window or separate them via right-click commands. Similarly, many motion-graphics effects have multiple layers but are still presented as a single media element. You can access
any element by clicking the clip, or you can
separate all elements of the group by clicking
the + sign within the group. As in most Timeline editors, you can zoom into the Timeline to
edit a single asset or zoom out to see the big
picture via the -/+ slider bar on the top left of
You can preview your project at any time
by clicking the player controls in the Preview
window or by pressing the spacebar. You can
move forward frame by frame by pressing the
period key or backward via the comma key.
Although these controls are useful, I prefer
the much more intuitive (and more commonly
used) arrow keys. This minor grumble aside,
overall, it’s an interface that most users will
quickly be able to master.
With this as background, let’s explore the
media elements and effects that are included
with the program, working from the Media Bin
down to captions.
Media Elements and Effects
The Media Bin contains all content that ships
with the program (Windows only) or that you’ve
downloaded and separately imported (Mac). As
mentioned earlier in this review, TechSmith
provides a lot of free downloadable content to
add to your projects, including animated backgrounds, icons (shown in Figure 3), motion
graphics, and music, with access to partners who
can provide additional media libraries for a fee.
These elements add significant polish and help
retain viewer interest, particularly for the short,
business-oriented training and communications
videos Camtasia is designed to produce.
Operationally, within the Media Bin you can
present the content using text names or thumbnail images, and you can click any piece of content to open it in a Preview window. You can
only trim in the Timeline, however, not in the
Preview window, which would have been nice.
Moving down the panel on the left, annotations include traditional text titles, available in
a range of backgrounds such as squares, circles, and speech bubbles, with complete flexibility regarding size, color, and positioning.
TechSmith also includes
lines, arrows, and connectors; simple shapes;
blur, pixelate, and highlight effects; sketch-motion effects; and a
keyboard shortcut creator that you can customize for any combination of keystrokes. Like
the media content, these
elements add significant
value to the program.
The editor includes
a good range of transitions and they are easy
to apply. Just click to select one and drag it into
the timeline, and the editor highlights each media element to which
you can apply the effect,
which includes all video clips, titles, and the
like. When you drag and
release a transition onto a clip, it’s applied to
the beginning and end
Free content for