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Camtasia Studio 7

January 3, 2012

I love screen cast, they are great for all (visual) learners, because they visualize complex content in a readily understandable way.

It is not for nothing that you say:

“A picture is worth a thousands words – and a screen video even more”

Especially when it comes to learn a new tool, like Camtasia Studio 7. I have to admit I was a little bit nervous when I was told to become acquainted with Camtasia Studio, a tool from TechSmith as well as Lecturnity, also a tool for screen recording. Well, the promise from TechnSmith that ‘Camtasia has the right tools for creating professional screen videos… without formal training’, did not really convince me, going through the manual, which is more than 200 pages and even the short ‘First walk through guide’ was not really helpful for me. However, the Getting Started video tutorials, where helpful and walked me through the process of creating an own video, better than any written documentation.

It took about three hours starting from the recording, over editing including editing the dimensions, applying smart focus to zoom and pan, cutting unwanted video and audio on the timeline and adding title clips and transitions, as well as callouts, until I finished my first video 🙂

Let me tell you, if I managed, you can manage as well, even without formal training ;-). I just had to overcome my first reluctance to get started with such a feature-rich screen recording software.

However, it is one thing to manage the technical part, but another to make a contentual good video. I experienced a couple of issues that I need to improve next time.

  1. I was carried away once I started and the movie became a lot longer as planned
  2. What I also recognized, that I sometimes moved the mouse to erratically. I guess I acquired that habit when showing my students something via the computer projector  ;-). They always ask where, where so I circle my mouse around the spot I want to show. Not advisable within a screen cast, viewers might get seasick 😉
  3. best use a headset (which I planned to do, but somehow the computer did not recognize it), because otherwise you will have an annoying background sound. Try also to avoid to clear your throat or make any sniffing sounds, everything will be recorded, and I even sometimes catched myself falling back into speaking dialect.
  4. But it is not only important how you speak, but even more important what you say. It is essential to have a script, otherwise you get lost or you start babbling, what ist not really professional. Thus have a script, stick with it – it’s like a PowerPoint presentation, nice effects and animations don’t make a good presentation if you do not have a concept, no structure and the content is bad.
  5. One last comment regarding all the effects you can add – titles, callouts, transitions, and more –  don’t exaggerate it.

To sum up I can say that Camtasia is worth it’s money. I worked with  Wink, an Open Source product, which is not bad and it is cost-free, but Camtasia offers more features.

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From → Work experience

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