapers’ Section
      • What looks sweetest to me: the new Zoom H2
    • Other equipment you might need to record audio on the field
      • headphones
      • spare memory
      • spare batteries
        • rechargeable + charger
      • USB memory reader
      • case for recorder (Crumpler)
      • extra wind covers for mic
      • extra laptop battery
  • Video considerations
    • Lighting
      • Basic setup: key light + soft fill
      • add hard background if you want to distinguish foreground and background
    • shoot subject more than once in two different locations
      • before the formal interview do a pre-interview
      • people are more natural when walking and talking in their own environment
    • Ask people not to wear white or black when filming them (especially without added lighting)
      • because the face comes first
    • Make sure you have visual elements that you can cut away to
      • B-roll
    • Make sure there’s a lot of overlap at the head and end of the cut
    • Shoot from multiple angles
      • use two cameras if you can
    • Look for color
      • strong contrasts
      • saturated, rich colors
    • Sound
      • keep microphone separate from camera
      • if you can use, use a boom
      • get a tram lavalier
    • What to buy first
      1. $400 camcorder w mic input, headphone output
      2. $200 shotgun mic + fan windsystem
      3. $150 lavelier mic
      4. $150 beachtek adapter
      5. $50 extra batteries
  • Make everyone sign a standard release form for podcasting
  • Garageband (comes as part of iLife) makes enhanced podcasts real easy
    • Profcast (commercial software) makes recording lectures even easier and more powerful

Lessons Learned: Non-Technical


  • Don’t be afraid to get help from people
    • Podcasting community tends to be very helpful
    • Get someone to teach you
    • Or delegate to someone who has the passion, expertise
  • Know your audience
    • Consider what audience you might already have
    • Involve them
    • Get face-to-face with them when you can
  • Old-school storytelling techniques still apply
    • Go for anecdotes instead of just facts
    • Look for dramatic/cinematic moments
  • Create a rhythm
    • Make sure you add variety, break the pattern at frequent intervals
  • Plan to do multiple takes with students
    • Often the best, most natural takes are the “practice” ones
    • Tell the students to plan to make a mistake
  • Interviews
    • Don’t be in a rush to fill silences; pauses can extend conversations
    • At the end ask for any afterthoughts
      • What haven’t I asked you?
  • Contribute, don’t dictate, the conversation
  • Make mistakes on purpose, or take a confrontational stance, to catalyze feedback
  • Be a brand; sell a lifestyle
  • Consider other distribution channels
    • Example: Maryland Zoo TV gets shown on cable
    • Mind TV is a Philly site that will show uploaded 5-minute video clips on cable.
  • Apply for grants
    • Example: Best Buy > Community Relations > Grant (given once or twice a year)

Sites of Interest that Came Up

Red Lasso allows you to clip commercial media (news, entertainment, sports) and share and embed them without intellectual property violations. This seems like a great way to share current media with my classrooms. And it’s a local King of Prussia company.

Viddler allows you, not only to upload videos and share them, but also comment on them within the timeline of the video. A very cool feature and another great local company. I just wish they were supported by

Bre Pettis gave a great tip for doing 30-second low-tech podcasts: Use, which is a free service that sends voice messages to your email. The phone numbers seem local only to Seattle, though. PrivatePhone seems like another free alternative — it’s affiliated with NetZero. or (GotVoice)( are paid services that also do the same thing (with more features).

Pods & Blogs is a BBC-produced hour-long weekly podcast that takes measure of the news as seen through the lens of social media and the blogosphere.

Sound About Philly features podcast tours of Philly.

One way to announce your podcast to strangers is to add it to Podcast 411’s directory. I also found out about a UK podcast directory for educators

Somebody recommended the CLIP Podcast as an interesting show that looks at critical literacies in different spaces.

Libsyn came highly recommended as a paid podcasting host. They charge by storage and not by audience size, so they’re ideal for growing an ever expanding listener base.

From Idea to Air is Tod Maffin’s e-book on creating and pitching radio segments to public radio.

Radio: An Illustrated Guide is an informative comic book on producing for radio, which can be bought on the This American Life store.


3 thoughts on “Notes: Podcamp Philly

  1. “A very cool feature and another great local company. I just wish they were supported by”

    Tom! Of course, it was great to see you again at Podcamp! I just wanted to clear something up, we are supported by – simply choose to embed a video using the short code, instead of the normal HTML embed, and you’re off and running. Let me know if you have any troubles!


  2. Oh you do have a short code?! My bad — I checked a few weeks ago and I couldn’t find it anywhere. In fact, it still hasn’t shown up on the support pages for and this page is the only one that shows up on the forums, which led me to believe that the wordpress team hadn’t gotten around to implementing Viddler.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s