How to Basics for Hangouts on Air
Hangouts on Air (HOA) are Live Video Broadcasts. They are an opportunity offered to all of us that use YouTube or Google Plus to interact and broadcast our message or ideas to the world.
What follows here are the 3, no 4 important parts of a Google Plus Hangout on Air (also known as a YouTube Live Broadcast). This post is not going to go into all the techy details, but simply introduces you to the main components involved with running a successful broadcast.
Hangouts on Air – What is it?
The Hangouts on Air tool creates a Live Video Broadcast that the world can watch and when it is finished, it gives you a recorded copy of the broadcast automatically on YouTube… all at no cost to you… compliments of Google, YouTube & Google Plus.
1) Green Room Time
When you start your Hangout on Air, you and the invited guests – up to 10 people total shown in the ‘Filmstrip‘ – are in a pre-broadcast mode. You have yet to press the red ‘Start broadcast’ button which makes the broadcast go live, so you are sort of in limbo. This mode or status is commonly called “The Green Room”.
During Green Room time, you and your Filmstrip guests can check the video picture, lighting, and sound. It is also a good time to remind the attendees what the broadcast will be about and who does what and in what order. Also, during this time it is common for people to turn on some self-identifying labels called Hangout Lower Third Graphics (an App provided free as part of the Hangout software set ).
A new feature that has been added to the HOA tool is an App called ‘Cameraman‘. It allows the originator/host of the HOA to control how each member of the Filmstrip is seen or heard.
There are settings in this App which allow for ‘late arrivals’ to be less intrusive. If the host chooses this option, any late arrivals to the Filmstrip will not be seen nor heard until the Host visually ‘un-mutes’ them. This is a great addition to the whole broadcast experience as it allows the late arrival to get ready without visually or audibly interrupting the live broadcast. Read up on that here: http://goo.gl/vBFGh
Other tools are also available to help the Host control the flow of the show. One of which is called Pro Studio. The Cameraman tool is new and provided automatically by Google Plus… though it is not as advanced as Pro Studio, it is a welcome addition to the HOA process.
2) The Broadcast Goes Live
Once all Filmstrip guests are ready or the time to start the show arrives, the Host will press the red ‘Start Broadcast’ button initiating a 10 second count-down until the live video begins. When the count-down finishes, the broadcast begins and the live signal is broadcast to the world via various locations including your website if you so desire.
HOAs can be used for Product Demonstrations, Live Concerts, Interviews, Q & A Sessions, Webinars, Conferences, etc. The use of these types of broadcasts are limited only by your imagination.
There is a 4-hour limit to the length of the broadcast if you want it to be recorded automatically by YouTube.
Interaction is one of the main differentiators for this type of broadcast, so encourage interaction between the Filmstrip guests as well as keeping track of the various places where viewers outside of the Hangout may be commenting.
You may want to have an individual performing the role of a ‘Moderator’ or ‘Producer’ as part of the Filmstrip and allow them to interject with comments/ questions from the various commenting locations.
There are various tools being developed to help monitor the various commenting locations. A popular one in use right now is called Hangout Comment Tracker which can be run independently of the HOA software (a stand alone app). Having a Moderator keeping track of external & internal comments frees up the Host to do their hosting with fewer distractions.
3) After the Broadcast Ends – Your Video’s After Life
The Broadcast is ended by the Host pressing the ‘End broadcast’ button. Recent changes (7/13/12) make it so the Host is no linger kicked out of the Hangout when they press the ‘End broadcast’ button but they can now participate in the ‘after glow’ of the show. This is usually a great time to debrief. Discuss how things worked or might be best adjusted for the next time around.
An important point to realize is that a video has been automatically recorded of the live broadcast and is now publicly visible on YouTube. What is done with that video can make or break it’s ‘After Life’ Success.
Many people do not realize that the video of the broadcast will likely have more views than the event had live if certain optimization techniques are applied to the video after the broadcast ends.
If you do not want the video to be seen after the broadcast ends, you can delete it from your YouTube channel, or you can make it ‘Private’ or ‘Unlisted’ and thus control who can see the recording.
If your goal is to get the recorded broadcast found and viewed, don’t forget to add basic Video SEO best practices to the finished recording. You’ll want to add a good Title, Description and appropriate Tags to the finished video.
Oh, and one more thing!…
4) Promote Your Broadcast Before it Starts
This really should be the first of all these components, but I have saved it for last, mainly for emphasis!
People will need to know Where and When to watch your Live Broadcast… before it happens. They can then tell others about it and share those important details if you make it easy for them to do so.
One of the weaknesses of HOAs has been the difficulty of letting people know when and where to view the live broadcast… this is still a problem in my opinion, but there is a new tool that really helps out called Google Plus Events.
With the Google Plus Events tool you can:
- Alert the Public about an upcoming broadcast.
- Ask if people want to receive a reminder re. the broadcast… and auto deliver that reminder.
- Provide a link showing where to watch, or even embed the live broadcast directly in the invitation sent by Google Plus Events.
- Make it easy for people to share the information about the broadcast.
Events are a fantastic way to alert, remind and encourage people to share the appropriate details about the what, where, and when of your broadcast. They can even be used to view the broadcast after the show is no longer live. Read more on Google Plus Events and how you can Alert the public about your HOA.
Hangouts on Air Basics Summary
So now you know the major components of an HOA (Hangout on Air) or YouTube Live event… the Pre-show time, the Live broadcast, and the After Life of the video. Plus you’ve got a tip on how to Advertise and Alert people regarding where and when to watch it.
What do you plan on using HOAs for?
What info do you still need to get started?