What HD video camera do you recommend?

In this post over on the Digital-Know-How Blog, I summarized my typical response to the FAQ about “what video camera do you recommend…?”

Owing to the fact that each of us will have different values for what the highest and best intended uses are for our chosen camera, as well as the value we each expect to receive from it, I shared the decision matrix I sometimes use to help my friends focus on the best camera for them based on their–and your–highest and best intended uses.

The referenced article has the lowdown on the “how to” about the matrix.

In the meantime, below is a sample based on my preferences.  I’m publishing it under a creative commons copyright, so feel free to reproduce it for non-commercial purposes.   Or, if you’re an existing ScreencastingWizard subscriber (free) or a Digital-Know-How member (fee-based course) then you can go into the downloads/resources area and simply download the Excel worksheet.

hd camera selection decision support tool

(click image to enlarge)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Do you already have a camera that you’re happy with?  What model do YOU recommend, and do you currently use all of its features?

Camtasia Tip – Ripple Insert New Clips In the Middle Of A Multi-Track Timeline

It used to the be case that when you wanted to insert a clip in the middle of a complex multi-track project, you’d have to split all clips on all tracks, then zoom all the way out so you can select everything to the right of it and slide everything over.  This needed to happen in order to keep all your callouts, audio, images and video in sync when you shifted everything to the right in order to make room for the new clip.  But, no longer…

Now, when you want to insert a new clip in the middle of your project, you can push the Command key (Camtasia Mac) or the Shift key (Camtasia Studio) while clicking and dragging the playhead.

In the video above, I show a quick demo of the ripple insert feature in Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Mac that you’ll absolutely love me for showing you the next time you’re working on a complex / multi-track project.

FAQ – How do you link a YouTube video annotation to your own website?

Despite the gawd-awful lighting quality that’s evident in the video below, it surprisingly remains one of the more popular videos on my YouTube channel.

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In a future post I’ll have more to say about why I think the video does relatively well viewership-wise, but suffice to say that the topic of YouTube annotations seems to be of keen interest to a lot of folks.  And, lately, one of the frequently asked questions has been how I’m able to make annotations inside my YouTube videos link out to my personal website?

The quick answer is the YouTube Partner program.

The YouTube Partner Program Isn’t Just For Demigods Anymore

It used to be the case that in order to be a YouTube partner, you first had to have a crap-load of videos and video-views.  It was the stuff of celebrities, businesses, publishing houses and demigods.  But no longer.

To be sure, there are a few hoops to jump through.  But, they’re pretty light hoops that don’t really require a lot of technical skills and, once hurdled, allows you a host of useful YouTube partner features, including:

  • Custom thumbnails
  • Live streaming Google+ hangouts
  • Monetization
  • and, yes, linking YouTube video annotations to your own website

associated-websiteOnce in the YouTube Partner program, one of the options you’ll see in the Add Annotations window is a picklist item for Associated Website.  While the video above doesn’t show the Associated Website option (since the video pre-dates this feature in YouTube), the snapshot on the right shows the option to choose as a modification to the steps I show at about the 3:50 point in the video above.

The snapshot on the right also shows some of the other redirect options you have available, as well, when you associate a URL to one of your YouTube video annotations.

Should You Activate Your YouTube Channel For the YouTube Partner Program?

Umm… yes!

If you haven’t activated your YouTube channel yet for the YouTube Partner program, then I highly recommend you do it as soon as possible.  YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and it’ll do you well to leverage that engine for genuinely compelling video “hooks” that can redirect some of that search activity to your personal website.

[Screenflow video] How to fix video recording errors when editing your screencast video

You may be surprised how often I have to apply the technique above in my screencasting and eLearning projects.  It’s the rare thing when I can record an extemporaneous screencast tutorial perfectly with no blemishes or touches that need to be applied in the editing stage.

In fact (again!), there’s a 3-second snippet beginning at 3:57 in the video above where I had to use exactly the technique I show in the video to cover up a blemish.

