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Hangout Production Studio: Helping You to Hang Well
Hangout Production Studio: Helping You to Hang Well


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Recent Update
I haven't had a great deal of time to monkey around in Pro Studio lately, but have managed to get some improvements in...

► Visible Filmstrip - At a user's request, I've brought back one of the Filmstrip states that I had ditched recently... the request was to make it possible for two people to be in the filmstrip and have it display the filmstrip, which is not the default behavior of Auto. So it's back. Enjoy.
► I've also added a Focus switching mechanism: your number keys along to the top of your keyboard can now switch the focus participant. Far left thumbnail is "1", the far right is "10" (if you happen to have 10 thumbnails... otherwise the thumbnail at the far far corresponds to the number of thumbnails present).

Note that Pro Studio must have focus to have this function! The safest way to ensure that it has focus is to click beneath the "Fund Development" button.

I am aware that, if I am the host and I have a second thumbnail using the same account and that second session is also using Pro Studio, there's a crippling cross-talk issue... I would advise only having one "Host" session until I can get around this issue. This is why I created anyway: so you can have someone else "Produce" with host abilities.

I hope you find this useful.
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Recent Update

Many thanks to the great and might Hangouts API team, for because of their work, I've been able to add two valuable new features:

► "YouTube Stream" now allows you to cycle between three states:
      ☼ FOCUSED FEED (Always display main feed only)
      ☼ HANGOUT VIEW (Always display main feed and filmstrip)
      ☼ AUTO (Automatically hide filmstrip when there is one user)
► "Notifications" can now be set to default to "Audible" or "Muted" for new users entering the Hangout. No more [ding] every time something happens in the Hangout :).

Please remember to set Notifications early! I believe it affects new participants as they enter, not those already in the Hangout.

As always, your feedback makes things happen, so please let me know how it goes.
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Recent Update

Thanks to the recent release of Hangouts API 1.4, I've had a chance to add some new functionality to Pro Studio. This is one I've been looking forward to for some time, actually. I just haven't had access to the hooks to make it happen. Many thanks to the mighty Hangouts API team for making this possible.

► Participants can now see when they are the limelight... if you are the participant displayed prominently in the YouTube video stream, you will see the [blue-outlined icon] next to your name in the Pro Studio Participants list.
► Designated Producers may now switch the YouTube Video focus from participant to participant by clicking on the [grayed icon] to the right of each participant's name.
► Click "Auto-Switching" to allow the audio levels to determine who is the primary focus.
► "Toggle Mirror" does what it indicates... it allows you to see yourself as either Mirrored (Hangout default) or as others see you in the Hangout.

Note that the [grayed icon] will display for all participants prior to Broadcasting, as no-one is in focus for a Hangout that is not yet Broadcasting ;).

The goal of Pro Studio has always been to allow the Host to delegate as much of the Hangout Production Workflow as possible so that they can focus on the conversation. We're a big step closer to that goal with this update.

As always, please direct questions and bug reports to +Chad LaFarge. That guy's got nothin' else to do anyway ;).

#ProStudio   #hangoutsonair   #Hangouts   #hangouttools
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+Hangout Comment Tracker Updates by +Gerwin Sturm... very useful updates.
Updates, updates, updates

As you might have noticed I was a little bit busy elsewhere (with +All my + statistics) but I've had some changes lined up for the comment tracker and with the new issue of event URLs (see my post earlier) it was about time to push out an update.

Tracking events
Unfortunately with a recent Google+ change it's not possible to use the event URLs in comment tracker any longer because I can't find them in the API that way. To solve this problem what you can do is the following.

1) Make sure you have a rather unique (hash)tag in your event description or a rather specific title of the event.
2) In the comment tracker use the "Search G+" button to search for the tag or title
3) In the "Comments / Search results" view find the correct event post and use the "Track comments" button to add it to your tracker (as described in this post
4) Remove the search from the "Posts / Searches" view

This also works for events that were victim to another API issue described in this post:

New handling of reshares
Originally you had the option to add reshares together with the URL you added. This had the disadvantage that you missed reshares that happened after you started tracking. Now with a new button for tracked Google+ posts you can check for new reshares whenever you want and the new posts will automatically be added to your tracker.

