Thank you for agreeing to appear on a For Immediate Release HOA (Hangout On Air) on Google+. I wanted to give you some information on how the Hangouts work and tips and tricks to make the best of the experience! (And I especially want to thank Lynette Young for sharing a version of this document that I have adapted – ever so slightly – for FIR purposes.
HANGOUT ON AIR (HOA)
Hangouts On Air (HOA) are multiple-person video chats publicly streamed live on Google+ and automatically broadcast live to an unlimited audience, the stored as a recording on YouTube. The hangouts are also embeddable -- we will be displaying the live hangout from http://www.forimmediaterelease.biz/HOA.Anyone, even someone not logged into Google+ can watch a HOA. All they need is the link to the post on Google+ event page or the YouTube page where it will be streamed. HOAs are automatically recorded as YouTube videos that will be available on the FIR YouTube channel for replay. The audio of the show also will be distributed to subscribers as a podcast.
You can promote the event by sharing this URL with your communities:
We have done a few of these in the past. You can watch the last one here:
Our previous FIR Live episodes used BlogTalk radio (until they limited shows to 30 minutes without an exorbitant fee) and then TalkShoe. You can listen to any of these here:
WHAT I NEED FROM YOU
1. Your bio, headshot, keywords, and links. We’ll use this information in both the show notes and the YouTube video description. Email your info to me at email@example.com as soon as you can.
2. Your Gmail addresses. If you don’t have one, please head on over to Google and register.
3. Also, please visit the For Immediate Release page on Google+ and add it to one of your Circles. We can only invite you to the Hangout if we’re in a Circle. The page is here:
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
JOINING THE HOA
When you are ﬁrst invited to the HOA, you will receive a notiﬁcation in Google Chat (so be sure you are logged into Google+ at least 15 minutes before our scheduled time – we start at 8 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. Eastern). Just click on the link to join. When you are invited to a Hangout, you will receive a pop up chat notiﬁcation on your Google+ browser window. Invitations issued via circle membership will not trigger an individual invite message. If you don’t see your invite, visit the FIR profile and look for the Hangout listed with the blue “Join this hangout” button. Click and you are on your way!
You’ll first need to agree to the Google+ Hangouts Terms of Service.
Once all participants are in the pre-broadcast Hangout, I will let everyone know when I’m about to ﬂip the switch to make it a public watch-only hangout. I have that magic button, so there’s no need to worry that you might hit something by accident. The live Hangout on Air is also streamed to YouTube.com/live, featured on the page, available as a YouTube player embed, and recorded for future viewing.
After the Live Broadcast is started, I’ll ask you each to introduce yourselves briefly. Then we’ll jump into our discussion.
Even people without Google+ accounts or who are not logged in can view the video.
IMPORTANT!! If you drop out of the hangout, just go back to the original link invite and join back in again. You can also visit the FIR Google+ stream and look for the JOIN HANGOUT button and jump back in. If I fall out of the Hangout, game over ;(
While participating in a Hangout of any kind, you may notice that whomever is speaking (or has the loudest mic) takes center stage on your screen. If you don’t want to hop around so much visually, click on the ﬁlmstrip video of the person you wish to keep in focus. This is ‘blue boxing’, as they will have a blue box around their bottom ‘ﬁlmstrip’ video. To go back to auto-switching, click their box again to remove the border. Just be sure not to hit the ‘report’ button by accident! During a recorded HOA, the system only records the primary speaker (or loudest participant) regardless of how you personally choose to view the Hangout. What this means is that at any time there is the possibility that YOU are on the main screen Hangout picture.
TIPS FOR A GREAT HANGOUT
Be sure to test your webcam and microphone at least an hour before our scheduled HOA time. If you have never participated in a Google+ Hangout of any kind, you must be sure the plugin for Google Voice is installed and working. To do that, go to your Google+ page and click on the “Start a Hangout” and go through the steps as if you were going to host your own hangout. Along the process you will be asked to install the Google plugin and possibly restart your browser. Once you can run through the tests to verify your microphone, speakers and webcam you are all set!
Headphones. Use them, please. Even with only two people in a Hangout there is a possibility for a feedback loop (when each person hears themselves and others speak over and over and over again). I will have no choice to mute you out of the conversation even if you are giving us tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers. The earbuds that came with your smartphone or iPod will work just ﬁne. If you have a Skype or gaming headset that has both the headphones and microphone built in that works as well.
If you are using a laptop with the built in microphone it is CRITICAL that you use headphones or earbuds. No exceptions. Every person that has ever used both the built-in speakers and microphone has caused a horrible feedback loop.
Microphones. You need one to participate. There really isn’t any way around that.
Webcam. Most of today’s webcams will work with Google+ Hangouts so long as you are able to use it successfully in Skype or Google Voice, you’ll be fine. If you have controlling software for auto focus or any of those wild over lays (bunny ears anyone?) be sure to turn it off.
The auto focus speciﬁcally causes a great deal of lag in Hangouts as you ‘eat’ more bandwidth sending a video signal out that changes more often. Place your webcam either at or above eye level.
Try to make sure you stay within video frame during the Hangout, a good rule of thumb is to keep the top of your head to your elbows visible in camera. No one wants to listen to you talk while getting a shiny view of only your forehead.
Background. Try to see about having a ‘neutral’ backdrop for what appears ‘in camera’ on the Hangout.
When you are broadcasting a video signal over the Internet in a Hangout, the more pixels that change/move the more data gets sent over the line. By keeping your background uniform and stationary you increase the quality of the video you appear in and reduce the chance of audio lag (meaning that you talk and the sound ‘appears’ a few moments later).
Noise levels. Turn off the phone, television, put the dog out ﬁrst, give the kids your iPad to play with. Try to keep distractions down if possible. If you are ﬁnding that something is going on you need to attend to, mute your microphone and/or video feed (there are buttons that you control in the top right corner of the Hangout window).
Lights. You will need them. Make sure you are in a brightly lit room. The key to good lighting is to place lights in front of you from a slight angle, not in back! Having a light behind you that shows up 'in frame' tends to throw off the entire video. Move your webcam around a bit so the 40 watt bulb behind you doesn't look as bright as the sun.
If you are looking to get fancy, a simple 3-point light setup composed of desk lamps and LED lights (or at least ‘daylight’ bulbs) go a long way. To make you stand out in the video and let people see you and not a dark shadow where your voice comes from. Wikipedia has a great quick tutorial of how to set up a 3-point light set. If nothing else, be sure you are not only lit from behind.
A HOA is a globally broadcast and recorded event which puts you on the world’s stage, be sure to look the part! If your background is light, wear something dark - or the other way around - in order to provide contrast to yourself. The video camera sees two dimensions not three like we do in ‘real life’.
Ladies, wear makeup or at least powder and lipgloss. The video camera and the lights can wash you out, so be a bit bolder than you would in person. Also be sure that the blouse you wear does not get ‘cut off’ in a strange position on the video screen.
Gentlemen, shave (if you are so inclined)! Honestly a bit of face powder to hide the “shines” wouldn’t hurt either.
Be sure to use the restroom and grab a glass of water before you settle in for the Hangout.
Above all else, have fun! This is a chance for people to get to know you. Let your personality and expertise shine!