Camtasia Studio 7 is an excellent video production tool, both simple and feature rich
Back in January I did a series of posts focused on finding free tools that would enable me to create video tutorials. While it was easy to find tools like Jing and Windows Movie Maker that could help me do this, these free tools did not meet some of my criteria.
To efficiently produce video tutorials, you really want to be able to record clips and edit them together, and while you can do this with Movie Maker, I was unable to do so without a loss of quality that I found unacceptable. I learned that this was a case of “you get what you pay for”, and ultimately decided I would need to purchase a product like Camtasia to do what I wanted.
I procured and installed Camtasia Studio, and went to work. One little hiccup I encountered along the way was that Camtasia upgraded from release 6 to 7 while I was learning it, and it made sense to me to convert what I had started in Release 6 to Release 7 and move forward. This was easy to do and produced immediate gains, since the “Produce & Share” wizard in Camtasia 7 enabled me to produce an HD quality final product with a couple clicks (I had struggled to get the resolution quality I wanted using Camtasia 6 due to my inexperience with the app, but this wasn't a problem under Release 7).
Those “5 Reasons” I mentioned
Okay, so here are 5 reasons why I think Camtasia is pretty awesome. I have no doubt that once I have spent more time with the app, this list is going to grow. I've only just begun to tap into its potential.
1. Resolution Quality
3. Extensive Editing Capabilities
4. Quick, Easy Production
Allow me to elaborate …
Resolution Quality: Not only does Camtasia enable you retain the original quality of the clips you record, you can choose from many formats for final production. While I stumbled a bit with Camtasia 6 to get the quality I sought in my final video, using the HD option under Camtasia 7 produces videos that look outstanding in YouTube (and allows the user to choose from various playback resolutions).
Picture-in-Picture: With Camtasia, it's real easy to have a recorded video showing you speaking over captured screen activity displayed in picture-in-picture format in your video. You simply turn on the webcam capture while you are recording, and then when you edit and produce your video, you have total control of how big the P-i-P image is and where it displays over the screen content.
Extensive Editing Capabilities: I really haven't even begun to tap into what Camtasia can do in terms of editing. Naturally, you can easily edit and arrange video and audio clips, but the capabilities extend far beyond that. You can add title clips and captions, use cursor effects, zoom and pan around a clip, and so much more. I have a lot to learn!
Transitions: One of the cool features available in Camtasia is the set of drag-and-drop transitions that are so easy to use. You can choose from options like “Page turn”, “Fade through black”, “Radial Wipe”, “Checkerboard”, and so on, to get professinal looking transitions from one video clip to another.
Quick, Easy Production: Turning your edited video into a final product for distribution couldn't be easier. A few clicks, and a little patience while the final product is created, and you're done. Select from options including Web, iPod, DVD, HD, CD, etc., or create your own custom production settings.
I used Camtasia to create a video introduction and ‘tour' for EmergingEdTech. I have embedded this video below. The video includes examples of some of the elements I mention above. I use Picture-in-Picture, the end result is in HD quality, I use some transitions, and I used a caption at one point (although I would like to figure out how to change the default overlay font used there).
I'll likely be making some changes to this video before long – there are some little glitches I'd like to correct and things I might do differently. Once you get a taste of the kind of professional results you can get with a tool like Camtasia, it inspires you to do your best, and there's a number of things in my original effort that I want to improve on (I just ran out of time to do it now!).
As always, I welcome and encourage reader feedback. Have any questions – ask away! Want to share something about your Camtasia experiences, or uses of similar products? Drop a comment and share. Thanks everyone.
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Creating brief instructional videos (and more) with Jing
Comparing 12 Free Screencasting Tools
Testing free video editing tools (and techniques)