How To Record Google Hangouts On A Mac

About a week ago I made a post about how you can record Google Hangouts (and more) with tools that come with your Mac or that you can download for free.  In that post Ronnie Bincer left a comment pointing out to me that using Quicktime to record Google Hangouts can have audio problems, specifically with not recording the audio from the other people in the Hangout.  After more testing I confirmed that indeed when recording a Google Hangout with Quicktime, the audio of the other people is not captured. (I was wrong!)

Ronnie Bincer recommended that I use SoundFlower for capturing both sides of the Google Hangout audio.  I tested recording several Hangouts with Soundflower and found it to be not only very confusing to configure, but I also concluded that you cannot record both sides of the Hangout audio without also installing another plugin such as “LineIn” – from there it gets even more complicated.

All of this tinkering, configuring and frustration led me to look at products known to work for recording Google Hangouts, free or not.  Brian Meagher and I tested Snapz Pro X from Ambrosia Software ($69).  Snapz Pro X was able to record both sides of audio in a Google Hangout, but it suffered from some major audio sync issues, and Brian also complained that 3 minutes of recorded Google Hangout video took over 40 minutes to render and output.

Image of the ScreenFlow logoWe then moved on to testing ScreenFlow by Telestream ($99).  ScreenFlow is a full-fledged screen capture program and video editor for Mac.  Screenflow was able to easily record both sides of the audio from our Google Hangouts with virtually zero issues and zero frustration.

Screenflow also has advanced features such as the ability to capture your audio and camera video (in addition to the screen capture video) as separate channels or layers, making it easy to edit and intercut them.  Short version of a long story: If you want to record Google Hangouts on a Mac, or high quality screen capture videos for tutorials, etc, then ScreenFlow is hands-down the program to use and well-worth the $99.

Example of a Recorded Google Hangout

Below is our first Google Hangout recorded with ScreenFlow.  It was originally intended as only a test, but it came out so much better than expected for a first run we went ahead and published it as the first in a series of similar videos we will be doing.

This was recorded as a Google Hangout “On Air” to take advantage of the automatic video-window switching, which does not occur in standard hangouts.  Even though it was a Hangout On Air, we never pressed the “Broadcast” button, so nothing was uploaded to Youtube.

My video was done against a green-screen, using CamTwist to add the background and I used my Blue Yeti for sound.   Jesse (the Google fan doing all of the talking) used his built-in mic for sound.

You will notice that my video is more clear than Jesse’s because my video was recorded locally and was not subject to the Hangout compression that Jesse’s was.

How To Record Google Hangouts On A Mac by

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  • https://sites.google.com/site/molometer/ Michael Mulcahy

    Pretty good video quality but the audio has quite a serious echo.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

      @google-1f6f64489296b703632839b0437f2a7e:disqus, i assume you mean Jesse’s audio, because mine is _perfect_ .. We will be addressing Jesse’s shitty audio quality in this week’s episode..

  • http://gplushow2girl.com/ Carol Dodsley

    Ive found that you get the echo because you need to record both your own and the computer audio so you have two audio streams in the recording and what I have done is edit in screenflow and silence whichever audio track is not the person actually speaking – its a bit messy and is a problem if someone speaks at the same time as the host or the host speaks at the same time as the other attendees, but dow work.

    I found it I only have the one audio track recorded then the other people are a lot quieter on the recording which is also a pain ……..

    Look forward to any updates on this and how to record without echo and multi audio tracks and get equal quality of audio from both the person recording and the people inside the hangout :)

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

      @thehow2girl:disqus, on my latest recorded Hangout, that’s what I did to help reduce the echo, but I also realized that I was still getting a small amount of echo because my mic was picking up my own sound coming thru the hangout, back out my speakers.. you can watch it here, to see if it’s improved any from the first recording, above : http://youtu.be/vDxsLYYqZsQ
      We will be doing episode #3 today, so it should be even better as I learn all these things..
      For *ultimate* sound, I am considering having the person at the other end record his own audio locally, and send it to me to incorporate as a separate audio track.

    • http://unblanked.com/ Ben Bland

      Just a cursory thank you for pointing out a problem I needed to fix: thank you!

      FI: I just recorded an interview on Google Hangouts and there was a horrible echo. It’s just the additional audio track which I can remove easily. Lifesaver!

    • Antonio Bortolotti

      Ho did you edit in screenflow silencing whichever audio is not the person speaking? I am trying to do exactly the same but do not know how to practically silence others in Screenflow while I record both my own and the computer audio. Can you help? That would be awesome!

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Randy (Brown) Wilson

        @antoniobortolotti:disqus I think i imported the screenflow into Final Cut Pro to do the sound editing, and then i manually brought down the level of the track wherever it was echo’ee

        • Antonio Bortolotti

          Thank you Randy!

  • http://www.mixinity.com/ Aditi Banerjee

    Impressive.

  • http://joostschuur.com Joost Schuur

    So you were doing the classic ‘double ender’, where you used just the audio track from the other end and synced it up with the audio in your recording, right? If you’re not using Jesse’s video at all, why record his screen though? Why not just use Garageband or whatever?

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

      @jschuur:disqus, i am using video from both sides (have a look at the video)..

      • http://joostschuur.com Joost Schuur

        I see. With the lower video quality due to Jesse’s camera, I assumed the video all came from one source.

        To be frank, I only made it through part of the video. I found Jesse’s commentary style to not be very enjoyable to watch, regardless of what my own platform choices might be. You might even call it ‘snotty’.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

          Yes.. He can get that way.. Although some have gone so far as to call me “snotty” and ‘arrogant’ as well.. We’re like the dynamic duo of a-Holes..

  • Jeff Ludwick

    Isn’t a recording on Hangouts going to be saved/posted on YouTube?

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

      As mentioned in the post above, it only gets saved/posted to YouTube if you actually “broadcast” it, which we didn’t do. Instead, we just ‘go through the motions’ and record the show locally so that we can edit it, then upload a polished version to YouTube.

  • http://www.WinningAtRomance.com GinaParris

    Hmmmm makes me think recording Skype side by side is a better option. What made you not choose google instead?

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107418054739711167675 Rand Wilson

      @ginaparris:disqus we wanted the automatic voice-activated camera-switching that Hangouts On Air gives us, didnt want the show broadcast live, and also wanted to do post-editing – this forced us to record it locally.

      • http://www.GinaParris.com/ GinaParris

        Ok, you wanted the camera switching. I’d still edit something from call recorder or even screenflow and Skype. I’m trying to figure out how to make a setup that resembles Intentional Talk Live from MLB network. I love that gig!

  • Carol Dodsley

    Why not run it as a private hangout On Air that is auto recorded and then download your recording from YouTube to edit if you want to make changes to it before you publish/share it publicly? Much simpler than 3rd party recording a hangout and it records from the viewer perspective instead of the user perspective too. Running as a live private HOA you don’t have an audience but are broadcasting