Learn the Fundamentals of Camtasia Studio 8. Then go beyond.
You will start with computer settings that will help make your screencasts more effective.
Next, you'll learn how to use Camtasia Studio -- one of the "Big 3" video screen capture and editing software programs in the market used by professional screencasters and online learning professionals. But, your learning won't stop there.
Go Beyond the Basics
After you've learned the fundamentals, you'll continue with additional special topics and practical applications -- totaling over 10 hours across 31 lectures of "deep dive" training -- that will help you go beyond the classroom with a unique video screencast presentation style that will help you engage your learners, build authority and monetize your digital-know-how.
Delivered by a professional screencaster, online learning architect, and winner of the 2012 Techsmith Best In Category ScreenChamp award.
Special topics include:
"Mel has a uniquely 'feet on the ground,' personable style with emphasis always being on the message rather than the messenger. The tutorials contain much more detail than the Techsmith tutorials and provide 'the back story' to many of the software features. An excellent course for screencasting beginners through to (almost) experts who want to learn to create videos up to corporate quality."
~ Richard Andrews, TTA Online Course Creator & Facilitator
"I had hired a college student as a marketing assistant to help me with other aspects of executing our marketing efforts but she had zero experience with video...One week later, Kristin was producing amazing videos... Mel delivers a comprehensive and intuitive learning style that is easy to follow for students with any level of experience."
~ Scott Schang, Broadview Mortgage Katella Team
Go beyond the classroom. Learn how to transform your live presentations, workshops and live training courses to a digitized format that's easily shared, easily consumed and potentially profitable.
Don't be boring. Learn to kick your online presentations up a notch from run-of-the-mill online presentations by overlaying quality audio and synchronizing live action web video to increase your audience's engagement.
In this video, you’ll learn a few of the settings-changes I recommend making on your computer before starting your video screen recording. For example, when you think about the mouse cursor as the primary means for “pointing” to objects for your learners to pay attention to on your desktop, why then would some choose to make their learners “work” to see it? A simple solution here is to bump up the size of your mouse cursor! But that’s not all.
In this video, you’ll learn a few more tips to keep your presentation the main thing for your learners to focus on, while also leveraging some subtle branding techniques that will make your professional image shine.
In this training video topic you’ll become familiar with the Camtasia Studio editor. There are three main sections to the editor: The multi-purpose assets panel; the canvas/viewer/ and the timeline. In Part 1 of this 3-part series, you’ll focus on all the components of the multi-purpose assets panel (or “panel,” for short).
1. A section for defining the portion of your computer screen (or dimensions) that you want to record, and
2. A section to define whether or not to include a picture-in-picture type webcam video of yourself in your screen recording, and
3. A section to define the realtime sources of audio to include in your video.
In this video you’ll have an opportunity to watch me go through the steps to record an actual presentation — this will include the actual recording! After you observe the steps for recording a video screencast presentation, I’ll then show you how the recorded video,webcam, microphone audio and computer system audio will all appear in the Camtasia Studio editor after the recording session is complete. (Note: As you watch this training video, pay attention to where the blinking green corner highlights appear when I demonstrate the recording process.)
Another area to pay attention to is the part in the video after we stop the recording. Observe the two different files that are involved. One is the video file itself. The other is a project file. Pay attention to the role of the project file in your production. This is often a confusing aspect for many who are new to screencasting. So, if you have questions, ask them in the Q&A section at the bottom of the page.
Once you’ve captured your recording (also known as “production), the next step is to begin the editing phase. Also known as “post-production,” trimming and cutting media clips is one of the frequent tasks you’ll perform. If not trimming and cutting video clips, you might instead trim and cut pictures, audio or even callouts.
In this training video, you’ll learn that all the trimming, cutting and other editing functions are performed within the Camtasia Project file; it has a “.camproj” file extension. The project file is different from the Camtasia video file. (The one with the “.camrec” file extension.) What you’ll learn is that the video (.camrec) file is a subset of the project (.camproj) file.
Now you’ll learn about the zoom and pan effect. In a way, you learned this in the previous video topic about animating visual properties.
In the Visual Properties topic, you learned that the zoom effect is essentially accomplished by changing the scale of an object over time, and that the panning effect is accomplished by changing the x- and y- position of an object over time. The thing is, when you have more than one object in the viewer you would otherwise need to adjust the scale and/or the position of each and every object if you wanted to zoom (or pan) all of them together.
