Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Video podcast chapters - Adding section information to the Sidepodcast TV shows

Published by Mr. C

As you may well know, we've included chapter selection within our enhanced weekly audio shows since day one, to allow for easy navigation of lengthy episodes. At times this has caused a bit of confusion because it means we're putting out two versions of every show, one in MP3 format for the majority of listeners and an enhanced version in AAC format for anyone with an iPod or iTunes.

Although this approach does create a bit of extra work, we've always figured it to be worth it, in order to benefit from the additional interactivity the enhanced format provides (along with chapters, we also add images and website links). The feeds page details the various options for downloading both versions, as well as how to subscribe to our video podcasts, and it's these that I'm keen to talk more about today.

It's possible to add chapter markers to video episodes too, although we couldn't really see the point when shows rarely stretch beyond the 6 minute mark, especially given that chapter navigation wasn't particularly user friendly either. That all changed though, with the release of an update in February to Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch (or iTouch as I prefer it) firmware.

We've talked about how good the iTouch is for viewing widescreen video podcasts before, but this software update added something unique - a chapter guide:

iPod Touch podcast chapter selection

Now we had a reason to add markers to our videos.

The above screenshot is displaying a list from a recent Inside Track video. Not only can we set the marker name, but it's also possible to specify a cute little thumbnail to represent each one too. The touch interface makes jumping between each section a snap but they also appear within iTunes if you don't have such a device to hand.

We've actually been doing this since the beginning of the season, essentially it's exactly the same thing we've always done for audio shows, and just like the audio episodes, none of the advantages are visible on this website. You have to subscribe to get the full functionality, but hopefully we can get that sorted soon.

I'm relatively confident that I am the only person in the world excited about this, but if you've ever found it useful, or if you think we're wasting our time, please do let us know.