Link to stand-alone tracker
One problem that hangout extensions still have is that you can only run one of them at a time. So you might start tracking comments using the comment tracker but then realize that you actually want to use +Hangout Lower Third or +Pro Studio for your broadcast. To make it easier for you there now is an additional link which will open the stand-alone tracker in a new window/tab with all the sources you were tracking already preloaded. That way you can quickly switch to using the stand-alone tracker and use another extension of your choice.

For broadcasters: automatically track YouTube Live comments
Thanks to the launch of a new version of the Hangout API it is now possible for a broadcaster running a Hangout app/extension to directly access the ID of the YouTube live stream. So if you are hosting a HOA and start the comment tracker the comments from YouTube will automatically be added to your hangout.

More updates planned in the future, stay tuned :)

You can start using the extension by opening a hangout via this link:

You can also use all the functions outside of a hangout here:

If you want to be notified about further updates to this extension please let me know, so that I can add you to an appropriate circle. Please make sure to circle the page as well, because I can't add you to circles otherwise. And if you want to be removed from the notifications again just let me know as well :)

#hangoutapps  #hangouts  #hangoutsonair #hoa
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Pro Studio Button Overview

After some urging (kicking and screaming may or may not have occurred), I've been convinced that it's a good idea to post a short overview of the new tool buttons in +Pro Studio.

It's a short 3:30 of your time which, while you'll never it have back, it could answer some questions that you've had about the features of the extension.

I hope that this is helpful.

+Chad LaFarge

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Recent Update

+Mike Downes was kind enough to post about the new graphic tool buttons, of which he designed the Set/Revoke Producer and On/Off-Stage icons.

Hope you enjoy the new icon versions, along with all that fresh white-space that they bring. Your eyes will thank you :).

[Edit] Note that the On/Off-Stage Buttons are available only in Hangouts On Air, not regular Hangouts.

Now it's even easier to Host a Productive Hangout On Air with +Pro Studio  thanks to some New Buttons that streamline the experience .. We now have a Director's Chair and a Mini Stage that let you know when and where you need you guests to be so they'll never miss a cue ..

More to come from +Chad LaFarge as he codes the Hangout App while +Mike Downes keeps telling Chad to move stuff, add stuff and streamline it more .. Got any suggestions.. then let us know ..
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Recent Update

Without getting too crazy, this is a very helpful update related to comment tracking, for which my part in the update was to simply tweak a few lines of code to take advantage of work others have done.

Clicking "Comment Tracker" will now:
    ❶ Automatically load the YouTubeLiveID to monitor YouTube comments on the live broadcast
    ❷ Automatically monitor Twitter posts that include the YouTube link
    ❸ Automatically add a G+ Search for the quoted Hangout Topic

In the case of ❸, you'll want to quickly scan the G+ search results on the right and click the "Track comments" icon on the correct G+ Posts in order to add it to the monitored posts. You can then remove the G+ Search item on the left to clean up your results.

This should save some effort on the part of Host/Producers in setting up a useful comment management environment during a potentially hectic time in the production: right as the Hangout is beginning and the topic is being introduced. Note that when you write the book about all this, please attribute the expression "Comment Management Environment", or "CME", to +Chad LaFarge (but attribute that part of the tool to +Gerwin Sturm ;)... it's his Stand-Alone Comment Tracker that makes this possible).
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Recent Updates

With the recent release of the Hangouts API version 1.2 (thank you, Hangouts team!), I've been able to add some much-needed new functionality. First and foremost, addressing the HoA "Race to Host" issue we've battle with since the very beginning. A side-effect of the fix is that, in a HoA, the true Host (broadcaster) must run Pro Studio in order for there to be any Producers. I think that makes sense anyway. For "regular" Hangouts, the "Race" is still on. 