However, by using the Zoom and Pan feature in Camtasia Studio, you can streamline this by letting Camtasia apply the changes for you. All you need to do is tell Camtasia Studio (via the Zoom / Pan menu) what part of the screen you want it to focus on.
Callouts do exactly what the name implies – they “call out” or otherwise bring attention to different areas of your screencast video recording. It’s not uncommon to see new screencasters apply callouts with a one-size-fits-all type of approach. Meaning an arrow “pops” in suddenly to “point” to something, and then “pops” back out — often with a bit of off-kilter timing that leaves some question about what the arrow was supposed to be pointing at. It’s also not uncommon to see a ghost of a callout remaining as the video completes a transition to another scene. As a professional, you’ll do well to leverage animations with your callouts — and even animations in tandem with multiple callouts — in a way that complements your main message.
In addition to being able to animate callouts, you’ll also learn that callouts can be used for other purposes than simply “pointing” to objects. For example, in this training video you’ll see practical examples where a callout can be used to “step” the learner though presentation, “hide” confidential data, and even correct mistakes made during recording.
In this training topic you’ll learn about a special hotspot property of callouts that is available to you in Camtasia Studio.
With the hotspot property, you can define a callout to pause your published screencast video while waiting for your learner/user to click on the callout in order to effect some action such as: resume playing after pausing, jumping to another point in your video, or launching another website. It’s actually quite powerful in its utility, but also comes with a caveat. The caveat is that the video has to be published in a certain way that allows Camtasia Studio to also generate accompanying scripts and web pages that must subsequently be placed on a web server. (Like the one hosting this course.)
You’ll learn more about publishing your video later in this module.
If you’ve found my use of animations in this course — including those I’ve activated around cursors — to be effective in helping you more easily direct your attention on an otherwise busy screen, then you’ve experienced my philosophy of selective highlighting.
In this topic, you’ll learn another fundamental technique that can help differentiate your screencast presentations from the run-of-the-mill. When you watch this video, pay close attention to the use of “keyframes” to selectively highlight — or, to “turn on” and “turn off” — cursor effects and animations at logical points in your presentation.
Many screencasters tend to overuse cursor effects. It’s not uncommon to find a screencast presentation on YouTube, for example, where a yellow bubble highlights the cursor — for the entire length of the screencast! While admittedly easier to implement (i.e., turn it on and forget about it), my guidance is to take a bit more effort to selectively determine where in your presentation to turn on the effect — and for how long to leave it on before again turning it off. What you’ll see is that, once you learn the technique of keyframing, your presentations will take on a bit more of a professional flare. And, I dare say that you may also find that the “extra work” of selectively determining when to turn on cursor effects and animations in your presentation — and just as importantly, when to turn them off — isn’t really that much more work at all.
In this video you’ll learn how to apply transitions to clips in your screencast presentation. Transitions are ideally used to visually and subtly communicate the passage of time, or a new scene. As you watch the training video topic below, see if you can pick out sections where I ‘ve used transitions in the training video itself.
While Camtasia Studio gives you many transition types to choose from, my guidance is to NOT attempt to use them all. In fact, there are typically only two transition types that I think are appropriate to use 80% of the time. These are: the Fade Through Black transition and the Fade transition. (You’ll may also see me occasionally also use the Cube transition to communicate the transition to a new scene.)
Although you’ll learn more details about audio dynamics, microphone recommendations and enhancing audio by processing and filtering via free third-party software, in this training video, you’ll learn about some of the built-in audio effects you can apply within your Camtasia Studio project. Most of the audio features can only be applied to an entire clip — or to a clip segment after splitting the larger clip. However, pay attention to the use of “audio points” that allow you to add audio keyframes that allow you to change audio volume in the middle of a clip without splitting it.
A brand new feature in Camtasia Studio version 8 is the Grouping feature. The Grouping feature allows you to link two or more media clips into a single “bundle.” The media clips can be of different types. For example, you can group an image, a callout, a video and an audio clip together in order to create a custom title graphic for all your presentations. Once grouped, you can apply effects to the grouped clips just as you would any other clip.
New in Camtasia Studio version 8.1 which came out in June 2013. This feature is huge in the ability it gives you to combine 2 or more contiguous clips into one. Not to be confused with grouping, the main benefits of stitching is in the ability it gives you to define animations or other visual properties one one clip and have it carry over to the next clip.
