Since its incorporation in 1987, TechSmith has become one of the world’s leading provider of screen capture and screen recording software – thanks largely to SnagIt. Judging by the quality of Camtasia Studio 6, it’s not at all hard to understand why. Camtasia Studio 6 is an amazingly versatile Windows-based program that lets you create presentations, demonstrations and marketing videos in HD-quality video to reach audiences online or on portable media devices. For the rest of us at home without a job to go to, it lets us immortalise our best gaming moments, outrageous Photoshop skills, or ludicrous Web browsing habits. Basically, if you want the world to see what you’re doing on your computer, Camtasia Studio 6 is the perfect program for the job.
Camtasia Studio 6 ($299/£190) lets you create awesome looking videos at a small file size, making it perfect for creating HD-quality videos that playback smoothly online in Flash, on an iPhone, or on YouTube. The latest version also streamlines its video-editing wizardry to significantly reduce the time the software takes to create content. And TechSmith has even found time to provide a lot more control over the editing of audio and video so that anyone can create great looking content fast.
Similar to screen capture software, Camtasia Studio records exactly what you see on your computer screen. Simply open the program, hit the record button, and then hit ‘F10’ when you’re done. The software even offers five production presets (blog, Web, YouTube, HD display, and Screencast.com) so you don’t have to worry about image size/quality/rendering settings. However, it goes a lot further by capturing what you say (as long as you have a microphone attached to your computer) and how you interact with a Web site or Windows-based application. You can then edit the interactive content and share it online in all popular streaming media formats, including HD-quality video (MPEG-4 AVC, H.264+AAC) and Flash, on fixed media such as CD or DVD, or on Apple portable media devices. Additional digital video formats can be imported, including AVI, MPEG, MPG and WMV, but sadly you can’t edit these.
Camtasia Studio 6 has a new recorder that captures full-screen videos and also remembers your settings for faster re-recordings. Customisable editing hotkeys speeds things along, and the ability to edit audio and video independently and move audio from one track to another makes recording and editing a snap. Complete control over transition and callout fade durations down to 1/10 of a second lets you add polish to your videos, and a new tilt feature that creates a 3D perspective can add visual interest to videos. There is the ability to import and edit any self-contained .MOV file to combine digital camera video with screen-recorded content, and if you are into Time Lapse animation you’ll especially enjoy the new 0.1 second image transition limit that will help you squeeze more pictures in the same duration, thus improving the time-lapse effect.
Thankfully, like Camtasia 5, when you change a project’s dimensions it gives you the option of applying innovative SmartFocus technology. This intelligently resizes your recording around the points of screen activity, panning and zooming. Even better, it adds zoom points to your timeline and, by double-clicking on these, you can manually control the position, size and duration of your pans and zooms. The end results aren’t just physically clearer, the pans and zooms are also an excellent way of making your demos more engaging and intelligible.
Camtasia Studio 6 is by far the best screen recording software we have used. The amount of audio, video and output choices – along with ease of use and superior compression – makes it a breeze to create content and then get that content out to the unsuspecting world in as few steps as possible. It is even integrated with TechSmith’s Screencast hosting service, providing you with 2GB of free storage and 2GB of monthly bandwidth. Unlike other video hosting services, Screencast retains the original quality and size of the uploaded screencast, and you retain complete ownership and sharing control over your content. Of course you’ll have to spend a little time using the software to understand how to edit your videos properly, but the effort is well worth the result. Sadly, Camtasia Studio 6’s pricing will limit its usage to suits, and those looking to create eLearning videos will be much better served by the rich interactivity of Adobe’s Captivate 3 (£472).