Podcaster Tip: Use Dropbox

In an effort to write “what I know” I thought I’d start a new series on here for Podcasters.  I’ve been doing Podcasts for four years, and streaming radio for at least a year previous to that, and have started from the simplest of PC microphones to a studio where I’m surrounded by equipment I’ve built up from spare computers and parts.  Over the course of this, and in projects in the future, I’m always experimenting and building on what I know and have available.  Please let me know if you find these sort of articles helpful.

dropboxiphoneA few weeks ago, I was introduced to Dropbox. It’s one of those things that had, and still does, come up on plenty of the podcasts I listen to, and blogs I read.  Since then, I’ve started to integrate it into our work with the Wrestling Mayhem Show.  Dropbox is a product that sets a folder up on your computer (Mac, Windows, or Linux.  I use it on all three platforms).  Whatever you put in that folder gets uploaded immediately, and synced to every other computer with a connected Dropbox folder.

I’ve integrated this by storing the Wrestling Mayhem Show’s assets in this folder.  For our case, we have show intros, outros, weekly music, best of clips, guest liners, and more files that pertain to the show. This folder is synced up with all of the studio computers (four of them.  2 Windows.  2 Xubuntu), my laptop, and my office iMac.  This keeps everything tidy and available in several situations.

  1. A computer goes down. As with recent problems, sometimes the hand me down hardware I end up building the studio from can fail.  Sometimes right in the middle of the show.  This gives me the option to load up the assets on a new computer in the studio, and hopefully, carry on (though likely saddling more tasks on already stretched hardware).
  2. Decentralize your production. Will, aka DJLunchbox, have a folder synced to this.  In some cases, we may have downed internet, or have an emergency, during our live broadcasts.  This way, he can take over and have all of the assets to broadcast and edit the show without me and my hard drive available to him.  This lifts a huge weight on my shoulders that someone else can pick up the slack if something should come up.  Important if you’re working with a team on a show and want to adhere to your attempts at a regularly scheduled broadcast.
  3. Share edit files. Just recently, we started that process of final show production moving over.  With some equipment issues this week, the “good edit” ended up on a rather slow (but still useful) 1.3 ghz machine.  Being on a different sleep schedule due to our varying work hours, I set the MP3 to render (marking about an hour of processing) straight into the drop box, making it available immediately upon completion to my associate.
  4. Remote files access. A nice little free iPhone App was released since I started with Dropbox that allows you to see everything in your folder.  Granted, there could be files that won’t be able to be viewed on your iPhones, but checking on files that are saving to that folder, updates from your colleagues, or sharing show bites and image assets on the go to people can be rather handy.  Files are downloaded on the fly when you select them, if applicable.

I’m using only a 2 GB free account, (though you can get others to join to up that to 3 GB)  50 GB ranks about $10, and goes all the way up to 100 GB.  The 2 is enough for my assets right now (after I converted them to MP3), so should be enough for any show to share these sorts of files.

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