Create an Audio/Video File for iTunes U

Tips for creating your audio & video content.

Make a Recording

Whether you're videotaping a lecture or making an mp3 from an interview, you'll need equipment.  The UNC Media Resources Center loans out free digital recording equipment to faculty and staff on an event-specific basis.  Students can check out equipment at the Media Resources Center.

  • If digital recording is new to you, you may want to contact the  for more information.
  • Visit the 'Getting Help' page for a list of digital recording equipment available for check-out at each location, plus hours and contact information.

Capture & Edit the Recording

The UNC Media Resources center provides digital audio & video editing stations.

  • Apple and Windows operating systems come equipped with free downloadable digital video editing software.
  • Visit the 'Online Resources' section of the 'Getting Help' page for information about these programs, and links to free digital audio editing software

Recommended File Formats for iTunes U

  • Audio files (AAC, MP3) with appropriate file extensions (.m4a, .mp3).
  • Video files (MPEG-4 with H.264 compression) with appropriate file extensions (.mp4, .m4v, .mov)
  • PDFs can also be uploaded to iTunes.
Reference the table below for the description and usage of each of these file formats.


File   Format 




A state-of-the-art, open audio file format.  At any given bit rate, AAC delivers higher quality audio than other older MP3 formats.

AAC provides almost twice the clarity of MP3 audio at the same bit rate with equal or smaller file sizes.

File size: Usually less than 1 MB for each minute of content

Use when you want CD quality audio in a highly compressed file.

AAC is the next generation in audio formats that offers:

  • Improved compression with higher quality results and smaller file sizes
  • Increased quality at a wide range of data rates
  • Support for multichannel audio, providing up to 48 full frequency channels
  • Higher resolution audio, yielding sampling rates of up to 96 kHz
  • Improved decoding efficiency, requiring less processing power for decoding

A compressed audio format.  Because it is an older format, quality is not as high as with newer formats.

File size: About 1 MB for each minute of content

Offers good quality audio, but compression and quality are not as good as next generation formats.
MPEG-4 Video      

Defined by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) to deliver DVD-quality video at lower data rates and smaller file sizes than MPEG-2. (MPEG- 2 was defined for DVD video; MPEG-4 was defined for Internet delivery of digital media.)

Based on the QuickTime architecture

Use to create content in a simple, cost-effective “author once, play anywhere” model.  You don’t have to manage the same material in multiple formats.

Works with a wide variety of devices, including mobile phones and digital still cameras.


The next generation video compression technology in the MPEG-4 standard

The result is crisp, clear video in much smaller files, saving in bandwidth costs over previous generations of video formats.  For example, H.264 delivers up to four times the resolution of MPEG-4 at the same data rate.

Use when you want very high quality across the broadest range of bandwidths from 3G mobile devices to iChat AV for videoconferencing.

Because H.264 is an integral part of the QuickTime 7 architecture in Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, QuickTime-based applications—including iChat AV, Final Cut Pro, and other third-party applications—can take full advantage of this new video format.

PDF booklets   

PDF stands for Portable Document Format.

PDF files can be stored and accessed from within iTunes, but not on iPod.

Used for text-based books or articles. PDF extension is required.

Note: iTunes does not write metadata to PDF files.

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