Sample rate, bit rate, codecs, and iTunes for your Church Podcast | Tech Help for Churches

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On today’s Tech Help for Churches, Sample rate, bit rate, codecs, and iTunes

When you’re encoding an edited file, there are some terms you need to know and understand:

Sample rate: how often a sample is taking. More is better than less, but there comes a point when more will only create a bigger file, but the quality improvement won’t be worth it. For a mono audio podcast, I recommend 22.050 khz

Bit rate: how large each sample is. A very small sample taken very often won’t give you a good quality reproduction. Neither will a large sample taken too infrequently. A good sample size is 96 kbps. More and you’re not going to get much advantage. Less and you’ll have poor quality.

VBR vs. CBR: My thinking has changed on this. VBR (variable bit rate) could save some file size, but this is at the expense of compatibility. Some players won’t play the audio properly, so I’d recommend CBR (constant bit rate).

For video, you can think of similar properties that are called different things.

Frame rate: How often an image is drawn to simulate motion. Lower than 15 and it gets really stuttery. More than 60 is almost always unnecessary outside of gaming. Television in the US is typically 30 (but sometimes 60). I’d keep close to 30.

Resolution: Like bit rate, this is the amount of information contained in each frame. SD (standard def) is 480 lines. HD is 720-1080. 4k is 2160ish (depending on the standard of 4k used). More is better, but if a podcast is watched on a small phone, you’ll get no advantage to having it distributed in 4k. If it’s watched on televisions, 1080 or 720 are good starting points.

Codec: A codec is the set of instructions used by the computer to COmpress and DECompress the signal. Some codecs are better for editing and others for distribution. Video files should use H.264 to be compatible with the most devices and be smaller than those in editing codecs.

Love it or hate it, iTunes is where the most popular podcast directory is. Make sure you submit there unless you don’t want a large audience.

You can also use iTunes to trim podcasts, encode them, and edit ID3 tags. It’s not the best tool for those things, but it can do them.

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