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.
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.
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.
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 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.