TechSmith Camtasia has two components, a screen capture application and a video editor, both available on the Windows and
Mac platforms. The screen capture application is ideal for all users, even those who edit
the captured screencam footage in other editors. Over the past few versions, the Camtasia
video editor has evolved into a highly usable
tool that’s well complemented with animated
backgrounds, motion graphics, icons, and music that make it easy to create engaging videos,
even for projects that aren’t screencam-based.
Anyone producing screencams should evaluate the latest update (version 9), and wannabe
video producers seeking a simple video editor
should also have a look.
In this review, I’ll run through the capture
and editing applications, pointing out the highlights to explore and the potholes to avoid. Let’s
start with screen capture.
Screen Capture App
When you run Camtasia, you start in the ed-
itor. Press the Record button on the upper left
to run the capture application. Most screen
capture applications work similarly: You de-
fine the portion of the screen to capture, the
capture format, and frame rate, as well as oth-
er capture elements such as audio and web-
cams, and off you go. Figure 1 shows the Mac
version of the capture app, with inputs on the
left and configuration options on the right.
On the Mac, your only capture option is a
.trec file, which is TechSmith’s proprietary
format that maintains all pointer-related and
captured audio and video separately so they
all can be manipulated directly in the Camtasia editor. These files import directly into the
Camtasia editor, but not into most other video
editors. If you’re capturing for editing in another video editor, input the captured .trec file
into the Camtasia editor and output an MP4
file. While it takes a moment or two, at sufficiently high data rates, the quality is indistinguishable from the original.
In Windows, you can capture either a .trec
file or an .avi file which will load directly into
most editors. Unlike the .trec file, however, the
.avi file doesn’t capture pointer-related data,
can’t include webcam input, and mixes all audio into a single audio file. So only capture AVI
if you don’t plan on editing in Camtasia at all.
Let’s have a quick look at Figure 1. Each box
on the left represents an input. On the extreme
left is the screencam capture, currently set to
1920x1080. One outstanding feature in the Windows version is the ability to lock the capture
size to the application. This snaps the application window to the exact size of the capture
window, which keeps you from seeing borders
TechSmith Camtasia 9 By Jan Ozer
screen capture app