1:01 - Setting up the test scenario.
4:00 - Shows the "old way" of applying an animation (like a Zoom effect) across clips.
6:30 - In contrast to the "old way," this segment shows how to apply stitching and the huge benefits it now gives you over the "old way."
New in Camtasia Studio version 8.1 (June 2013) is now the ability for you to copy and paste visual properties from a single frame in one clip and apply it to another clip. This is another huge productivity step because it can save you a lot of time when you need to make another clip "behave" (zoom level, rotation, position, opacity, etc.) exactly like another clip in the timeline.
0:00 - Copy / Paste Visual Properties.
2:35 - Copy / Paste an animation from one clip to another clip.
Also huge in Camtasia Studio version 8.1 (June 2013) is the highly requested "green screen" (a.k.a., "chroma key") effect. This feature typically performs the effect by allowing you to define a specific color to remove from your video. Camtasia leaves a transparency where the color is removed, thereby allowing an underlying image to show through where the removed color used to be.
The most important thing to consider when attempting to implement a green screen effect is to make sure that you have sufficient / even lighting shining ON the green screen itself. (That is, in addition to the key-lighting and fill-lighting on the subject him-/herself.) Pulling off a proper green screen effect is lighting intensive!
1:00 - Why I think the green screen effect is somewhat overrated.
2:30 - Lighting considerations to effectively pull-off a green screen effect.
4:15 - How Camtasia (and other video editors) treat shaded areas on your green screen. (For all practical purposes, shaded areas are treated as a different color!)
5:10 - Implementing the the actual green screen effect.
12:00 - Group the clips you used in your green screen effect in order to create a picture-in-picture effect.
This is the training video topic in which you’ll learn about the settings to pay attention to in Camtasia Studio so that you can get the widest possible viewership of your screencast video presentations. There are different video formats that get bantered around a lot.
The lingo can be quite dizzying with terms like: MOV, MP4, WMV, AVI, MPEG being bandied about. Add to that the choices that have to be made about video dimensions and video hosting options, and you have an environment that’s ripe for confusion. In this video, I’ll show you the settings that I focus on 98% of the time. If you follow the steps I share in this training video, you’ll be able to produce your videos in a way that maximizes your viewership while minimizing production issues.
The history of aspect ratio
In this lecture, you also learned some of the practical considerations for publishing dimensions and aspect ratios. In case you want to dig a little deeper on the evolution of aspect ratios, this video provides some historical depth.
This is the module where you’ll learn the 3-stage workflow I use for producing structured online presentations. Notice I’m being explicit about saying structured online presentations. This is to differentiate it from extemporaneous presentations — which, by their nature, have more of a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” allure.
0:00 - What we're going to do in the next few videos in this series.
1:00 - What these terms mean: "Pre-production" vs. "Production" vs. "Post-production".
2:20 - Setting up for a quality screencast.
3:25 - Have some kind of activity on screen at least every minute. (The old convention of 2 minutes per PowerPoint slide is no longer acceptable in video-based presentation.)
5:15 - How important is audio quality?
5:45 - How long should your videos be? (2-3 minutes?) It depends. Are you selling? Is your visitor viewing your video for free? Or did your visitor pay for your content?
7:00 - What are some sources of inspiration you can draw from for your content?
12:50 - Presentation formats that work well for screencasting.
15:50 - What's your presentation style? Which should you consider for screencasting?
16:40 - My 3-stage production workflow for structured presentations.
19:40 - Workflow for extemporaneous presentations.
22:00 - Should you use animations in your PowerPoint presentations? How much is too much?
23:30 - A special case to be made for "motion path" animations in PowerPoint or Keynote.
In this video, I’ll show you the first stage of my 3-stage workflow, as well as details of all the considerations surrounding the where-fors and why-tos of first producing the script before doing anything else. (Again, this applies for structured presentations. Extemporaneous is a little different — and in many ways easier and sometimes faster (though not always so) — than structured/scripted presentations.
The second stage of the 3-stage production workflow is all about creating the audio file. And you’ll do that with the help of the script you recorded in the previous section. But, before we get there, you’ll find it helpful to know a little bit about the “physics” of quality audio. Audio quality is important in your video presentations because your learners/viewers will tend to “click away” from your video if the audio is of poor quality. In fact, your learner/viewers are more apt to suffer poor video quality (to a degree) more than they are to tolerate poor audio. Contrary to popular opinion, the quality of the microphone is NOT paramount. It definitely helps, but it isn’t the most influential factor for quality audio. In fact, in this video I’ll show you why it may actually be better to “dumb down” your microphone, depending on your ability (or not) to influence other, more important environmental factors.
