Ah… Check with Maureen? Ken here.
Acquire - AND TEST in advance! - a USB (or similar) headset/microphone combination. There are several available for fairly cheap. Here’s one that works well for me:
It has good audio quality and a mute switch/volume control in the middle of the cord which is very handy. I’m now in the habit of pressing the mute button (which flashes when muted and is steady when unmuted) whenever I’m done talking.
The advantages of having a headphone/microphone combination include great echo minimization (which can make a session totally unusable if the feedback starts dominating the sound!), consistent (noise-cancelling) microphone levels (unlike using your computer’s built-in microphone or an external mic that isn’t attached to your head, and consistent headphone levels (unlike using your computers speakers. If you must compromise, at least get a pair of headphones or an earphone that disconnects your computer’s speakers when in use. This will minimize most of the echo; having a boom microphone provides the additional benefit of allowing the microphone to emphasize your voice instead of other noises in the room.
TEST your mute function several times (whether on the cord of your headset) or a setting on your computer), to get familiar with it. In the latter case, make sure that control on your computer is quick and easy to toggle back and forth.
Most newer desktop and laptop computers have a built-in camera, but external (e.g. USB) cameras can be used if needed. External cameras (or to some extent those on laptops), provide a bit more maneuverability to get a good angle for your video.
If you need to, bring a lamp or two so that your face isn’t too dark. No point in looking like your identity is in deep shadows, being protected by the police. :-) Just like you might do when photographing art, a couple of indirect lights at 45 degrees (roughly) on either side of your face provides even lighting.
4) Surroundings and ambient noise
As much as possible, try to arrange your schedule in advance when you’re not expecting visitors, family, pets, or other disruptive factors (a.k.a. forgiveness opportunities) :-) If you have an aesthetic backdrop or artwork, why not share that, too. :-) Having a glass of water nearby is handy, but keep in mind that snacks make noise and should be muted (and it’s probably better to plan meals at other times :-)
5) Testing: TEST your hardware and software … IN ADVANCE!
including video, microphone, headsets, minimizing room noise, distractions, using the chat window, testing the mute function, etc., and whatever else seems appropriate for ‘pre-recording’ test sessions; ask family, friends, etc. to help you and ask them how you look and sound to make sure you’re not overlooking something easily fixed or enhanced.
Alternately, the ‘regulars’ on the program can assist. Rather than assume new hardware and/or changed or updated software (or even a different room) is going to work, re-test whenever anything in your system changes that might affect how well your part in the recording/presentation works.
6) Comments or questions in advance
If there’s a topic for the presentation, study group or class, if there are comments or questions that might be truly helpful, why not jot those down in advance and have in front of you when you begin.
7) Arrive early
If possible, plan to log in to the session 15-20 minutes early; this not only minimizes sorting out technical issues, but also provides an opportunity to get to know new (and existing) friends on the conversation. It’s a good idea to hover over each of the thumbnail videos to learn the names of the participants, and jot those down for quick (and future) reference.
8) Network before and after …
Why not let your friends and fellow ACIM students (via FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, other social networks, email, phone, smoke signals, whatever) know about the hangouts you plan to participate in, and those you’ve already participated in; cross-linking is fun and a ‘win-win’ reflection of shared interests, since we’re all going home together. :-)
Sorry for my disappearance from the (ACIM HANGOUT) Universe.
Miss the tribe and wishing you all a Merry Awakening this season.
I’ll be back with Monday Miracles. Looking forward to the laughs.
18th Aug 2012: Miranda Macpherson on “Defencelessness” http://youtu.be/VYSkhTp4uyo
8th Sep 2012: Nouk Sanchez and Carrie Triffet on “Using the Body to transcend the Body” http://youtu.be/ZVqAgktRkpU
15th Sep 2012: Pauline Edward on “How do I be <insert job title here> and an ACIM student at the same time?” http://youtu.be/ki8cTmb2RAc
22th Sep 2012: Michael Murray on “Transcending the wrong mind to the Right Mind” http://youtu.be/4EzckKitrVw
29th Sep 2012: Maureen Muldoon on Surrender and Trust All shows are on 10am PDT / 6pm BST, viewable on the ACIMExplained youtube channel.
To be IN the actual hangout, just come in 15mins before the show (We will send you an invite on Google Plus - so do add us to your circles).
I would recommend to mute yourself when you are not speaking - the picture jumps whenever it detects sound from your mic..
What’s ACIM Hangout?
ACIM Hangout is a weekly show that will have a guest ACIM teacher and myself (Kenneth Bok) on, and up to 8 other participants, on Google Hangout. The show / hangout will focus on YOU - the audience: your sharing and your questions! Each hangout will have a particular theme, and the guest teacher will give a short talk on that theme. We will then have a Q&A / sharing session. The show will be broadcast LIVE on the ACIMExplained youtube channel (http://youtube.com/acimexplained)
What’s Google Hangout?
Google Hangout is a video conferencing platform that allows up to 10 people to have a video chat. The video conference can be broadcast live on youtube and also recorded and can then be made viewable on youtube.
How do I get Google hangout and get set up to participate? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuNpPdRTKgs&feature=plcp
1. Get a Google+ account (if you don’t have one) here: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/, click on “Sign up” on the top right hand corner, and do the necessary steps
2. Once you’ve got a google+ account, make sure you have the plugin by starting a hangout (yellow button on your google+ profile) or download and install from here: http://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/res/talkvideo/hangouts/
3. Check that your audio and video is working by starting a Hangout on your own
4. Add me to your circles on Google+: my email is email@example.com
5. Take a mindful breath and enjoy your breathing. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z6ItuafSdg&feature=plcp