See if you can spot this in the video

how to fix text errors in screencast video BEFORE

Before

how to fix text errors in screencast video AFTER

After

Screenflow, Camtasia Studio, Camtasia for Macintosh: It’s all good

Although I used Telestream’s Screenflow (Macintosh only) to demo this technique in the video above (hmmm… come to think of it: I seem to find myself using Screenflow more and more these days…), in fact the same technique can be applied using similar features in Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Macintosh.

Can you find the video artifact?

So, take a look.  Let me know if you can tell what the issue was that caused the artifact at 3:57 that I then had to cover up using the very technique we talk about in this video.

How to Update Obsolete Graphics In Your Published Screencast Video Without Having to Recapture the Whole Project

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Can you replace a video segment from a published screencast video?

Maybe.

If you have the original Camtasia (or Screenflow) project file this wouldn’t be a problem.  You would simply open up either the Camtasia Studio .camproj, the Camtasia Macintosh .cmproj or the Screenflow .screenflow project file, replace the appropriate image or video segment, then re-publish a new video MP4 file.

The problem comes when your client tells you that they no longer have the original project files and only have the published (MP4) output file on YouTube, say.

download-mp4Well, in most cases, this is an opportunity to update the whole video and re-capture a fresh/new screencast.  But, if you’re in a crunch, then you can download the MP4 from YouTube and then import the MP4 into a new Camtasia Studio, Camtasia Mac or Screenflow project file.

Once imported, you can then use the “separate video and audio” feature (or its equivalent in any of the other two software packages) and simply overlay new graphics to replace the old.

“Separate Video and Audio” Technique Saved About 200 Hours Of Re-Work On One Project

The video above shows how I used the separate video and audio feature in our screencasting software (Camtasia Studio in this case) to replace an outdated video segment containing information about a company’s product pricing.

In this case we had about 24 of these demo videos where only the pricing graphic needed to be replaced.  As you can imagine, it would’ve been a huge project to otherwise have to re-capture, -edit and -publish all of them.  At a 10:1 development ratio, that would’ve otherwise have easily summed to over 200 hours of re-work.

But Wait. There’s a Quality Downside.

The obvious downside here is that you’re working with an already compressed video file (i.e., the published MP4) as your source video in the new project.

In this case, we published a couple of test files and saw that the degradation was acceptable relative to the rework effort.  But, you’ll definitely want to be aware of this downside and publish a test file before you go full bore with a similarly large project.

So, this is clearly just one practical application of the “separate video and audio” feature.  Were you aware this existed in Camtasia and Screenflow?  If so, how have you used that feature on your projects?

Camtasia Macintosh Doesn’t Have a Media Library – But Here’s a Workaround

Camtasia Studio (Windows) has a robust library, but…

cs-libraryOne of the reasons Camtasia Studio (for Windows) costs three times more than Camtasia For Macintosh is because it has so many more features.  One of these is the media assets library.

In addition to having a huge set of preloaded callouts, audio, video, images, titles, lower-thirds, and so on for you to choose from straight out of the box, you can also add your own custom media assets.

If you produce web video and screencasts regularly, then you know the value a library has for streamlining your workflow.  A library helps you quickly grab those often used custom media assets like custom title slides, video bumpers, custom lower-thirds, custom callouts, branded music tracks and often used audio effects into any project.  The ability to just drop ’em in to your projects without having to re-create them each time you need them is a HUGE time saver.

*Sigh…* If only Camtasia for Macintosh had a media assets library.

Well, it’s not as bad as all that.  There’s a workaround for creating your own media library in Camtasia for Macintosh.  It’s as easy as creating a special cmproj file that holds ONLY re-usable media assets, and then saving it with a name like, “assets library.”

The video above is an excerpt from a larger course in the Digital-Know-How.com course.  The excerpt above gives the low-down on the utility of a media library in Camtasia Mac, but also with a few additional helpful tips thrown in.  It’s a short video, take a look.

Got any more tips like that you want to share?  Let us know in the comments below.