For Hangouts on Air
► The person who created the HoA is the Host, and must run Pro Studio to designate Producers, and many of the other new tools use the Host as a proxy, so they need to keep the extension running.
► If a user who is not the HoA creator loads Pro Studio before the creator does, they will be gently urged to remind the HoA creator to load it while the "first-in" user remains an "App-User" with access only to the "Status" and "Participants" sections, with use of the "Raise Hand" button only. It's a truly lonely existence.
► "Off-Stage" and "On-Stage" are the new tool buttons, which apply the Cameraman "Hide from broadcast" and "Show in broadcast" tools, respectively. Yes: any producer can "Hide from broadcast" any participant now.
► The "Off-Stage", "On-Stage", and "Mute" tools may now used on participants who are not running Pro Studio but please note that you still cannot "UnMute", or use any of the other tools on Non-App Users.
► "Participants Enter:" shows the Host and Producers whether new participants entering the HoA will be "On-Stage" or "Off-Stage" (shown in broadcast or not), and allows the Host or Producers to toggle that Cameraman setting without leaving Pro Studio.
► "Broadcast Link": provides the YouTube link at which the HoA will be broadcast. That means it allows Producers to know the link before it is broadcasting, so they can prepare their social media updates in advance of "Broadcast".

For All Hangouts
► Minor cosmetic change for "Message" "Send" button (+Mike Downes).
► "Message" text box now clears when you click "Send", in preparation for your next message (+Marcus Penn).
► Reworded some of the "Status" section labels and links for cleaner presentation.
► The "Participant" section has lost its "Legend" (the "Aa" boxes). You may now mouse-over a participant if you don't understand the color-coding.
► "Fund Development" is a brand new and very exciting advance in Hangout Production technology! It allows a user to donate actual money in support of Pro Studio development efforts via PayPal. I truly appreciate anything you offer through this button, as does my loving bride ;).

So you can see it's been a busy week. I hope that you enjoy the new tools and the added flexibility they provide. As always, please don't be shy about providing feedback. I need to hear from you to know what you want. You can do so here or by contacting me, +Chad LaFarge, directly.

Have a most delightful day!

#prostudio   #hangoutsonair   #hangouttools   #hangouts  
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Recent... er... Updates

I realize I just posted an update, but this is a special case and it needs to stand alone. I want to follow this change closely to make sure that this is what the Hosts/Producers (H/P) want.

► The "Mute" tool now locks the mute state on... the participant can't unmute themselves by clicking the red "Off" (unmute microphone) button. An H/P has to Unmute them using the +Pro Studio "Unmute" tool.

You tell me if this needs to be rolled back. It makes it necessary for an H/P to Unmute if the participant was muted using Pro Studio, which could be considered to be yet another thing that the H/P has to do, or it could be considered a safety net guarding the noise level of the production.

#prostudio   #hangouts
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Recent Updates

One of the oft-repeated observations I hear is "there are three Hangout Extensions that are really useful: +Hangout Lower Third, +Hangout Comment Tracker and Pro Studio... if only they could be run at the same time I wouldn't have to choose!" First off: I love being included in such good company! I also use both the other mentioned tools... I can relate :). With that in mind, I asked +Gerwin Sturm if he would mind if I were to include a link to his stand-alone version of the Comment Tracker and he agreed! Here's the formal announcement:

► Added a link to the stand-alone Comment Tracker in the Status section. Click to open in a new window and monitor those comment feeds! His features that I find really useful: Hide removes a comment from search results and Pin moves the comment to the top of the list (under previously "pinned" comments)... this allows you to prioritize and organize the questions and comments you want to address in your Hangout and remove the "noise" that you want to ignore.
► Still tidying up code for improvements to come...

Don't forget to circle +Gerwin Sturm and thank him for the excellent tool. He's one of the developers who's provided sample apps and helped to guide others in Hangout App Development from the start.

Hope you find this useful!

#prostudio   #hangoutsonair
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