How to Use Hangouts Lower Third

Are you interested in hosting or participating in a Google Hangout?  If so, it is important that you learn how to use the built in Hangout app called “Hangout Toolbox.”   Toolbox provides some very nifty tools for use inside a Hangout, most importantly an app called “Lower Third.”

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 What is a Hangout Lower Third?

Lower Third puts a stripe across the bottom of your screen which displays your name and web site or tag line. When viewers watch the Hangout, they will see your name and website displayed in your video feed, and of course that is a good thing.

Here’s what the built-in Hangout Lower Third setup box and its resulting name stripe look like:  (you can click the pic for a larger view)

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Hangout Lower Third screenshot

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Note that the above is what the Lower Third stripe looks like when you use the built-in settings as shown. If you do not choose a logo image, your profile pic will be displayed by default.

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Lower Third Custom Overlays

With Lower Third, you can also choose to use a Custom Overlay that you create yourself in Photoshop.  Below is a screenshot of a Hangout with a custom-made lower third stripe:

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Hangout Lower Third Custom Overlay

This is a Hangout screenshot showing a custom overlay at the bottom instead of the built in Lower Third name stripe. With the custom overlay you can add info anywhere you wish to put it, and fit more info.

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You can see that by using a custom overlay, I was able to fit more information in my stripe, and give it a custom color. You can also use more of the screen if you want, besides just the bottom area – for example in the empty space to left or right, you could put a call to action or other message, such as “Call now 760.555.1212!”  In 2012 I did a Yule Holiday Hangout and had jingle bells and holly in the upper corners.

You can create different overlays for different Hangout occasions and save them as a preset in the Lower Third settings box.  Just set up your Lower Third, then give it a name in the “Saved Presets” field at the bottom of the Lower Third settings box. Next time you use Hangouts you can just choose from your presets!

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Free Lower Third Custom Overlay Template, woohoo!

To receive a free Custom Lower Third Template – Layered Photoshop File, right click this link and save or download it to your computer. You must have Photoshop to use the file.

Important Note: When you save your custom overlay, you must save it as a .png file to preserve the transparency, so that your video feed will show, instead of a white screen.

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Want to learn more about Hangouts and the built in tools available in them?

Take a video tour of the Hangout interface and its most used tools here, or contact me to schedule a private or group workshop to learn how to use this powerful and free resource provided to us by the good folks at Google 🙂