Google Plus Hangout & Video Tools That Every Mac Owner Already Has

The other day I was talking to a friend and fellow Mac owner interested in recording a Google Hangout.  In addition to recording Hangouts he also wants to be able to edit them and has an interest in making Youtube videos similar to mine.

After talking for a while about where to come up with ideas for content, etc, he asked me how much money it would cost him to get started creating videos.  I told him I’ve invested a few hundred dollars in microphones, a green-screen and external camera HD camera, and that he can get started for much less than I did. Then he asked “how much will I have to spend on software?”.

I was as shocked when he asked me this, as he was when I said, “0$ ! Everything you need to get started is included with your Mac!  He did not know that as a Mac owner, he already has everything he needs!

So if you are a Mac owner, here is a list of tools that you already have that you can use to record Google Hangouts, edit videos, edit sound, and just about anything else you need to create some awesome Youtube videos.

Quicktime LogoQuicktime:

You can use Quicktime to record your Google Plus Hangouts, or anything else that you can watch on your screen (if you can see it, you can capture it). Quicktime records in high or low quality, with or without sound. You can also use Quicktime to record from your iSight camera or any video camera connected to your Mac.

UPDATE: Ronnie Bincer of has pointed out to me that although Quicktime can be used to make high-quality recordings of your Google Plus Hangouts, the audio from the other people in the Hangout is not optimal (which I have confirmed).  Ronnie recommends using a (free!) program like SoundFlower to properly mix/combine the the audio for best results.  I will be trying Soundflower and plan to make a post/video with the results.

Image of Quicktime screen recording
You can use Quicktime to record your Google Hangouts and pretty much anything else.

Photo Booth iconPhoto Booth:

Photo Booth is great for recording Youtube videos if you want some awesome looking and easy to use effects.

The video in the screen grab image below was created with a green screen and a Photo Booth custom user-backdrop effect.  For Google Plus Hangouts (or Skype) you can use CamTwist (free), to broadcast your video with these Photo Booth effects.

Example of Photo Booth effect
This screen capture of a video was created using Photo Booth effects

iMovie logoiMovie:

iMovie is where the magic happens.

iMovie has been my editor of choice since 2006 for all of my Youtube videos as well as my home-movies.

With iMovie you get a simple interface that is great as a “first editor” for hacking up your first youtube videos, but it also has some advanced features like Green/Blue screen, Picture in Picture, and overlays.

iMovie Editor
This screenshot shows how simple the iMovie editor is

Garage Band iconGarage Band:

Like iMovie, Garage Band puts an easy to use interface on some pretty advanced features.  With Garage Band you can do basic to advanced sound editing, although I have been able to do all the sound editing I need in iMovie.

Garage Band startup screen
Garage Band has a simple interface to powerful audio editing

Screen Capture cross hairsScreen Capture:

The hidden utility of the Mac! To capture a screen-shot of your entire screen on your Mac hit Command+Shift+3 (that’s, the Command, Shift and 3 buttons all at the same time). You can get extra fancy and capture just a specific area or window by hitting Command+Shift+4. Your mouse pointer will turn into crosshairs that you can click and drag over just the area that you want to grab. When you let go of the mouse button, the image file of the screen shot will be saved to your desktop.
You can also use the “Grab” utility which you can find in the Utilities folder (in the Applications folder). Grab will let you save your screen grabs as TIFF (not sure why anyone would want to do that) instead of the default .PNG, and also will allow you to make a screenshot with a cursor in it which the button shortcuts I mentioned above will not do.

Preview iconPreview:

After you take all of those screenshots you can do quick and basic editing on them with Preview, the default file viewer for OS X.

With Preview you can crop, resize, add text, colored shapes, arrows, callouts, and thought bubbles. When you get really good, you can even use it to make pre-keyed images for special effects in iMovie.

Image of the Preview App
Preview lets you do all of the basic editing and then some

For an example of what you can do with all of these Mac software tools and to see them in action, take a look at any of my videos posted in my primary YouTube Channel:  You might even notice how my skills have improved over time when comparing the older videos to the most recent.

4 thoughts on “Google Plus Hangout & Video Tools That Every Mac Owner Already Has

  1. Great post with lots of good stuff Rand…
    As a fellow Mac user, I ran into difficulties recording hangouts with just Quicktime… The sound works fine for hangouts with just me, but the ‘other people’ are not as easy to hear when they talk vs. my sound. I know that some use Soundflower to help that out.

    When you mess around with it and make it all work, please share with us how you did it. I opted to go for a different video editor to capture the screen and good Audio for all participants in a hangout… I chose Screenflow from Telestream (about $100).

    1. @videoleadsonline:disqus thanks for the input and for helping me test the audio quality when recording hangouts with Quicktime. I have updated the post with the recommendation for Soundflower and will be testing it myself soon.

  2. I know my Mac has all this nifty stuff. Not sure how to use it all. If I’m using a macbook air can I save video to edit on an external hard drive? I heard garage band is good for podcasting

    1. @twitter-498488785:disqus, of course you will have to learn how to use all of these tools, but the good news is they are about as easy as they come. Yes, you can save your video to an external drive (i do!) …
      and.. Garage Band is _almost_ made for podcasting..

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