Where Have I Been?

I am transforming this website from a podcast site into a blog.  Even though I only ever released one episode, I’d like to explain what happened and what my new plans are for the site.

When I first started the podcast last fall, I had a great deal of fun.  I recorded 7 episodes, even though I only released one of them.  My launch timing was rather bad, as it coincided with when Blip.tv started kicking knitting podcasters off their service.  I had done a great deal of research on the technical aspects of launching a podcast before I did it.  I had zero experience with how to set up a website, how to edit video, and how to do any of the small technical tasks related to getting a podcast into a pod catcher for viewers.  Through my research I knew that I needed to have a media host, but I had missed the fact that YouTube can not be a media host as you do not have an RSS feed that talks to iTunes or any other pod catcher.  I did not figure this out until I uploaded the first episode to YouTube and tried to figure out how to get the YouTube channel linked to iTunes.  When I started looking into other options, I discovered just how expensive those other options are.

At the same time, I developed a problem with the editing process.  I was using iMovie on my Mac to edit episodes.  This worked fabulously, except for one thing: compression.  With iMovie, you have limited options for output file sizes.  The files generated, even on the lowest quality setting, are huge.  A 45 minute episode at the highest quality setting was about 5 GB and at the lowest quality setting was around 700 KB.  Since media hosting is paid for by the GB uploaded / month, I knew that I needed to find a way to get the files compressed if I had any hope of continuing the podcast.  I downloaded the trial version of Final Cut Pro and purchased Compressor, a Final Cut Pro add-on that allows greater control and more options for compressing files.

I LOVE Final Cut Pro.  It has a much more intuitive working method than iMovie, and many, many more options.  I used Final Cut Pro to make a music video of the Weasel of Wrath for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crocheting House Cup Headmistress Challenge during the Fall 2013 term.  This was my way of learning the software.  My final video is far from perfect, but I learned a lot.  It took about 60 hours to film and edit!

Since I enjoyed Final Cut Pro so much, I decided to buy it and to use that for editing podcast episodes.  I waited until mid-December 2013 to buy the software because I knew a new version was being released.  Ever since I bought the new version of Final Cut Pro, I have been unable to use it.  I keep all my media on an external drive.  I don’t have a lot of video yet, but I do have thousands of photographs that I’ve taken with my iPhone or uploaded into iPhoto.  My photo library is nearly 100 GB.  I don’t have space for all of that on my 2010 Mac Pro which has only 250 GB of storage.  So I use an external 3 TB drive to store my media.  For some reason, the new Final Cut Pro does not recognize my external media drive.  I have 2.7 TB of free space, but every time I try to load media for a project, I get an error message telling me that the drive has no available memory.  It’s quite frustrating.  I need to make a Genius Bar appointment to figure it out, but that has not made it to the top of the priority list.

While I dealing with the technical issues, I started thinking about podcasting, both as a listener and as a content creator.  I listen to audio podcasts far more than I watch video podcasts.  I have more opportunity to listen to audio podcasts.  I pop in my headphones and listen whenever I am doing repetitive or boring tasks.  As a homemaker, this is a lot of the time!  Folding laundry, weeding planting beds, washing floors, picking up, etc, are all tasks that do not engage my mind.  Video podcasts, on the other hand, require me to be sitting in front of a screen.  My screen-time is inherently more limited.  When I have screen-time, tv shows, reading Ravelry or other websites, and e-mail compete with podcasts for my attention.

While I enjoy the video podcasts I watch (all of which are knitting-related), the reality is that few of them really need to be video podcasts.  Most knitting video podcasts consist of segments have no inherent visual component (talking head segments), or segments where it is nice, but not essential, to have video (sharing works in project or finished objects).  The only segments that absolutely require video are those in which a podcaster demonstrates a technique.

When I came to these conclusions, I decided that I would no longer do a video podcast.  If I was going to go forward with podcasting, I would do an audio podcast instead.  I knew this would dramatically reduce the cost of media hosting, but I had to learn about the technical process of recoding and editing audio.  It is technically easier, but to do it well, I would need to make some equipment purchases, most importantly a good microphone.  I would also have to rearrange my office; I have a low-level feedback hum that I need to eliminate.  I had already made substantial purchases in equipment for the video podcast, and did not want to make additional purchases in order to launch an audio version at that time.

And so the podcast, and this website languished.

I have been wanting to start a blog that encompassed many interests, including knitting.  My husband has owned a domain name for many years, but hasn’t been using it and was going to let me use that for a blog.  He has some technical issues he wants to work out before giving it to me.  He’s been working at his job a lot, and hasn’t had time to do what he wants to do with the domain name.  I got tired of waiting.  I really enjoy writing and I want to blog!  What could I do?  I came back to this site and reconfigured it to a format that I thought was prettier for blogging.  It’s only one piece of the bigger blogging idea I have, but it is a place to start.  It’s already set up and I don’t have to wait on anyone else.  I can just run with it.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I will, eventually, get back to the idea of podcasting.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this blog.

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