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Software Review: Camtasia Studio 7 From TechSmith

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Camtasia Studio has always been the premiere screen recording system on the market. Has it gotten better with the release of version 7? In case you don't know, Camtasia Studio is a complete software solution for creating high-quality training videos, presentations, and screencasts that can be shared on the web or by CD-ROM, as well as on portable media players such as the iPod.

TechSmith originally started out in 1987 as a custom software company that developed for the Windows platform. Responding to a demand for screen capture utilities, they created SnagIt in 1991. Over time SnagIt offered some video capture capabilities and these, in turn, became Camtasia in 1999. In 2002, it became Camtasia Studio, which was enhanced with a suite of tools. On March 30, 2010, the latest version, Camtasia Studio 7 was released.

 Camtasia Studio 7

What do you need to run Camtasia Studio?

• Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later), Windows Vista, Windows 7
• 1 GHz processor (2.5GHz is recommended and needed for PowerPoint and camera Recordings)
• 512 MB RAM (2 GB recommended)
• 115 MB hard-disk space for program installation
• There are other specialized requirements for specific needs.

What does Camtasia Studio actually do? It allows you to capture exactly what you are doing when working on your computer. It automatically records exactly what you see on the screen and can record what you say into a microphone. It can capture how you interact with any application or Internet-based website. It can be used to record training videos, marketing information, or support instruction.

Once you have your video recorded, Camtasia Studio 7 has the tools that will allow you to edit your video and share it in a variety of formats. These include Flash-based formats (SWF, FLV), fixed media such as CD and DVD, as well as portable media such as the iPod. If you want, you can see a short overview of Camtasia and how it can be used.

So what is new with Camtasia Studio 7?

New Library lets you store content that is drag-and-drop easy to use. You can use the library to save images, audio files, video, and callouts for future use and then just drag and drop them into any project. You can also right click from your timeline to add to your library and it is just as easy to share your library with others as well.

 Camtasia Studio 7

New Callouts give you the ability to add text in ready-made shapes like arrows, speech bubbles, and more to communicate information to the viewer. You can customize your callout with new fill and border colors, and even rotate the callout a full 360 degrees on the screen.

Sketch motion feature
gives you the ability to make it look like you are drawing on the screen in real time. So, say you want to point something out to the user of your video; all you have to do is just drop this on your timeline and stretch it to fit the duration. This gives you the ability to, for example, draw a circle around a specific point on the screen that you want to emphasize.

Keystroke Callouts
lets you show your viewers exactly what keystrokes you used in your video and when they were used. From the callouts menu, you click on the traditional keystrokes and it can show the keystrokes that you are using at that point or you can specify what keystrokes you want the video to display. As with all callouts, you can change the style and how the callouts looks on screen.

Cursor effects will give you more flexibility and more eye catching visuals that you can use in your video. You can highlight your cursor, put a spotlight on it, use sound effects, make it larger, make a ripple ring, or warp effect so that each time you click the viewer will know exactly where the cursor is on the screen. These can be applied to the entire timeline or to specific frames within your timeline to emphasize a specific point.

Audio enhancements allow you to be in full control of what your viewers hear. At any point throughout the timeline you can fade the sound, increase the sound, fade it out, or silence it altogether.

 Camtasia Studio 7

Copy and paste right on the timeline gives you the ability to perfect a specific portion of your video and then copy that portion to another point on the time line and paste it in complete. You can also take that portion and, instead of copying it, save it to the library for use in another video or to share with others.

YouTube integration
is as easy as going to the "Produce and Share" tab to post it to YouTube. After you login to your user account — this can be saved for future logins — you can produce and upload your video from within Camtasia Studio. You can share it with the world or keep it private. You also have the ability to designate options such as what categories to post it in.

Improved SmartFocus technology will provide a noticeable increase in accuracy so you will spend less time editing while being able to deliver clear video content for playback on nearly any screen size.

Improved recording engine has been optimized to deliver a better performance and more production value. Users running Windows XP will notice a visual improvement in the smoothness of their produced videos, and those running a dual-core processor on Windows Vista or Windows 7 will see a 40-50 percent improvement in capture frame rate.

 Camtasia Studio 7

Camtasia Studio 7 is an all-in-one solution for creating video screencasts. You can import media, record from your screen, or record video from your webcam. It provides the ability to include quizzes as well as other information into your presentation. It is SCORM compliant. There is also a PowerPoint plug-in that allows you to take your presentations and turn them into videos. Camtasia Studio 7 also has a lot of tutorial videos (go figure) that will help you get up to speed fast.

I think that with all of the improvements to the prior version like the SmartFocus technology and improved recording engine that running Camtasia Studio 7 was very crisp, clean, and had a noticeable improvement in the final video rendering.

Then when you add the new library capabilities, the sketch motion feature, all of the new callouts, the improvement to the audio capabilities, the answer to my initial question is that TechSmith has made the premier video capture program even better. If you are looking for a complete product for creating and editing video casts then I highly recommend Camtasia Studio 7.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • Betty

    I really appreciate your article on Camtasia 7. Your review spelled out exactly what I needed to know before I decide what program to buy. I knew a lot of people used it, but not why.

    I hope the Mac version works as well as the Windows version as I am a Mac users. Based on your review, I have ordered the product.

    Thanks for the clear, concise reviews.

  • nitesh

    i just ask one things if any way to increase more transitions in camasta studio 7 although Microsoft power point has more transitions than it . [personal contact info deleted]


  • John Durbin

    I use Jing Pro and SnagIt 10. I’m asking my boss for an upgrade to SnagIt 11 since Jing Pro will be discontinued.

    I’m also very interested in Camtasia and I’m wondering if I need SnagIt and Camtasia.

    So, if I have Camtasia do I need SnagIt? How are the two products different?…JD

  • Johan Holstein

    In one word fantastic, great performance. Thanks people at TechSmith, greetings from a happy Camtasia user in The Netherlands.
    Johan Holstein

  • terry

    unfortunately the shittiest software I’ve ever been using (excuse the expression, it has just brought me to tears so many times when it just stopped working in the mid of the process w/o saving any of the changes I’ve made to the video and w/o offering to recover. if this is what you guys suggest we should be all using for video editing, life is just sad..

  • brooke

    I’m looking into this product. Users, could you share with me the types of applications and productions you use it for?

  • n/a

    After you use it a while, it begins to stop and freeze in the middle of it. You can’t close it or anything. The only thing you can do is to restart your computer or log off and back on. But the same thing will always happen. I wouldn’t really reccomend this to anyone.

  • CSH

    I’ve used Camtasia for several years. You need to have a computer with decent memory to not freeze up during editing and I’ve found that if I have any VPN software running during production it will cause the software to freeze at some point before the production is complete. That said, I’m pretty pleased with the overall operation of the software and its fairly intuitive to figure out and use.