A video podcast, commonly referred to as a vidcast or vodcast, is a streaming or downloadable video clip, usually offered as a subscription to an ongoing program. After the success of downloadable podcasts, online-savvy broadcasters began incorporating video into their podcasting. Video podcasts are often available to download from the maker’s web domain or through third party sites.
Vodcasts can either be streamed live from a website or downloaded onto your computer or mobile device. Streaming the video podcast means watching from your computer. It may be slower due to the constant transfer rate of the video, but it also saves you space by not downloading bulky video files. Downloading a video podcast allows you to watch it at your leisure on your computer or mobile mp3 player that has video capabilities. It can be handy if you have a long trip or long wait to keep some vodcasts downloaded on your mobile device to help you pass the time.
The first video podcast is commonly believed to be a serial comedy about zombies called Dead End Days. It was broadcast from 31 October 2003 through 2004. Other video-enhanced podcasts quickly jumped on board, with a variety of subjects and purposes. The first natural history video podcast, Terra: The Nature of Our World was released in 2005 as collaboration between the US Public Broadcasting System, Montana University and Filmmakers for Conservation.
Many shows offer subscriptions to their regularly-released video podcasts. Often, these subscriptions are free, although some do charge a nominal or monthly fee. Signing up for a subscription will cause your computer to periodically search for new downloadable content. Depending on the program used, it may either automatically download the available video podcasts, or it may allow you to manually select what you would like to download. Subscriptions are great for radio programs that have a daily video podcast, or for regularly released vidcasts such as Ask a Ninja.
Like podcasts, vodcasts can be on any subject and last any length of time. Some are ongoing projects of film students or independent filmmakers. They can be dramatic, comic, fact-based, or news related. Some will offer video walkthroughs of how to use certain products or how to make something. They can be a great enhancement to technology or gadget review podcasts, as they allow you to actually see the products and get a better understanding of how they work.
If you would like to make your own video podcast, you will need some basic equipment. In addition to a digital video camera and a computer, you must have a high-speed Internet connection and the ability to create an RSS feed, which is the broadcasting instrument. After filming your vodcast, you can give it a more professional feel by using video editing software. There are several online guides to making and broadcasting your video podcast to help you through the basic process.
Vodcasts are a tool of the 21st century that are quickly picking up speed. Since the initial broadcasts in 2003, it seems that just about every tech-savvy podcaster with a video camera can and does add video to their work. They are a great way to get entertainment and information, and can even approach short films in their artistry.