In this training video, we’ll pick up up where we left off from the last training topic. In the last video you learned how to use free software like Audacity to record an audio file from the script your wrote earlier. In this video you’ll learn the technique I use for capturing the video while playing the audio file.
In previous topics I used PowerPoint (or Keynote will also work for Mac users) as the main example for developing structured presentations. Set aside for a moment your feelings about whether PowerPoint is the savior or nemesis of mankind, the fact is, it’s practically ubiquitous. Chances are, when you’re looking to digitize your knowledge and getting it online for your learners to access, PowerPoint will be one of the tools that can easily display an archive of that knowledge. But, that’s not to say that it should stay in PowerPoint format — nor that it should even be produced with the same look and feel! In fact, I recommend re-engineering the presentation format when you produce content or courses for your online learners. At the very least, you should enhance the original file in some way: either with better graphics, video or other animation. Picture-in-picture video is a relatively easy enhancement you can make. In the next topic I’ll show you how I incorporate them in my presentations. In this video I want to whet your creative juices about other formats you might consider when engineering (or RE-engineering) your presentations for online delivery. The examples here aren’t exhaustive by any means, but should give you something to chew on.
In this training video, you’ll learn how to implement the “iPad effect.” It’s an alternate screencasting presentation format that incorporates a presentation or demo you perform via the iPad along with a screencast on your desktop, or with a window of you talking to your learners. (More about that last reference in an upcoming series called “picture-in-picture.”) One key message I’d like to have you consider, however, is that while the iPad effect can be a powerful supplement to your presentation style, our use of it should still be mindful about the relevancy of using an iPad for your presentation. It’s a novel idea, but just like animations in your screencast presentations, it’s possible to over do it. Just make sure that when using the iPad display in your screencasts, there should be a “legitimate” reason for doing so.
This video kicks off the series where I will show you how you can create the picture-in-picture effect that you’ve seen me use throughout this course. This technique is by far one of the ones that I get asked about the most. While not tremendously impossible to master, it is admittedly not for the faint of heart. But think about it: if you’re looking to differentiate your online presentations and/or online learning courses from the run-of-the-mill types who stick with disembodied PowerPoints and faceless screencasts, then what new skills are you willing to learn?
“Innovation always comes from outside our comfort zone.”
But, while the P-I-P effect will require a bit of deliberate forethought on your part, I think you’ll see that if you commit to producing just one or two productions like this, the skills will stick. So much so that you’ll likely rarely want to produce another screencast without the P-I-P element. (I know I don’t!)
In the last training video you learned about the webcam method and the direct-to-computer-feed method. You also learned that of all the methods I’ll talk about in this series, my least preferred is the webcam method. And, while the direct-to-computer-feed method is actually the quicker workflow of the three methods you’ll learn about, some of the “moving parts” with cable connectors and occasional audio/video synchronization artifacts that need to be compensated for can be a bit bothersome. But that’s not to say that it’s not worth doing! Because, really, once you’re used to the techniques we discuss about synchronizing media clips, it really isn’t too far a stretch for short projects (under, say, 5- to 10-minutes in duration).
Now, in this training topic, you’ll learn about the third method where the video that you want to insert as a picture-in-picture is recorded first to tape (or flash drive) and then subsequently imported to the screencast timeline during post-production.
I’ve definitely learned a lot myself in recording this series. Not so much because creating the picture-in-picture effect is inherently difficult — it really isn’t, right? — but the fact that I needed to configure a “stage” that allowed me to step “outside” the recording environment so that I can make a recording of the recording process (!). This definitely required stepping outside my traditional comfort zone. (It’s a bit like those time travel movies where you go forward [or backward] in time to meet another version of yourself.)
Now we’ll continue where we left off in Part 1 and actually go into the recording software so you can learn what to look for in the media timeline that will allow you to synchronize the various media sources including: video from the external camera, audio from the external camera, audio from the screencast, and video from the screencast. The main point of the training video below that differentiates it from the training video you’ll see in the next topic (Part 4) is the quirkiness of electrons, for lack of a better term, that sometimes causes the audio and video — both from the external camera source — to be out of sync with each other when using the Direct Feed method. I’ll show you in this video how to compensate for that quirk of ‘Trons.
