Learn Camtasia Studio v8 (for PCs)

Learn Camtasia Studio v8 (for PCs)

Screencasting basics and beyond: Fundamentals, production workflow, audio enhancements, web video overlays and more

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Learn ScreenFlow v4 (for Mac)

Learn ScreenFlow v4 (for Mac)

Learn essentials of video screen recording with ScreenFlow (version 4) so you can digitize your knowledge, flip the classroom and teach online now.

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Learn ScreenFlow v5 (for Mac)

Learn ScreenFlow v5 (for Mac)

Learn the software used by thousands of online course and content creators to digitize and monetize their knowledge.

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Easy Click-and-Drag Green Screen Videos Using Camtasia Studio

The Abridged Version Of the Green Screen Training Video With Camtasia Studio

Last week I announced the release of Camtasia Studio version 8.1.  Although the list of features included in that release were relatively small, the magnitude of the value in the new features was HUGE.  Among them was the long awaited green screen effect.  (Previously only available on Camtasia for Macintosh and Screenflow for Macintosh.)

udemy-lecture21The video above gives the quick-tip highlights (abridged version) of making green screen work in your videos using Camtasia Studio (for Windows).  You can also click here for a Free preview of the (unabridged) full training video on the Udemy learning network.

A question for you

Have you previously used green screen in any of your screencast presentations or online courses?  What do you think? Did it enhance your presentation? Or is green screen overrated?

[Videos] The poor man’s home video studio: 3 must-watch techniques

So in my online courses I field questions periodically about what my studio setup is like.  (You might be surprised at how much low tech you can get away with!)  The good news, of course, is that you don’t have to spend thousands to produce your online video/screencast courses.

In a nutshell, my setup isn’t too far removed from those Gideon has setup (third video below).  But, with a few minor tweaks (see the first 2 videos) I’m confident that you could easily produce at even higher quality video/screencasts than those you’ll see in my coursework.  So, please don’t use me as your baseline, check out the shoe-string budget creativity that some of our colleagues have put together… then do it!


Dummies Guide to Drawing Custom Sketch Graphics On the iPad – No Graphic Artistry Required!

No copyright worries…And, you don’t have to be an artist


Drawn using the iPad 2, Bamboo Stylus, SketchBook Pro. Creative commons: share | attribution | non-commercial

Have you ever worried about possibly violating someone’s copyright when you grab an image from “the wild” to place on your blog? Well, you’re correct to think about it. But, with your iPad, a stylus and the right app, you can get around all that by creating your own custom sketch graphics library from pictures you take yourself.

The best thing about it? You don’t even have to be an artist!

Do you remember back in grade school when we got a kick out of tracing pictures?


Creative commons | share | attribution | non commercial

I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Telgenhoff I think her name was (?), handing out tracing paper, a #2 pencil and some random old magazine to me and my classmates.  Then, for the next half-hour, or so, the whole class would just go to town tracing “grown up” pictures (not to be confused with “adult pictures”) from pages of an old Life or Time magazine.

Then, after tracing them out in pencil on white paper, the real fun would start.  That’s when we brought out the crayons and started filling in the white space in our custom made coloring book.

Now, a couple of decades later — okay, a few decades later — it turns out, we can recoup a lot of that old childhood picture-tracing fun.

The video above shows how you can go to town with images you capture yourself and then trace them out on your iPad using a nifty little app that retails for about $3.  Hey, you can even color it if you want.

And, here’s another little tip:  You can also do this on your computer using a Wacom tablet, stylus and software like Photoshop or the open source image software Gimp.

Digital-Know-How Q&A – Video Settings, White Board Screencasts and More

Digital-Know-How.com Questions and Answers

  • What’s the best positioning for the webcam video when I conduct picture-in-picture effects in screencasts?
  • What video dimensions are best when uploading video to Vimeo or YouTube?
  • What software and hardware should I use to conduct a “white board” type screencast presentation?

I wanted to share these answers to some of the great questions we’ve been kicking around in the Digital-Know-How group from members of the Digital-Know-How course.

Here are some of the references I mentioned in the video

  • Vimeo School – Video Compression Basics.  This is a great blog post that I recommend reading if you want help understanding the rationale behind such mind-boggling terms as: frame rates, keyframe interval, data rate (bit rate), resolution and more.
  • Khan Academy.  Salman Khan and his team use white board type presentations quite extensively in most, if not all, of their online training videos.  
  • Camtasia Studio.  Techsmith’s screen recording software for windows (version 8) includes the Screendraw tool that allows you to “write” and draw on objects that appear on your computer screen during the screen recording session.
  • Snowmint Ultimate Pen.  For Mac users, I personally use Ultimate Pen for whiteboard writing effects on my desktop.  The ink motions are smooth which also includes a pressure sensitive tapering style to the drawing strokes.
  • Wacom.  Finally, if you’re shooting for a professional look in your white board screencast presentations, I can’t say enough how important a Wacom style tablet and stylus are for helping you achieve that professional look.    

What other recommendations would you make for the questions about webcam positioning, and white board screencasts? 

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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Visit my online course at Digital-Know-How.com

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.