Tuesday, March 26, 2013

6 Tips For Better Google+ Hangouts

Hangouts On Air image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Google+ has a unique feature called Hangouts On Air that's like a video conference with 9 other people except for the fact that you can broadcast it to the world simultaneously on YouTube, your blog or website as well. It's a great way to connect with fans and clients for either a chat or for an intimate concert. That said, your Hangout will be a failure unless you use some basic broadcast techniques so that you actually look good on camera. Follow these tips and your Hangout partners will thank you.

1. Pay attention to the lighting. Unless you're using a video camera with a larger lens, built-in computer and web cameras have a small sensor that need more light than you think is necessary. For best results, make sure that most of the light comes from in front of you at about a 45 degree angle off to one side, and from slightly above your head. Avoid any lights behind you that can be seen by the camera.

2. Pay attention to the audio. The closer the mic is to you, the better you'll sound and the less ambient noise will be broadcast. Of course, great audio gear always helps, but you'd be surprised what even cheap gear can sound like if used properly.

3. Use headphones. An echo can occur when your playback is loud enough to leak into your microphone, which can be very distracting to the others on the Hangout. If you must listen loudly, use a set of headphones or earbuds to hear what's going on.

4. Pay attention to what you wear. Because webcams are fairly inexpensive devices, they don't respond like larger cameras do, which means they have some quirks that you must work around. Therefore, try to wear solid colors, since any patterns on your clothing will be distracting. Also, lighter colors work better than dark, since dark requires more light.

5. Look at the camera. This can be tough because we all want to look at who we're speaking with and the camera is never ideally located. Just remember that when it's your time to speak, avoid the temptation of looking at the other Hangout attendees and look directly into your camera instead. They'll feel your eye contact and your connection will be deeper as a result.

6. Pay attention to your position. If you're too far away, then people can't see your eyes and you lose any connection with them. The correct distance is when they can see your shoulders in the frame.

Just follow these quick tips and you'll find that you'll have much better results on your next Hangout.


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