Jul 12, 2012

Cameraman App for Google Plus Hangouts On Air

Photo Credit: flickr.com

Two Alternate Uses for the Cameraman App

The Cameraman App announced today (July 12th) enables the host to bring people on and off stage in a Google Plus Hangout On Air.  (A G+ HOA streams live and is recorded to You Tube whereas a regular Hangout does not.)  Here's how the App works:
  • Hover over a Hangout thumbnail and click the video camera icon.
  • This action mutes a participant(s) video and audio turning the entire thumbnail white. 
  • To guests inside the Hangout, the white space appears transparent but on YouTube, the live and recorded version is an opaque thumbnail.  When a person is hidden, the other thumbnails automatically realign together making it appear on YouTube as if the muted guest has moved off stage.
  • But in reality, they're still there.  They're just invisible. To bring a guest back on stage, hover over their white thumbnail again and click the video camera icon.  
  • When the guest is back on stage, their audio will be muted and that guest will need to un-mute their mic to be heard. Keep in mind, hosts cannot turn on a guest's mic. Hosts can only mute mics. (The exception is when you're using the Pro-Studio extension).
2 Other Ways to Use Cameraman App 

Cameraman App as a Copyright Guardian 
The Cameraman App is also a handy tool if someone starts to share a piece of copyrighted material in the Hangout as the host can quickly mute the video/audio in hopes of not triggering the YouTube algorithm. If a guest shares material in your Hangout On Air to which they don't own the rights, your YouTube account can get flagged and you can lose your ability to host a Hangout On Air until the claim is resolved.  More on Hangouts and Copyright.  If the clip has already started to play, there's no guarantee it won't get flagged but Chee Chew of Google posted once that muting audio of a questionable clip is one way to try to avoid a potential copyright flag. For broadcasters who are putting their TV program in the HOA, this is important information. Use the camera app to mute audio/video when you suspect a questionable clip is ahead in your show rundown.  

Cameraman App as an Eject Button
While all of KOMU's Hangout guests are vetted prior to entry, the Camera App could also serve as a simulated "kick button" to temporarily eject someone from the conversation.  To permanently eject someone from your Hangout, use the block feature.  It's the null sign when you hover over a thumbnail.

We experimented with the Camera App today at the end of our newscast Hangout.

Think of it like Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak. Now you see him.  Now you don't.

Group video chat is one way TV newsies can punch through the TV glass and connect with viewers face to face.  In our Hangouts, our guests have become the omniscient narrators of our newscasts.  They correct, compliment and continue the news conversation.  I hope to connect with you in a future Hangout. 

Sarah Hill


  1. I have searched everywhere and cannot find any such plug-in for Google hangouts or Chrome. Where do I get this Cameraman app or plug-in?

    1. @Darlene you need to start a Hangout, click the "Hangout On Air" checkbox. Once you're in the Hangout if you hover over a thumbnail, you should see the controls to mute video. If not, you can go to "Add App" at the top of the Hangout and select the cameraman app. Hope that helps! :)