5 Reasons Why I Think Camtasia Rocks

by Kelly Walsh on May 16, 2010

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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
2. Picture-in-Picture
3. Extensive Editing Capabilities
3. Transitions
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.

An example
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)

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About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Class Workshop in a Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ulad Slabin June 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I have just upgraded to Camtasia 2.4.0 in hope that the reverse video feature is finally built-in. Alas!
I have to change for iMovie, in which one has been able to reverse videos and easily apply Ken Burns effects for ages.

Danielle Walsh January 11, 2011 at 11:11 am

I agree, just purchased Camtasia Studio 7 after using previous versions. Fabulous, great UI and well developed for social networking.

DMW

K. Walsh May 31, 2010 at 6:32 am

Screencasting tools like Camtasia are great for creating video ‘lectures’ or tutorials or any other video materials that can be used in a number of ways. One use might be as something to be viewed outside of the classroom – there could then be a follow up assignment and/or the content presented could be discussed in the classroom. The same approach could be used to introducing a new learning topic. Video can also be a great supplement – something to be viewed after class to reinforce learning.

Mike Phillips May 30, 2010 at 9:27 pm

How could I utilize this in a lesson plan?

I am familar with Camtasia and I have used this and Snag it as a screen capture tool

K. Walsh May 21, 2010 at 8:05 am

Thanks Christine – I’m putting Captivate on my “have to check this out” list.

CShockr May 20, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Also you may want to look at Adobe Captivate…it can do so much more than Camtasia…I tried both head to head and found that Captivate far and away gave me much more control over editing my screen scrapings. And the new CS5 version is much improved over earlier versions.

K. Walsh May 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Hey Eric – Thanks for the kind words. Your Animoto presentation is really cool! Thanks for the tip on Animoto, I have to give it a try. By the way, for what it’s worth, Jing is from TechSmith, who makes Camtasia (you’re probably already aware of that).

Mark Rogge May 19, 2010 at 9:14 am

There is an even better product for half the price, Qumu Create. It also is tightly tied into the rest of the Qumu Solution.

Eric Holshoe May 19, 2010 at 12:00 am

Thanks for the review. I have looked at Camtasia and wondered if it was right for me. I use Jing and Screencast. Then sometimes I put those clips into Animoto. Here is an example.
http://blog.mrholshoe.com/2010/04/17/butterfly-life-cycle.aspx
You’re doing great work. I look forward to your posts each week. I recently added your RSS feed to the social tab on my website and told all my colleagues to check it out.
http://social.mrholshoe.com/

Jerry Johnson May 18, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Have you looked at ScreenFlow. It would be good to see a comparison.

Jeff Thomas May 17, 2010 at 4:44 am

I enjoyed your post! You are right in that sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and actually pay for quality software. I like the fact that the user has total control over the finished product. I have a couple of links you might find useful. TechSmith (Camtasia) offers an educator discount, reducing the price to $179 – https://store.techsmith.com/education.asp In addition, it has an education community at http://www.techsmith.com/community/education/ and part of that is a great set of resources at http://www.techsmith.com/community/education/education_solutions.asp

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