In Part 1 gave you a list of tools you’ll need to get started. So now you have a Google Account and you’ve activated your YouTube Account. Let’s move on to setting up G+ Hangouts so you can broadcast live!
By default, when you start a hangout on Google+, you’ll also see an option to use Hangouts On Air. After the hangout and live broadcast, you can edit the recording of the meeting and share it on YouTube.
System Requirements for G+ Hangout: Can you do it?
You’ll need one of the following browsers
- Google Chrome 10+
- Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 8
- Mozilla Firefox 3+
- Safari 4+
You also need to make sure you have the right OS. Google+ Hangouts supports the current version and 2 prior major release versions of the operating systems listed below on a rolling basis. The operating systems supported are:
- Mac OS X
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP
- Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux distributions
Since G+ Hangout requires real-time processing you’ll need to meet the minimum requirements for your CPU. Anything less than a 2 Ghz dual core processor and you’ll start having broadcasting problems in the form of video blackouts, audio delays and buffering issues.
You’ll also need some bandwidth. For 1:1 connections you’ll need a minimum of 1 mbps up and 1 mbps down. For group video connectivity we suggest 1 mbps/2 mbps (up/down).
G+ Hangouts has Limits
There are a few specifications and limitations of Hangouts that you should be aware of:
- Hangouts can have a maximum of 10 participants.
- There’s a 150 minute check-in to make sure you’re still there.
- If you have a Google Apps account, you may be able to Hangout with 15 participants.
One Sec! Before using Hangouts for the first time, there are a few things you’ll want to do:
- Download and install the latest version of the Google Talk plugin: http://www.google.com/talk/
- Make sure you have the latest drivers for your webcam.
- For the best video quality, make sure you’re well lit from a light source that’s coming from behind your camera. Webcams don’t work well in low light situations.
- Connect your headset to your Mic! Headphones with a built in microphone will dramatically improve your performance. The benefit of the Yeti mic is that you can use any headset with it via the headphones jack
Start Broadcasting on Air!
Do a test run and work out the kinks!
- Go to Hangouts.google.com or click on the Start a Hangout button on your G+ page.
- Give your Hangout a name and invite the people you want to join you in the Hangout.
- Select the option to Enable Hangouts On Air.
- Note: When you first start up a Hangouts on Air, you’ll need to agree to the Terms of Service and also link your YouTube account.
- Once everyone’s in the Hangout and you’re ready to go live, click Start broadcast at the top of the screen.
- Once you click Start broadcast, you’re officially “On Air” and the public will be able to watch your live Hangout.
Some Tips & Tricks for G+ Hangout on Air
Embed your Broadcast! You can embed the live player of your Hangout On Air in another website. Once you’re in the Hangout, click Embed and copy the YouTube URL or HTML code. Once the Hangout On Air is embedded, the viewers can watch the Hangout On Air directly from your website.
Try the Cameraman app – By default, all Hangouts On Air run an application called Cameraman. With Cameraman, you will see a video recorder icon when you mouse over any participant’s thumbnail in the filmstrip. As the, host, toggling this icon allows you to show or hide each participant in your broadcasts. While a participant is hidden, their audio and video will not appear in the broadcast. Other participants will still see the hidden participant within the Hangout, but his/her thumbnail will be greyed out on the filmstrip. Clicking the Cameraman button from the Apps menu will give you the option of choosing whether new participants enter the broadcast “visible” or “hidden” by default.
Install Hangout Toolbox – This toolbox provides three very important apps/extensions to improve your Hangout experience.
- Lower Third – app allows you to display a lower third (graphical bar with your name on it) as an overlay on your video. You can also add a real time clock or a complete custom overlay. If you want to add an icon/logo to your lower third chose a file from your computer with the file selector. The best size for an icon is 75×75 pixel.
- Volume Control – This app allows you to control the volume of each participant in a hangout or mute the entire hangout. All this is only locally for you and won’t affect any remote participant.
- Comment Tracker – The Comment Tracker allows you to track all comments across several sources like G+, YouTube and Twitter in one stream within the Toolbox. You can also display selected comments as an overlay to show your audience.
After the Hangout
After you stop broadcasting and quit out of Hangout, your recording will be available on your G+ page. You’ll also be able to edit the recording when the Hangout is over which will automatically update your post (and the video URL) to show the edited version. Just visit your YouTube Video Manager to edit your video. For videos longer than two hours, you’ll need to download, edit, and then upload the videos again to your YouTube channel.
- Sign into your account.
- Click on your username in the top right hand corner of your screen and select Video Manager from the expanded menu.
- Find the video you’d like to download.
- Click the arrow next to Edit to open a drop-down menu.
- Click Download MP4.
I encourage you to do a couple of test runs with G+ Hangout on Air with just by yourself and with other people. Work out your audio and video, find the right kinds of settings that’ll make for a great broadcast.
In Part 3, I’ll talk about finding the right kind of webcam, improving your video quality, and why screenshare (currently) makes for HORRIBLE content on a Video Cast.