Recording a Geology Office Hours Google+ Hangout

A number of geologists have commented on the value of using Google+ Hangouts for education. Google has indicated that eventually Google+ users will have the opportunity to record and save Hangouts to YouTube, but this capability is not yet implemented as part of the Google+ platform. I’ve been contemplating how to get around this restriction for a couple of weeks and after a couple of failed attempts, I finally cracked the nut last week. Recently I was asked if I would share my method for recording Hangouts – I’m happy to oblige.

The basic method I’m using employs two Google+ accounts on two computers, and the recording is done using Camtasia Studio. From my primary computer I begin the Google+ Hangout with Extras from my primary Google+ account. On the second computer I first mute the speakers, then join the Hangout with my secondary Google+ account. As I’m joining the hangout with my secondary account, I also mute its audio and video input (in the “Green Room” screen). (Muting all of these is important to prevent echoes and feedback.) Next, I begin recording the full screen with Camtasia Studio on the secondary computer – the recorder should be set to record system audio, but not microphone input. At this point, my secondary G+ account on the recording computer is acting as a “silent partner” monitoring and recording, but not contributing to the conversation. I am now free to turn back to the first computer and my primary Google+ account to conduct the Office Hours conversation. Nothing else needs to be done until the Hangout is concluded, when I simply stop the recording and exit both hangout windows. At this point it’s just a matter of editing the recording (if necessary) and converting the recording to an mp4 file and then uploading this to YouTube. I should note that there may be other/better methods that only use a single account or computer, but I’m satisfied that the method I’ve described works well enough for me. Don’t hesitate to ask in the comments if you’ve got any questions.

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