In this training video you’ll learn how to synchronize the audio/video file that you imported into your computer from the camera in Part 2 of this series. Remember, this part is differentiated from Part 3 by nature of the fact that in this topic we’re talking about synchronizing media that came in using the Record-to-Camera-Then-Import method.
In this video you'll learn how to effectively use the range selection feature in Camtasia Studio. Defining a range in your project is performed by using the green and red tabs that surround the playhead in order to define so called "in-" and "out-" points in your timeline.
(Note: This video teaches how to apply Ripple Delete and Ripple Insert in each of the "Big 3" screencast editors. See the bolded sections in the timecode list below to fast forward to the sections that are relevant to this course.) Timeline gaps are an inevitable byproduct of editing projects. When you delete a segment of clips in the timeline, a gap remains. While this may seem trivial, a common trap that new screencasters quickly discover is that filling this gap isn't always as simple as simply dragging clips from the right of the gap along the timeline. If there are multiple tracks, then it's important to ensure that clips on upper-level tracks stay in sync with those on lower tracks. You can do this in your screencasting software with a process called Ripple Delete.
Professional screencasters, e-Learning and even classroom delivery wizards learn to create re-usable learning objects to streamline their workflow efficiency. A learning object is any standalone media bit that can be re-used across other projects with minor editing. A common example is a title slide that contains your logo, colors, preferred fonts and other branding features that give your learners a unique “feel” about your productions. These can also take the form of short title videos, called “bumpers.” These bumpers are often short 3-5 second duration videos that contain animations. And, lead-in music tracks can also be thought of as another example of a re-usable object. All these objects: pictures, video, audio can be maintained in a library for ease of access across your various projects.
Camtasia Studio (the Windows version of Camtasia) has a convenient Library panel for users of that software to maintain re-usable objects. However, Camtasia for Macintosh is limited in this area. In fact, it's practically non-existent. In this training video, I start with a lecture about how to add and access reusable media in Camtasia Studio's Library, but then also add a segment about a workaround that in Camtasia for Macintosh.
This is part 1 in a 3-part series about how to set up for screencasting a Skype video interview. In part 1, I'll focus on showing you how I set up the hardware, software and settings with 3 points of view: You (the interviewer), your subject (the interviewee), and a third angle that your audience will relate to.
Just in case you were wondering, I used ScreenFlow to RECORD and EDIT the actual video. (See also my course on ScreenFlow.) Consequently, another screen recording software was used as the demo platform. For this, I used Camtasia for Mac. However, as I explain at about the 2:00 point in the video, the same settings are also available in Camtasia Studio. Below is a screenshot of the recording configuration window in Camtasia Studio.
This is part 2 in this 3-part series about screencasting a Skype video interview. In part 1 (Lecture 32), I showed you how I arranged the cameras, the microphone and software settings for the interview. In this video, we follow up on the settings and proceed with the interview itself -- and I show you how to record it with a screencast editor such as ScreenFlow or Camtasia for Mac.
It's worth keeping in mind that although I used Camtasia for Macintosh to demo the recording of this Skype interview, the set up and process for recording your interview is just as easily conducted using Camtasia Studio.
This is part 3 in the 3-part series about screencasting your Skype video interview with PIP. In part 1 I showed you how I arranged the cameras, the microphone and software settings for the interview. In part 2, I demo'd the recording while showing camera and microphone alignment. In this video, I'll show you the end-product of the raw recording; you'll also see some helpful tips for editing and enhancing your Skype video interview so you can present it to your audience with a little more polish.
Note: It's worth keeping in mind that although I used Camtasia for Macintosh to demo the recording of the Skype interview in this video, the set up and process for recording is similarly accomplished in Camtasia Studio; see part 1 in this series for a screenshot of the recording configuration in Camtasia Studio.
Mel Aclaro (a.k.a., the "Screencasting Wizard") is a 15-year veteran of the eLearning industry. After a stint flying for the U.S. Navy, Mel got started in the online learning industry as a management consultant with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). While there, he specialized in organizational change management, training and eLearning.
Today, Mel is the online learning architect and resident "Screencasting Wizard" at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He also works with local small businesses and professional associations to develop compelling and engaging online web video "screencast" presentations to help them build niche audiences, reach more people and profit from their digital know-how.
Mel blogs regularly at ScreencastingWizard and is the author of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development.